Holiday baking is in full swing here, and we’re working our way through the traditional holiday recipes and a few new experiments, too. Pavlovas and meringues are one of my all-time favorite things to bake (a close second to biscotti, which might rank at #1.) Why meringues? They’re easy and I usually have all the ingredients on hand to make them. Plus, there’s just something about that pillowy crunch that’s so delicate and addictive – and the kiddos love them! So this year, they’re back on the roster in a can’t-go-wrong holiday flavor: Chocolate-dipped Peppermint Meringues!
When I make these peppermint meringue cookies, I’m always a little torn on whether or not to add the crushed peppermint pieces. They look so pretty, but I don’t really love the “stick in the teeth” factor of candy canes. Also, there’s the food dye issue. If either bothers you, feel free to leave them off. They’re still great. The only time I really think they’re important is if you’re putting them on a platter or taking them to a party because a little bit of crushed candy on there lets guests in on what the flavor might be. Always important!
- 3 large egg whites (let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes)
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 3 pinches cream of tartar
- 3 pinches salt
- 4 Tablespoons superfine sugar
- 3 ounces 60% or higher cacao bittersweet chocolate
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- ¼ cup crushed peppermint candy
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees with racks in upper and lower positions. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat egg whites with peppermint extract, cream of tartar and salt with an electric mixer at medium -high speed until it holds soft peaks. Add half of sugar, a little at a time, beating at high speed until meringue hold stiff, glossy peaks. Fold in remaining 2 Tbsp sugar gently.
- Using a spatula, put meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I used a Wilton 1M) and pipe stars of meringue 1" wide, 1" high and ½" apart.
- Place both sheets in oven, and bake, switching position of upper and lower sheets halfway through. Bake until dry and firm, approx 90 minutes to 2 hours.
- Turn off oven, prop door open and allow meringues to cool in over for one hour. Remove from oven and allow meringues to cool thoroughly on a rack.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring often to ensure smooth melting. Once melted, stir in coconut oil. Dip the base of each meringue and place on parchment. (Dip in crushed candy before placing on parchment, if desired.) Allow to dry completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Keep cool in an airtight container for one week.
Peppermint meringues are perfect for gifting. Pair them with a tin of hot cocoa or mocha-flavored coffee in a gift basket – but make sure to make extras to keep!