Dec 3, 2010

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringues

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Ooooh, you guys! I really hope I’m getting to you in time. Like before you get all set in your holiday baking plans. Because let me tell you what. These peppermint meringues? With their minty crunch, melting sweetness and slick of bittersweet chocolate? They need to be all up in your holiday cookie tins. I mean, just look at them in their jaunty striped suits. They will delight any recipient and call to you from the countertop. So says the person who’s had meringue crumbs all down her shirt for three days straight.


I can’t think of too many phrases more lovely than “Christmas confections”, can you? Well, I suppose there’s also “French meringue”, which I also have a thing for. And “spatula”, but that’s neither here nor there. But about the French meringue. It’s my favorite kind to make and eat. Oh, of course I love a pillowy, soft meringue atop a pie or the in-between kind that’s baked crisp on the outside with a marshmallow-y interior, like with a heavenly pavlova. But I’m totally enamored with the kind of hard-throughout meringue cookie that has you cronch-cronch-ing while it simulatneously melts in your mouth. And I’ll tell you what else–it’s dang hard to find a good, reliable recipe for that sort of thing.


This recipe is a far cry from a hard-core, classic French meringue (granulated and confectioners’ sugar? Flour? Mon dieu!), but the technique is every bit as simple. The little trick that makes these baked meringues so featherweight and addictively melt-in-your-mouth is the folding in of the confectioners’ sugar and a touch of flour, after the bulk of the superfine granulated sugar has been whipped into the egg whites. And can I just say that when I grind granulated sugar in my coffee grinder to make superfine sugar and then pour it into a plastic bag to store it, I always get the biggest laugh out of how questionable the whole thing looks?

If you wondered if I was a square before, well, I guess I cleared that one up for you.


But in addition to being a total square, I am also quite crafty, and after deciding to make these meringues peppermint, opted to dress them up even more by painting long stripes of red food coloring up the sides of a piping bag before filling it. As you pipe out the meringue, you’ll get a sweet little pattern on each cookie. Super stylish and cute! Unlike me with all these crazy meringue crumbs on my shirt.


Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringues

To make superfine sugar, take regular granulated sugar for a spin in a clean coffee grinder or food processor fitted with the steel blade.

When you add the peppermint extract, the minty fragrance and flavor may seem a bit overpowering, but it will be tempered by adding the remaining sugar mixture, and some of its minty power will bake off during the long baking time, too.

Gel food coloring is available at any good baking supply store and many craft stores. It’s much thicker and much more intense in color than the liquid food coloring sold in supermarkets.You can forgo the jazzy striping altogether and just beat in a touch of festive food coloring with the extracts if you prefer.

Makes about 4-5 dozen, depending on size

4 large egg whites (about 4 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup superfine sugar (see note)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Red gel food coloring
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli)

Position the oven rack to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Sift together 2 tablespoons of the superfine sugar, the confectioners’ sugar, and the flour into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the whip attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Whip first on medium speed, gradually increasing the speed to high, until the egg whites reach soft peaks. Gradually rain in the remaining superfine sugar. Continue to whip until the meringue is glossy and holds a very stiff peak. Beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. With a large spatula, gently and carefully fold in the remaining sugar mixture by hand in three additions, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.

On the inside of a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, use a long, thin paint brush to paint four or five long stripes of food coloring up the sides of the bag. Carefully transfer the meringue to the piping bag, aiming for the center of the bag as much as possible to avoid smudging the stripes. Pipe out the meringue into cookies about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto the prepared baking sheets.

Place both sheets into the oven at once, and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 200 degrees. Bake until the cookies are completely firm and dry, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate chips on a double boiler or in the microwave on high power in 30 second intervals until smooth, stirring after each interval. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. when the chocolate has cooled and set (the refrigerator can speed up this process considerably), remove the cookies from the sheets and store in airtight containers at cool room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

43 Comments

  • Wow! Those look so amazing. I was baffled by how you got those stripes and to get them looking so perfect. You are a very crafty one. Love them!
    -Kerry

  • they look so beautiful! just perfect!
    & the chocolate…yum!…cannot wait to try these!

  • Wow, That was looking Delicious, i wanna make this

  • You are amazing. I'm almost too scared to try making these because mine will NEVER look like that. LOL and P.S. I KNOW you are sooooo not a square. I mean I taught you everything I know about not being a square. It wasn't easy….but you were a fast learner. ;) HA!

  • I made these last year (from Martha Stewart) and I have to say they were amazing. Everyone loved them…who could resist something that cute?! They are definitely in my Christmas baking rotation now. :)

  • You totally read my mind! I was planning on making these for my co-workers this year. :)

  • Okay, these are seriously adorable! I might have to give them a try in my crowded Xmas cookie line-up!

  • I love these so much!!!! They are totally adorable!

  • Shauna, do you think that Bakers sugar is super-fine enough to use? Or is pulverizing it in a food processor a must? Thanks for sharing, can't wait to try these!! :)

    Shan

  • Shan–Bakers' Sugar should do just fine!

  • these meringues look so pretty!!!

  • These look so amazing. I'm already writing down what I want to bake this holiday season and these are diffinately going onto the list.

  • Must. Make. These. Now!!!!

  • Hi Shauna! (:

    I'm making cookie tins this year (for the first time) and I was wondering if you had recs beyond the standard gingerbread/sugar cookies with decorations. Any favorites? (I'm afraid the meringues would be too delicate to pack in)

    Thanks!
    Cwhaticando

  • Very clever use of coloring. These are BEAUTIFUL. Good work!

  • O, those look so awesome! I've got a peppermint meringue recipe I can't wait to try out, hope mine tun out as good as yours!

  • I’m going to make these for my grandparent’s 45th wedding anniversary on Monday…can’t wait, I’m sure they will be delicious!!! I got the Organic & Chic book a few months ago and haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, so thanks for inspiring me to make one!

  • I cannot wait to try these! They look so yummy!

  • That looks DELICIOUS!

  • Those look gorgeous. But aren't superfine sugar and confectioner's sugar the same thing?

  • Avanika–Superfine sugar is granulated sugar ground up to a finer texture. Confectioners' sugar (or powdered sugar) is basically superfine sugar plus cornstarch. Sometimes you can use them interchangeably, but here you need both. Hope that helps! :)

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  • I love the stripes!! SO cute and I love the addition of chocolate. Yummy!

  • These are gorgeous- so impressive! I love the stripes on them. :)

  • Ok, I'm sold. This *might* show my stuck-up mother-in-law that I can actually make something nice. I doubt it, because she has to poo-poo everything I do, but I may as well try, right? *sigh* Rant mode: off

    P.S. word verification is "extersy" Meh, close enough. HAH!

  • Hey lady! These sound totally fabulous – I love meringue cookies, but living in Florida, where we invented the term "Humid," meringues don't have a long shelf life. Like, a day, tops. Sometimes they just refuse to set up at all.

    Do you think the flour in these would help them last longer? It seems like it might….if so, I'd love to add these to my Christmas cookie tins!

  • What a festive treat – I have always loved meringues because they are so much lighter than a lot of other christmas treats – means I can eat thirty of them without batting an eye… The stripes are so clever on them, knowing me, I would have tried painting it on the individual meringues, instead of up the side of the bag. And that's why you're making them, and not me :)

  • Becki D–Oh yes, humidity is the enemy of baked meringues. Not sure what the intense Florida humidity would do to these guys, but these certainly are more stable than any other formula I've tested–they really don't soften at all, even after a week or more on the counter here in San Francisco. It's worth a shot, because I can't stop eating them!

    Also, you may want to look for some food-grade silica gel packets. You can find them easily online and they are dirt cheap. If you bake a lot, particularly with your weather, you might really like them! They really help absorb any excess moisture in storage containers. I've used them for crispy cookies when the texture is key to them being awesome. Hope that helps!

  • Piping the color on the bag is SUCH a clever thing to do!

    How is little C, btw? We haven't seen or heard of her much lately :)

  • ooo…smart thinking with silica packets! I will give them and these meringues a try – THANK YOU!

  • Oh gosh – These look totally awesome! I don't have a piping bag so I'm not sure mine would look as cute. But do I really need an electric mixer with a whip attachment?? I am not much of a baker (and am NOT meringue proficient), and I have only a hand mixer. Would I whisk instead or am I hopeless?

  • These were fabulous and we absolutely loved them! But we had a very hard time with the chocolate dipping part — a lot of them came out almost completely covered in chocolate (not that that was a bad thing…) because my fingers couldn't dip them in and pull them out without getting chocolate on them too. Any tips for getting them as gorgeous as yours??

  • they look fabulous!!

  • Wow, these are beautiful and festive. So perfect for Christmas! :)

  • Saw your link on Dash Recipes. I’ve always been intimidated by meringues, but I think it’s worth it to try these. If I can make my grandmother’s divinity, I should be able to make these, right? My cookie swap pals will be very impressed!

  • [...] Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Meringues From Piece Of Cake [...]

  • Ok….frustrated. 1st mistake perhaps. I doubled the recipe
    2. The first batch the whites deflated totally after the fold in was complete. Now I have a lg bowl of yummy, I might add, peppermint merangues the consistency of cake batter. I hate to throw it away … Any ideas?

    • Doubling the recipe could indeed have something to do with it–you’ll have to fold twice as long in order to get everything incorporated. If you didn’t whip the meringue firm enough before folding in the remaining ingredients, that could be the problem, too. Unfortunately, with meringue, there’s no way to save it once its deflated. There is also the possibility that a tiny speck of yolk got into the mix somehow–that’s a surefire way to deflate a batch of meringue as well. So sorry!

  • [...] Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringues (from Piece of Cake) [...]

  • [...] isn’t just for Christmas! Try out these Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Meringues any time of year. (via Piece of [...]

  • I love your recipe! My only problem is my oven. Its lowest temperature is 300 degrees. Though my meringues tasted great, they are a bit burnt. Do you have any recommendations to avoid burning the meringues (not including getting a new oven please)? Thanks.

    • Ooh, this is a toughie. You really do need a lower temperature than 300 degrees for meringues like these, because really what you’re doing is drying them out, as opposed to actually “baking” them. Another option, if you think it might be useful in other applications, is to look for a small food dehydrator, which makes lovely crisp meringues.

      • Thanks, Shauna. Currently looking for a better oven.

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