Take a break from the typical rich Christmas desserts, and enjoy these airy peppermint meringue cookies. These meringues feature a slightly chewy center with a crisp, delicate outer shell that’s finished with gorgeous crushed candy canes. Filled with sweet, festive peppermint flavor, these treats are a sure sign of Christmastime.
Ingredients for Peppermint Meringue Cookies
- Egg whites: In this recipe, you actually want to use older eggs. Older egg whites whip up into higher and fluffier meringues than fresh eggs. You’ll find the freshness date among all those numbers on the egg carton. Another secret to making the perfect meringue is to use room-temperature egg whites.
- Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar stabilizes the meringue for the strongest and tallest meringue cookie.
- Sugar: For additional strength and stability (plus sweetness!), our peppermint meringue cookies call upon sugar.
- Candy canes: Crushed candy canes add the sweet, cooling peppermint flavor to these cookies, plus that festive holiday look!
Step 1: Whip to soft peaks
Preheat the oven to 225°F. In a completely clean and dry metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer or stand mixer until foamy. Sprinkle the eggs whites with the salt and cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form.
Editor’s Tip: When making meringue, your tools need to be squeaky clean. Any speck of oil, moisture or food will inhibit your egg whites from fluffing up.
Step 2: Beat to stiff peaks
Gradually add the sugar to the soft peaks, beating until stiff peaks form, about seven minutes. You’ll know you’re done whipping the meringue when it’s gorgeously glossy and stands straight up when the beaters are pulled out.
Editor’s Tip: Our guide on the difference between soft peaks and stiff peaks walks through the transition so you know what to look for.
Step 3: Shape the meringue cookies
It’s time to move quickly so your meringue batter doesn’t sink and sag before getting to the oven. Drop the meringue by the teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with aluminum foil or parchment. Sprinkle each meringue cookie with crushed candy.
Step 4: Bake
Bake the meringues for 1-1/2 hours. Turn off the heat, and leave the cookies in the oven with the door ajar until cool, for at least one hour. Allow the meringues to cool completely to room temperature, then store the meringues in an airtight container.
- Pipe the meringues: Give these peppermint meringue cookies a more uniformed look by piping them instead of scooping and dropping. Add your meringue to a piping bag fitted with a round tip or star tip. Gently, gently, gently apply enough pressure to pipe out shapes. Applying too much pressure will knock out the air you just spent time adding into the meringue.
- Dot in food coloring: A bit of gel food coloring will really make these peppermint meringues pop. Add red or green gel food coloring to the meringue to stay on theme with Christmas. To give these meringues the look of candy canes, paint red gel food coloring along the inside of the piping bag (like we do in our holiday meringue miniatures recipe). Then add the meringue to the piping bag, and gently pipe out your meringue cookie shapes.
- Add a chocolate element: Decorate these meringues with a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips along with the crushed candy canes. You could also melt a high-quality dark chocolate bar, and drizzle it on top of the finished meringues.
How to Store Peppermint Meringue Cookies
To store, let the meringues cool completely to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. They can sit out at room temperature for up to two weeks—just make sure you keep them in a dark, dry corner away from humidity and sunlight.
Peppermint Meringue Cookies Tips
How do you stabilize meringue without cream of tartar?
You can stabilize meringue without cream of tartar by using lemon juice instead. Use 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice for every egg white used in the recipe. You could also break out a copper bowl for the same effect!
Can you overbeat meringue cookies?
Yes, you can overbeat the egg whites for meringue cookies. Over-beating the egg whites will make them grainy, dry and lumpy, which won’t create beautiful meringue cookies. However, once the sugar is added to the egg whites in Step 2, you can stop worrying about overbeating!