Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 8: Chocolate-Peppermint Meringue Kisses

Its Day 8 of my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies posts, and today is another non-traditional cookie day. Believe it or not, I have never made meringues before. I saw these in my reader, and knew instantly that I would be trying my hand at meringues this year.

These little bites look way more intimidating than they actually are, and you can simplify the recipe more if you want to. I really liked the red&white striped look, but you could make all red or all white. To get the stripe, paint 3 lines of food coloring (I used Wilton gel) up the sides of your pastry bag before filling it with the meringue. Piping each meringue out really doesn't take long at all (but I did have to run and buy a 1/2" star tip, as the one I had was too small). The time consuming part really was dipping each meringue in chocolate and peppermint candy. You could easily skip that part if you wanted to - the meringue bites are quite tasty without those additions!

The Beantown Baker has a lot more pictures in her post if you need more of a step-by-step tutorial. (I forgot to take any pics along the way, plus it was dark out and the lighting in my kitchen makes everything really yellow.)
Chocolate-Peppermint Meringue Kisses
from Beantown Baker, originally from Better Homes and Gardens
Yield: ~100 meringues

4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup milk chocolate pieces (I used Nestle chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon shortening
1-1/4 cups crushed striped round peppermint candies* (about 50 candies) - (I used 4 candy canes, and ran out - so you will need more than 4 candy canes worth)

Place egg whites in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside.

For meringue: Add salt, vinegar, and peppermint extract to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer (I used the whisk attachment on my Kitchenaid) on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar is nearly dissolved. **Be sure to be patient and add the sugar slowly. If you are not patient enough, your meringue may have a grainy texture.

Transfer meringue to a decorating bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. To achieve striped cookies, paint 3 stripes equally spaced up the sides of the empty bag with red gel coloring. Pipe 1-inch kisses 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake all of the meringue kisses at the same time on separate oven racks for 7 minutes. Turn off oven; let meringues dry in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Lift meringues off paper or foil. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.

In a small saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and shortening (I microwaved mine). Cook and stir over low heat just until melted. Remove from heat. Spread crushed candy in a shallow dish. Dip bottoms of meringues in chocolate, then dip in crushed candies. Place on waxed paper and let stand until chocolate is set.
These are definitely a hit. I love how the meringue melts in your mouth, and the chocolate peppermint bottom is a nice change in texture. I ate a bunch of these - the first few out of the bag were all white, plus it took me a few to get the hang of piping good looking kisses. They were good even without the chocolate and peppermint, so you could definitely simplify the recipe if you wanted to. I think I will make these next year again - in addition to being tasty, they look so interesting!

1 comment:

  1. Yours look great. I agree that these look very intimidating, but they're not too hard.