Peppermint Meringue Cookies

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Light and airy peppermint meringue cookies, made with egg whites, sugar, crushed candy peppermints, and optional chocolate chips.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Whenever I make ice cream from scratch, we usually have lots of leftover egg whites to use up. Meringues (or as my nephew calls them, “little pavlovas”) are little cookies made with basically just egg whites and sugar, with a little vinegar and salt added to help the mixture hold its structure when whipped.

In this recipe we’ve folded in some crushed peppermint sticks, leftover from Christmas. Mini chocolate chips can be added as well!

Peppermint Meringue Cookies

What I love about making these meringues is that you just put them in the hot oven, turn off the heat, and walk away for a few hours. Come back to sweet little meringue cookies, light and airy that practically melt in your mouth.

Peppermint Meringue Cookies Recipe

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  • Yield: Makes 24 meringue cookies

It's easiest to separate the eggs when they are cold. Since you'll want the egg whites to be at room temperature before whipping them (they will get more lift that way), for best results, separate your eggs at least a half hour before starting this recipe, and leave egg whites out to come to room temp.

Make sure that all bowls, hands, and utensils that might touch the eggs are clean and free from oils.

For best results, avoid making on a humid or rainy day.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tbsp thoroughly crushed peppermint candies*
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup sugar (use superfine if you have it)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

* Pulverize candies by placing them in sealed, doubled-up freezer bags. Use a meat mallet (smooth side) or hammer to gently pound them into a fine powder.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 300°F.

2 Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt: Put egg whites into a standup mixer, add a pinch of salt. Start the mixer on low, gradually increasing the speed to medium until quite foamy and soft peaks can just begin to form, about 2-3 minutes. Egg white bubbles should be small and uniform.

3 Continue to beat egg whites, slowly adding a sugar, then vinegar: Increase the speed to medium high and slowly add the sugar, a little (1-2 teaspoons) at a time. Continue to whip egg whites and sugar for a few minutes, then add the vinegar.

Increase the speed to the highest setting and whip the egg whites until they are glossy and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 4 to 5 minutes.

4 Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the crushed peppermints (and the mini chocolate chips, if you are using).

5 Pipe meringues onto lined cookie sheet: Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone. If you are using parchment paper, you can put a dollop of the meringue mixture in the corners of the pans before placing the parchment paper on them, to help secure the parchment paper in place (pastry chef's trick).

Either use a spoon to drop teaspoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto the cookie sheets (spaced an inch apart) or use a pastry piping bag (can make one with a plastic freezer bag with the corner cut off) to pipe mounds (1 1/2 inches wide) onto the lined cookie sheet.

6 Bake 1 minute, turn oven off: Put the cookie sheets in the 300°F oven, close the door. Wait for one minute only, then turn the oven OFF. Do not open the door for another 3 hours. You can leave them in the oven overnight. The meringues will gently cook in the residual heat of the oven.

When done, the meringues will be lightly crisp on the outside and light and airy on the inside. If they are still a little chewy after 3 hours, just let them dry out for a few more hours.

Store in an airtight container.

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Peppermint Meringue Cookies

Showing 4 of 23 Comments

  • j

    Meringues are one of my favorite desserts, but I’ve never tried to make them myself. Your post, and the massive article on them in the January 09 Martha Stewart Living are forcing my hand =).

    I found a meringue-esque recipe and made it for dessert for a christmas party this year. instead of baking it, you put it in the freezer, and the texture is somewhere between a frozen mousse and a semi-freddo. My mom called them frozen souffles, and since my lactose-intolerance has rendered ice cream an impossibility for me, this is my new favorite.

    Whisk 1 egg white with 2/3 c. of granulated sugar for 2 minutes. then add 2 cups of chopped fruit (I used strawberries, but anything mushable like raspberries or blueberries would work), and beat with a stand mixer for 15 minutes (I also added a tsp. of peppermint extract). Don’t fudge on this, though you may be tempted. it fills the ENTIRE bowl of the 5.5 qt mixer. Transfer it into something airtight and freeze for at least 4 hours. I garnished mine with chocolate covered mint leaves.

    :) Enjoy! And I’ll be sure to try out the meringues now!

  • Sara Anderson

    I made these for an xmas party, and I learned that it is really really not an old wive’s tale that the merengue will fail if you use a plastic bowl. I also sprinkled bits of candy canes on the cookies before baking, and somehow didn’t anticipate that they’d melt long before the cookies were baked. Looked kind of weird, but still okay.

  • KissTheChef

    Lovely. Instead of adding chocolate chips, I melt them and dip the meringues into the chocolate on the botton 1/3 only. It’s a lovely presentation, and I’m a FOOL for peppermint bark. So, this esentially fills the gap with less calories and guilt….YUMMMM

  • katrina

    Thank you for the recipe! I fiddled around two days ago trying to make these ( without your recipe) and it totally deflated when I threw in the finely pulverized candy canes. Oops. Next time, I’ll FOLD them in. Thanks again – and a Happy New Year and much deliciousness in 2009!

  • Sherihan

    Hey Elise, another mouthwatering dessert :)
    But are you serious about not making them on a humid or rainy day? and if so, why?

    The meringues are quite delicate, constructed of just egg whites and sugar. Sugar is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts water. On a humid day, the meringues will absorb the water in the air and may end up too chewy (this has happened to me). ~Elise

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