Merry Christmas! I hope Santa brought you everything you asked for… but since he may have eaten all your cookies, I’ve got your back. And these are so good that they will make you smile even if you only got coal in your stocking.
The key to the amazingness of these meringue cookies is crushed candy canes folded into the meringue. I also tried a recipe that includes peppermint extract instead of crushed candy canes, but it wasn’t nearly as good.
Make sure you add the sugar before the meringue reaches the stiff peak stage, or the sugar won’t dissolve properly.
Now, the original recipe called for mini chocolate chips in the meringue, too. But I hate the texture of chocolate chips in meringue cookies, so I didn’t add any (obviously).
It turns out I have some kind of mental block regarding pastry bags. I tried to use one and all was going well (as you can see in the picture on the left), but then a chunk of candy cane got stuck in the tip and meringue started coming out the back of the bag and soon my whole kitchen and self were covered in sticky pink meringue. The photo on the right is a meringue I made by taking the tip off the pastry bag and just piping it through the large hole at the end. Or you could just use a spoon.
These cookies are quite amazing without the chocolate, but if you have time the chocolate does make them prettier and even yummier.
The trickiest part of this was flipping the meringue over to dry without getting chocolate all over my fingers. I didn’t ever really figure out a good way to do it, but there are worse things than chocolate on your fingers. Enjoy, and have a great Christmas!
Chocolate-dipped peppermint meringues (adapted from “America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookies”)
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
red food coloring (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk or semisweet)
3 heaping crushed peppermint candies/candy canes
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 275. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks begin to form, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and one or two drops of food coloring and then add sugar 1 tablespoon or so at a time. Continue beating until mixture is glossy and stiff (about two minutes). Using a spatula, fold in peppermint.
Using a piping bag with a large tip, a Ziploc bag with a hole cut in the bottom corner or a spoon, pipe or dollop small dots of batter, about 1 inch high, onto baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch in between. Bake until cookies begin to crack and become golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool.
Melt chocolate in a bowl (microwave for 10 seconds, stir and continue in 5- or 10-second intervals until melted). Mix with oil in the bowl. Dip the bottoms of the cooled meringues into chocolate, scrape off the excess and place chocolate side up on a wire rack until chocolate sets.