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These Peppermint Meringues are crisp French meringue cookies dipped into chocolate, with a festive topping of crushed peppermint candies. They’re easy to make and delicious. This is a fantastic Christmas cookie recipe!
Flavored meringue cookies are a great way to transform a traditional meringue cookie recipe into a festive holiday treat. Meringue is basically beaten egg whites with sugar. As a result, there isn’t much flavor in them. Most people who enjoy meringue cookies might say that the appeal of the cookies is more for the crispy crunch and pillowy light texture.
How to make meringue cookies
Most often, meringue cookies are made using French meringue, which happens to be the easiest type of meringue to make. There are 3 types of meringue: French, Italian, and Swiss. Swiss meringue is what most people use to make Swiss buttercream frosting for cakes and cupcakes. Italian meringue is made by whipping hot sugar syrup into stiff-peaked egg whites.
Making French meringue requires 3 steps:
- Whip egg whites until they form soft peaks.
- Add a stabilizer. Cream of tartar and meringue powder are both good stabilizers. They give whipped egg whites a bit more structure. As a result, the meringue is easier to pipe and less likely to deflate during baking. I use cream of tartar.
- Mix in sugar.
How to pipe peppermint meringues
To form the tree shape, you will need to place the meringue into a pastry/piping bag with a star tip attached to it. I use disposable pastry bags and a Wilton 1M open star tip, but you can use any size or brand.
- On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, pipe a large star of meringue about an inch across. The cookies bake best when they are no larger than an inch wide and an inch tall.
- Holding the icing bag vertically, just press gently until you get a nice star shape, release pressure slightly and pull the tip straight up slightly but don’t completely stop the pressure.
- Next, make a slightly smaller star on top of the first one, and continue again for one final small star. All 3 stars are made in one fluid motion, without taking the piping bag away from the star.
To complete the process of turning French meringue into peppermint meringues is super easy. You just need to pipe the meringue into a desired shape, top them with crushed peppermint candies or candy canes, then bake them. Obviously, these are Christmas meringue cookies. Because of this, the meringue is piped into the shape of Christmas trees.
How do you keep meringue cookies crisp?
Store your peppermint meringues in an airtight container at room temperature. Keep them away from heat and moisture, as both will soften the meringue cookies. As a result, they will stay crispy and fresh for at least two weeks, and possibly longer. I don’t know exactly how long because we usually eat ours much sooner than that.
TIP: Do NOT refrigerate or freeze peppermint meringues! The moisture will cause the meringue cookies to become chewy and gummy.
Why did my peppermint meringues deflate?
There are a couple of reasons why meringue can deflate.
First, when you whip egg whites for any type of meringue, it’s important to start whipping on low or medium low speed. This way, you will have less air bubbles in the mixture. Increase the speed to high, only after the egg whites become foamy.
You want to prevent air bubbles because they will pop during baking, which causes the meringue to deflate.
Also, meringue cookies will deflate if they are over baked.
How to tell when meringues are done
You can tell when peppermint meringue are ready by gently touching the side of one of the cookies. They should be white in color, dry to the touch and firm. Don’t allow the meringue to become golden brown; that is a sign of overbaking.
Other Holiday Desserts
Here are some other ideas of easy holiday desserts to make.
- 4 Egg Whites
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1 cup sugar
- Crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- Preheat oven to 150-170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium-low speed until white and foamy. Mix in 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and continue mixing on high speed until soft peaks form. Set timer for 7 minutes. Slowly add in sugar a bit at a time, taking the entire 7 minutes to do so.
- Gently spoon meringue into piping bag fit with a large star tip (I used Wilton tip #1M).
- On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, pipe a large star of meringue about an inch across. Holding the icing bag vertically. Just press gently until you get a nice shape, release pressure and pull the tip up slightly but don't completely stop the pressure. Then, make a slightly smaller star on top of the first one, and continue again for one last small star. All 3 stars are made in one fluid motion, without taking the piping bag away from the star. (these bake best when they are no bigger than an inch wide and an inch tall.)
- Lightly sprinkle the top of meringue cookies with crushed peppermint candies.
- Bake at a very low heat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until they are crisp, but not browned. Check 15 minutes or so after 1 1/2 hours to make sure they haven’t started to brown. (Low temps for longer time makes the best meringue cookies). Cookies should sound hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom, and should not be wet or gooey.
- Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely.
- Heat chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl for one minute. Stir and continue heating in 30 second bursts until fully melted and silky smooth.
- Dip the bottom of the peppermint cookies in the melted chocolate, gently shake off any excess chocolate and return to parchment to cool.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
These bake best when they are no bigger than an inch wide and an inch tall.
Low temps for longer time make the best meringue cookies
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 75 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 27Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g
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