Lighter than a Snowflake: Peppermint 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.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | December 6th, 2011