this recipe is courtesy of martha stewart and allows for a certain amount of creativity - you can use other extracts, or fruit zest and different colors to create these adorable meringue swirls. for this time of year i love this red version, they look [and can taste*] just like little peppermints! they’re a super cute addition to a holiday cookie platter, and would be even sweeter with some green meringue swirls alongside them.
there aren’t many tricks to this recipe, but a couple things worth noting:
1) eggs should be at room temp in order to whip up effectively
2) much like making macarons, to make a proper meringue ensure your mixing bowl is super clean. wash and dry it thoroughly and wipe with vinegar before beginning to ensure there is no water or oil reside in your bowl.
3) whip your meringue to stiff peaks - i under-whipped one batch slightly, which wasn’t a deal breaker but the cookies kind of folded down on themselves and weren’t quite as pretty. the firmer your meringue the taller your cookies will be (depending of course on how you pipe them.)
4) don’t skimp on the bake time. i got antsy and pulled one of the smaller cookies after an hour thinking surely it would be done. it wasn’t.
| ingredients |
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg whites (at room temperature)
pinch of salt
sprinkle of cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract OR peppermint extract* [not both]
food coloring of choice (plus pastry bag, medium round tip - the same one i use to pipe macs, and a food safe paint brush)
optional for other flavors: orange or lemon zest
*vanilla extract will give you smoother, prettier meringues. peppermint gives you tastier but rougher meringues. so you’re in a sophie’s choice decision between looks and taste - content or form?
| method |
in the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar, egg whites, salt and cream of tartar. set the bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler and whisk the contents together. heat over medium until the bowl and egg whites become warm, and the sugar is fully dissolved, stirring frequently. once ready, add your extract and transfer the bowl to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
beat the meringue on high until stiff peaks form (see note above.) while the meringue is beating, preheat your oven, line baking sheets, and fit your pastry bag with the tip. using your gel food coloring of choice and paint brush, paint 3 lines down the sides into the tip of your pastry bag. set aside.
when your meringue is ready, gently load it into your piping bag and squeeze a little out of the end until you see the food coloring coming through. pipe in swirls onto the silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.