Peppermint meringue: The ideal holiday cookie

Waking to this winter’s first snowfall on Wednesday morning was such a treat. The reflection of cool morning light off smooth untouched snow turned our street bright and cheerful. In our temperate climate, snow is always a novelty. In a second out-of-the-ordinary turn of events, The Little Helping was still sound asleep when I woke. The house was cozy and the street was softly silent. I laced my morning coffee with Sugar Free Peppermint Mocha creamer then curled up in front of the window to watch the fat flakes fall steadily to the ground. For a few bliss-filled moments, I held my breath and prayed that no one would pinch me.

I am in love with these little cookies with their light pink sheen and gentle ripples. Crushed bits of candy cane folded into a very basic meringue become sweetly refreshing treats. A crisp airy outer shell conceals a pillowy marshmallow center, they melt in the mouth like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” snowflakes. I know these will make a perfect addition to any festive cookie plate.

After a bit of a learning adventure, last winter, and redemption in the spring, I can now say with confidence, meringues are delightfully simple to whip up. A dry day will give you the fluffiest results. I made these cuties on a damp but rainless evening. Prior to baking, the meringue was leaning a bit toward marshmallow fluff consistency. Working quickly and making petite morsels saved the project. They went into the oven nearly collapsing on themselves but came out darling and delicious.

Next week when Santa comes down our chimney, he is certain to find a few of these goodies waiting by the tree. And, if I have done my job correctly, you aren’t really reading this post. Hopefully you have been sitting there completely enamored with the picture and drooling just a little. Yes, they taste as good as they look. To quote one happy recipient, “they are stellar!” Give a batch of Peppermint Meringue Kisses a try. Your mouth will be “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” with every bite.

Peppermint Meringue Kisses

Peppermint Meringue Kisses are light and airy treats that will melt in your mouth like Christmas snow flakes. Make a place for these delightful bites on your Holiday cookie tray.

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time 45 minutes – 1 hour. Yield: 40 meringues.

Ingredients

• 3 large egg whites, room temperature

• 3/4 cup granulated sugar

• 4 medium candy canes (56 grams), crushed

• pinch of salt

• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

Method

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Separate eggs and place whites into a medium bowl with a pinch of salt.

Whip egg whites on medium speed, when they become foamy sprinkle in the cream of tarter.

Continue whipping whites and increasing the mixer speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks.

Once stiff peaks form sprinkle in sugar while mixing until all the sugar has been incorporated.

Reserve a few teaspoon of crushed candy cane and fold the rest into the meringue.

Use a piping bag or two table spoons to make 1 1/2 – 2 inch mounds onto cookies sheets.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 170 and bake for 15 – 30 additional minutes. Meringues are cooked when the tops are hard and sound hollow when tapped.

Per meringue: calories 40, fat 1.3 g, carbohydrates 6 g, fiber 0, protein 1 g, PP = 1

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