One of my absolute favorite things to do is to bake Christmas sweets and treats with my little ones. They each have their "favorites" that they have loved making since they were just tiny ones, sitting on the countertop to help - such precious memories!
My daughter Melissa has been helping with meringue cookies, which she calls "Angel Cookies" since she was little, at first helping to scoop out the meringue with two spoons, and now piping them beautifully - and left-handed to boot! Each year she creates new flavors and tries new techniques - and these Candy Cane Angel Meringues are our new favorite!
For meringue cookies, you'll need five basic ingredients:
Tips & Tricks for making Meringue:
If you follow these easy tips, you too will be an Angel Meringue Master before you know it! Which variety will you try first?
Our favorites are White Marshmallow, Chocolate, Espresso & Dark Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Champagne, and the cutest of all - Candy Cane Angel Meringues!
For something extra special, you can dip the bottoms of Candy Cane Angel Meringues in melted dark chocolate, and then immediately dip in crushed swirly peppermint candy canes. So pretty and YUMMY!
3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch of salt
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract
6 to 8 drops gel food coloring (optional)
CHOCOLATE DIP: (optional)
1 3-1/2 oz. bar 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (Crisco)
HOW WE MAKE THESE:
1. Place oven racks in upper, middle and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 225F (or to 200F if using a convection oven) and line two or three large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Fit a large disposable piping bag with a large tip (I use a Wilton 2100/1M or Ateco 885 or 846 swirl tip); place inside a large cup that is at least 7-8” high and 4” across at the top) with the top of the bag pulled down over the top of the cup; set aside.
3. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla extract and any food coloring in a large, completely clean, completely grease-free bowl.
4. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment), stir on medium-low speed until mixture becomes foamy and holds soft peaks. Slowly increase speed to high.
5. With mixer on high, slowly and gradually pour in 1 tablespoon of superfine sugar at a time, beating for at least 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the bowl as necessary, until the sugar is dissolved.
6. Beat until mixture is thick, shiny, and has increased in volume. Mixture should have stiff peaks and sugar should be completely dissolved (you can test this by rubbing a small bit of the mixture between your fingers, if it feels gritty, keep on beating until the sugar is completely dissolved).
7. Transfer meringue to prepared piping bag and pipe onto prepared cookie sheet. The meringue cookies won’t spread, so they can be piped pretty close to each other - you will want to bake all of the cookies at the same time, so make sure you make enough space.
8. Bake on 225F for 1 hour (or if baking in convection oven at 200F for 45 minutes) – meringues are done when they release easily from the parchment paper – test by trying to lift a single cookie from the edge of the pan). Turn off the oven once the baking time has passed, and do not open the oven. Leave the oven door closed and allow cookies to cool completely in the oven (1-2 hours) before removing.
9. TO DIP OR DRIZZLE WITH CHOCOLATE: Stir together chocolate and vegetable shortening and melt according to package directions (in microwave, double boiler or in a Wilton Chocolate Melting Pot). Stir and when completely smooth, peel individual meringues off parchment paper. Dip in chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Alternatively, you can drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the meringue cookies.
10. Meringue cookies should be crisp and can be stored in an airtight container. Keep away from heat and moisture as it can soften your meringues.
FLAVORS & VARIATIONS:
White Marshmallow: Use pure vanilla extract for flavor.
Chocolate Meringues: Sift 2 teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder through a fine-mesh sieve and whisk together with 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar that has been reserved from the recipe amount. After your meringue has reached stiff peaks, slowly fold in the remaining sugar & cocoa mixture with a spatula gently but thoroughly.
Espresso & Dark Chocolate Meringues: Whisk 1 teaspoon of espresso powder into the superfine sugar before adding to the egg whites. After baking, dip bottoms in melted dark chocolate.
Mint Chocolate Meringues: Add ½ teaspoon of Pure Peppermint Extract. Add ½ teaspoon of Pure Peppermint Extract to dark dipping chocolate too!
Chocolate Chip Meringues: After your meringue has reached stiff peaks, slowly fold in 1/3 cup mini-chocolate chips.
Candy Cane Meringues: Add ¼ teaspoon Pure Peppermint Extract, paint stripes in your piping bag with streaks of red gel food coloring. Optional: Dip the baked and cooled meringues in dark chocolate and then immediately dip in crushed peppermint candy canes.
Champagne Meringues: Replace vanilla extract with 2 teaspoons of fresh champagne before adding your superfine sugar. Before baking, sprinkle tops of meringue cookies with gold or silver sparkles or sparkling sugar. These are really cute if you drop one into a glass of champagne just before serving on New Year’s Eve!
Christmas Tree Meringues: Add 6 to 8 drops of green food coloring. Using a star tip, pipe straight up into a tree shape. Sprinkle top and edges of each meringue with colorful non-pareils sprinkles before baking.
YIELD: About 48 cookies
TIPS & TRICKS:
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