Meringues are so quick and easy to make, though not so quick to bake. I think the swirl is what makes these one of the girls' favorite cookies to whip up, but you can always just drop them by spoonfuls onto your baking sheet too. I've been saving my egg whites in the freezer for a while; I have enough for an angel cake and then some. So when the girls started making cookie noises I was able to pull out a partial container to make these in a jiffy. Well, they did have to thaw first so semi-jiffy. Previously the girls have wanted them pink with sprinkles, but this time I decided on peppermint with chocolate. Good choice. The chocolate helps offset the pure sugar sweetness of the meringues. And the peppermint is pretty subtle too, it's not like eating a candy cane. Meringues are great for holding any flavor you choose. I think almond meringues dipped in chocolate would be awesome!
Peppermint Meringues with Chocolate Sprinkles
makes 36 to 40 puffs
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 200ºF and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Process the sugar in a food processor or in batches in a spice/coffee grinder until superfine and powdery. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Mix in the cream of tartar. Start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the mixture does not feel gritty between your fingers and holds very stiff peaks. Mix in the peppermint extract. Spoon the mixture into a gallon Ziploc bag with a large star tip fitted at the end. You can also just snip off a corner for piping if you don't have pastry tips. Pipe the meringue in swirls or mounds on the parchment covered baking sheets. Top with chocolate sprinkles. Bake the cookies for 90 minutes until pale and fairly crisp. Turn off the oven and leave for another 10-15 minutes, then prop the door open a crack and leave to finish drying for another few hours. Avoid the temptation to get into them right away as they will be slightly chewy in the center. Once they are completely cool and dry, they will be melt in your mouth crisp all the way through. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days.