Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Peppermint Meringue Christmas Trees

Meringue trees - the perfect use for all the leftover egg whites from shortbread baking!

If there was ever a feel-good holiday cookie for the dieter, the meringue is it. The egg white foam cookies are lighter than air, come in all sorts of colours and whatever flavour you can basically dream of - making them versatile and the perfect sweet treat.

Now that January has rolled around and the gym is packed (as is the natural foods aisle of the grocery store), these cookies are in their element. We're still not ready to swear off sweets entirely, but one or two meringues never hurt anyone, and the minty flavour of these also staves you off from polishing off the whole tray. While these are obviously in the shape of Christmas trees, you could also just make swirls or even "snowy" trees dusted with a touch of icing sugar. The possibilities are endless, and I look forward to making more meringues since the shortbreads aren't quite done yet!

Peppermint Meringue Christmas Trees
Makes a lot - I lost count!
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup superfine sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 tsp peppermint extract (not oil, which will deflate the meringue)
1 tsp vanilla extract
green gel food colouring, to taste
candy stars and dragees, to top
  1. Heat the oven to 250F and line baking sheets with parchment paper (do not use Silpat or grease!)
  2. Place the whites into a spotless, non-plastic bowl (I used my stand mixer).
  3. Begin mixing with the whip on medium speed, adding the cream of tartar and mixing till incorporated.
  4. Increase speed to high and beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.
  5. Whisk together the sugars and salt, and begin adding to the egg whites a few tablespoons at a time, allowing the mixture to incorporate fully before adding more.
  6. Whip until stiff peaks are reached, then add the extracts and food colour and beat in well.
  7. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag with a large round or star tip and pipe swirls (like Christmas trees) onto a baking sheet.
  8. Decorate with silver dragees (don't add the candy stars, they'll melt)
  9. Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, until meringues begin to release from the parchment paper.
  10. Crack the oven door and leave the meringue too cool in the oven for another hour.
  11. When cool and dry (I leave mine overnight in the oven), use a drop of royal icing or chocolat to attach the candy star to the top.

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