Peppermint Meringue Cookies

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. 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.

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Peppermint Meringue Cookies Recipe

  • 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.

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2 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.

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3 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).

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5 Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. 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, thank you, Shuna). 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 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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31 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. Nate

    Did you know that meringues were the first things I ever baked? It was back in high school. I couldn’t believe how simple it was to do, and how good these things tasted.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Happy New Year!

  6. 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

  7. Nik

    I always pull meringues out of the oven early to ensure that the centres are still a little gooey because that’s the way I like them.

  8. Marcia

    I bought Swedish handmade peppermint sticks at the Williams Somona Outlet for 70% off just to make meringues.

    I have a big Square Dance week-end MLK and this is part of what I am taking. I will add cocoa to some to make chocolate meringues, and always leave some plain. But, the peppermint always go first.

  9. Kathleen

    Tried the meringue for the very first time and what a success….though living in England I had to make it despite the damp! Still, a favourite this Christmas and it has started me finally making these things!

  10. margaux

    I love meringues, and these look fantastic. I’ve tried making them over the last couple of months, and I don’t seem to be having any success – I either over-beat the egg white or they keep burning! I’ll give your method of turning off the oven a try, though, it sounds promising. I’m going to keep the centres a little chewy. I know it’s wrong, but I love it that way!

  11. Elaine

    Wow, do these look beautiful. I’ve always wanted to try these and I think I will now. I would love to send a batch to my son in college. I wonder how long they will keep if you make sure they are in an airtight container?

    No idea. I rather think they won’t hold up that well, given how delicate they are, but who knows? ~Elise

  12. Donna E

    I have always loved meringues and peppermints – seperately. Putting them together sounded like a great idea and today I also tried them for myself – awesome!

    Happy New Year!

    PS Great photos, too – thanks!

  13. Cynthia

    These look great! My son has been wanting to make homemade ice cream for some time and I’ve been putting it off because I’m looking for recipes to use the egg whites in. This is perfect since we still have candy canes left from Christmas. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Donna from Stuff Cooks Want

    I just made these and they came out BEAUTIFULLY! Did a test – one pan with parchment and the other with Silpat. The parchment worked better for me…the Silpat pan remained a little chewy – but still YUMMY! Thanks for the recipe.

  15. calene

    This recipee is amazing; my guests for Christmas were very pleased.

  16. Rebecca

    As soon as I saw this I knew I had to make these- so my husband and I made them last night. They’re fantastic!! Delicious and addictive.

  17. Amy

    Oh my goodness! Meringues somehow have the ability to make me completely weak at the knees, and the notion of adding peppermint simply gives me goosebumps. I don’t know how I haven’t thought of that before! Two of my absolute favorite things. Growing up, my mother made meringue mushrooms at Christmastime in addition to other Christmas cookies by piping caps (domes) and stems, then gluing them together with chocolate and sprinkling them with cocoa powder later. A whimsical and addictive treat! Sometimes as a joke she saved those blue styrofoams real mushrooms come in to package the meringues in. Recipients looked a little confused initially, but always warmed to the cute idea. This year they ended up on the traditional yule log, which made the meringues soft (although of course still delicious), but added a surprisingly “natural” touch to the already decadent chocolate cake. :)

  18. Lacrema

    I tried to make these TWICE today, to no avail… my egg whites just would not stiffen up! They got to a softish peak before I added the sugar, but after the slow, gradual, mixer-on-medium addition of the sugar, the whites totally deflated to a soupy foam. BOTH times!! I am wondering if it has something to do with the altitude (I’m at 6,000 feet)? Any hints you could send my way?

    Yes, make sure your bowl and utensils are extremely clean of any residual oil or fat. Make sure there are no specks of egg yolk in the egg whites. Any fat anywhere will keep the eggs from rising. Make sure you are using high quality, white granulated sugar, super fine sugar is best. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before handling the eggs. Even the oils from your skin can mess this up if it comes into contact with the eggs. ~Elise

  19. Liz

    I love Meringues (Merengues) And this recipie is fantastic!! This afternoon, i will do them!!

    Thanks for the recipe!!!

  20. Rabia

    After they came out of the oven, they were very sticky and gummy in the middle, rather than beiing marshmallowy. Help!
    Also, should I store them in the refrigerator, or outside?

    They need to cook longer or dry out longer. A gummy interior is what happens to mine when I try cooking on a humid day, so watch the humidity too. Store in an airtight container. I would store them outside of the fridge if they are going to be eaten up within a few days. ~Elise

  21. Shannon

    Darn! I just threw away three egg whites when I made hollandaise sauce this afternoon because I never know what to do with them. Wish I’d seen this recipe earlier. Instead of the smashed candy cane, I wonder if peppermint (or my favorite flavor…almond!) extract would work?

    BTW…I think these would keep and ship really well based on the meringues I’ve purchased at Trader Joe’s.

  22. Brian

    Heh. Of course, I’m like “Who needs a mixer. I’ve got an arm.”

    Half an hour later, the mixture is still runny, and my arm is about to fall off, and it feels like it’s getting thicker and thicker, but it’s not. Ok, I need one of them mixer thingies.

    I just put them in the oven, and though they aren’t quite as stiff as shown in the picture, I hope they turn out good. I’m hungry.

    Oh yeah, and I will find out if peppermint extract works just as well as crushed candy (didn’t have any handy). I have been wanting to make this ever since you first posted it, especially since I use a lot of yolks and end up just wasting the whites or frying them up with some mushrooms after a workout.

    LOL. There’s a good reason God invented mixers, which you just discovered. BTW, if the egg whites are not quite stiff, they may not have enough structure to sustain them while cooking, and they may not turn out as well. But good luck to you! And your arm. ;-) ~Elise

  23. Verena

    Elise,
    I made this recipe and instead of adding the Peppermint Candy (which I did not find) and the chocolate chips (was not looking for chocolate taste) I added some lemon zest and the taste was great!
    I had a little trouble with the time in the oven…had to light the oven once more for 5 minutes and then let them rest for 2 hours more.
    But the results were wonderful, very beautiful meringues and the taste was great! Very crispy in the outside and chewy in the inside, just how we like!
    Thanks!

  24. Jennifer Brandt

    Try adding pepermint abstract and red food coloring along with the mashed up pepermint. Also, another idea is spearment abstract and green food coloring. My mom always made these during the holidays, we called them “Sugar plums”, and they were my favorite.

  25. Sherrill Sander

    Trader Joes stopped making their chocolate chip meringue cookie… They were so good. So now I want to make them. Does anyone have a chocolat chip meringue cookie recipe?

    Our peppermint meringue cookies have chocolate chips in them as an option. ~Elise

  26. Florence

    I love these peppermint meringues, but also have made mint chocolate chip meringues that used Hershey’s chocolate mint chips, that everyone loves. Trouble is I cannot find the mint chips anywhere. Does anyone know of an outlet for them?

  27. Tami & Darlene

    We made these today & live in Wa so elevation played a role in keeping the egg whites from peaking properly. Despite the peaking problems, they turned out pretty yummy after having them sit in the oven for a couple hrs longer than it called for. We used Andes’ Minthes instead of chocolate pieces and added silver sprinkles on top to make them festive for the holidays. They taste great!

  28. Mary

    I am diabetic, could I make these with a dry type sugar substitute, such as Truvia or Stevia?

    Great question, I don’t know the answer. You could try it with a small batch, maybe just using 1 egg white and see if it works. Let us know if you do! ~Elise

  29. Simone

    Made ice cream last night so I had 6 egg whites that needed to be used up. I usually make mini pavlovas with them but wanted something else this time so I made a batch of these – They are great! The second batch I made similar but instead of peppermint candies, I added about 2/3 c of shredded coconut and they are amazing!

  30. Jeanice Reyes

    I just made some similar to these, instead of the candy I used 1/8 tsp of peppermint extract and dotted some red jel into the meringue. When I put the meringue in my pastry bag, I swirled the meringue, making a candy stripe!

  31. JLY

    I made some meringues several years ago for a church funtion. I made three types; one I inserted in the center (and covered over) some chocolate, mint, butterscotch or peanut butter chips. In another batch I added extracts (NOT OILS!) of almond wtith almond slivers on top, peppermint with crushed candy canes sprinkled on top and lemon with lemon drops crushed on top. Another batch I scooped out a small indent and filled before serving with chocolate and lemon pudding and some jams/perserves. If memory is correct, I baked them at 200 degrees for an hour and left them in the oven for several hours. They were a huge success. They can be kept for no more than 10 days in an air tight container. I didn’t put into fridge, I don’t think they can be frozen. If at a higher altitude I would think you could turn the oven back on after an hour or more at 200 degrees for a few minutes, enough to heat up the stove again, and then allow the cookies to continue to dry out.

    Sugar substitutes can not be used, that is what I read elsewhere. Disapointing as I have a son who is diabetic.

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