Light and airy meringues, with a slight crunch. Mocha and peppermint flavor options.
Have you ever had a simple recipe go so wrong it made you feel completely inept? Well that was these meringues. It took me…a few attempts to get them right. Good thing I am stubborn! After three failed attempts and resorting to watching a YouTube video, I can now proudly say I have conquered these meringues, and can tell you exactly what NOT to do.
Don’t let my experience scare you! Meringues are actually quite simple…and downright EASY to make. Once I figured out what I was doing wrong, I could whip up a batch in a few minutes (they do have to bake in the oven for around an hour though!) These are hands down the easiest cookies I have baked for my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies. Come to think of it, these are the easiest cookies I’ve made…ever!
I love these meringues because they are sophisticated. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but just look at them…they are so pretty!
Of course a pretty cookie is not the only thing going on here. The texture that they have is perfect…crunchy, hard exterior, and soft, delicate inside. They melt on your tongue and have exquisite flavor. The only problem I have with these meringues is that it is so hard to only eat one!
Once I mastered the basic meringue recipe, it was easy to see how versatile they could be. Any extract you can find could be used…almond, rum, root beer… They can also be jazzed up with spices…cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe I could even try a hot chocolate version?? Here I have tried two Christmassy versions of the meringue; peppermint and mocha. I couldn’t decide which one I liked the best, so I decided to include them both!
- 3 egg whites
- pinch salt (or ¼ tsp cream of tartar)
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1 drop green food coloring
- Separate eggs, placing egg whites in a clean, medium sized metal bowl. Allow them to sit 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
- Pre-heat oven to 200 F.
- *this is the important part!* Beat eggs at least until they form soft peaks. They need to be well beaten when you start to add the sugar. My mistake was that I started adding the sugar when the eggs were frothy, but not forming peaks yet. Soft peaks means that when you remove the beaters, the eggs lift up with the beater, but then flop back in. I also tried beating them until they formed stiff peaks and that still worked well for me.
- Add a pinch of salt, or cream of tartar (I could not find cream of tartar, and salt worked just fine for me). Beat until it is mixed in well.
- Add sugar by the tablespoon. It is very important to add the sugar slowly. Don't add the next tablespoon of sugar until the first one is dissolved. Once you have added all the sugar, continue to mix until it is all dissolved. To check if it is dissolved, rub some of the egg whites between your fingers. If you feel any sugar granules, keep mixing.
- Finally, add the peppermint extract and food coloring, and mix until well incorporated.
- To form meringue stars, fit an icing bag with a star attachment fitting (mine is Wilton brand #1M). I found it at Michaels. Alternatively you can just spoon the meringue onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake meringues for 45 minutes...you will probably need longer, though. Check if the meringues are cooked by touching them...they should be firm on the outside. I also checked by tasting them. They should still be a bit gooey on the inside. This sets up when they cool.