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Lighter than a Snowflake: Peppermint Meringues

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Meringues

Oh my heavenly stars…can you even believe I made these with my own two hands (and my KitchenAid mixer)?  I don’t mean to blow my own horn but aren’t they puuurty?  Why, they might just be the purtiest dang thing I ever did create.  And you, my friends can make them too.  Don’t say you can’t – yes, you can.  Because one: they’re totally easy, and two:  can’t is not your middle name.

I was looking for a showstopping cookie for an exchange I’m going to next week – ’cause go big or go home is what I always say  – but I thought for sure any attempt at meringues would be fighting outside my culinary weight class.  I’ve never made them before and I was pretty sure they were complicated and putzy to make.  Happily, I was wrong.  These cute little cookies are high brow, low cost, and fat freaking free, all at the same time.  Gluten free, too — whoopee!!

Give them a try, they’re easy like Sunday morning.  You’ll be the star of your cookie exchange!

PEPPERMINT MERINGUES
YIELDS: 60
SOURCE:  BonAppetit Magazine, December 2011 issue; also available on epicurious.com. 

3 large egg whites, room temperature (ShurFresh Large Eggs)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup sugar (C&H Sugar)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

12 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until white and foamy, about 1 minute. With mixer running, gradually add sugar in 3 additions, beating for 2 minutes between each addition. Beat until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Add powdered sugar and peppermint extract; beat to blend, about 1 minute.

Dot coloring over surface of meringue; do not stir (the coloring will form swirls when piped). Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted
with a 1/2″ tip (alternatively, spoon into a plastic freezer bag, then cut 1/2″ off 1 corner.) Twist top; pipe 1″ rounds onto prepared sheet, spacing 1″ apart.  Bake meringues until dry, about 2 1/2 hours. Let cool completely, about 1 hour (meringues will crisp as they cool).

DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature between sheets of parchment or waxed paper.

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Leah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."

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