Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringue Cookies
We love these chocolate-dipped meringue cookies under just about any circumstances. They're flavorful and festive, and that's enough assets for any cookie. But they're an especially great option if you're looking to fulfill some special dietary needs: they're gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, and low-calorie.
Once completely dry, meringue cookies keep well in an airtight container for several weeks — think mason jars and cellophane bags — so they also make great little gifts.
How to make meringue cookies
Here's something we love about meringue cookies: they look a little bit fancy and special, but boy, they're easy to make. You'll whip up egg whites, confectioner's sugar, a couple of natural ingredients to help stabilize the meringues, and a couple of flavorings (hellooo, chocolate and peppermint). You'll scoop the shiny batter into a piping bag and pipe out beautiful little kisses of meringue onto a couple of lined baking sheets. You'll set them in a low, slow oven and walk away for three hours. And then you'll simply dip them in rich melted chocolate.
A festive meringue cookie recipe
A combination of chocolate and peppermint extracts give these meringue cookies a terrific Christmasy flavor. And the easiest trick in the book — painting a few stripes of red gel food coloring inside the piping bag with a skewer or thin paint brush — creates these lovely, swirly, peppermint-forward lines.
Meringue recipe protips
This meringue recipe calls for a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar and two teaspoons of cornstarch. You won't notice these ingredients in the final product, but they both help make a great cookie. The vinegar's acid helps to strengthen the structure of the egg whites, much like adding a bit of vinegar to cooking water helps make great poached eggs.
The cornstarch prevents the cookies from weeping moisture after baking as meringues sometimes do. This is especially important for the extended shelf life of meringue cookies.
When beating the meringue, be sure to follow the directions in the recipe. Beat the egg whites alone first until they form soft peaks, and then add the first half of the sugar gradually. After you've added all the ingredients, continue beating until the meringue is structured enough to hold its shape when piped.
Finally, don't forget to make lemon curd with your four perfect leftover yolks!
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature if possible
- 2 cups (255 grams) confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract
- Red gel food dye
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 175°F with two racks close to the center. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the egg whites in a large metal bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium until very foamy and then on high until soft peaks form, meaning that if you lift the beaters out of the egg whites, the tip of the peak that forms folds softly back onto itself but doesn’t collapse entirely.
- With the mixer running at medium speed, gradually add half the sugar. Beat on high until white and glossy (it will look like marshmallow fluff).
- Stop mixer and add remaining sugar all at once. Sprinkle cornstarch, vinegar, salt, and peppermint and chocolate extracts overtop. Beat again until mixture has enough structure to hold its shape when piped. This will take several minutes, maybe five to seven, depending on your mixer.
- Fit a large piping bag with a star tip. Using a skewer or a small paintbrush, paint three thin lines of red gel food dye onto the inside of the piping bag, starting from the tip and going about halfway up the bag. You don’t really have to do a good job of this at all for the effect to work, so don’t stress about it.
- Use a rubber spatula to transfer meringue from bowl into piping bag and twist the top to close.
- Pipe bite-sized meringues (about an inch and a half in diameter) onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, leaving an inch or so of space between them.
- Bake for about three hours, until dry and crisp.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Keep the parchment-lined baking sheets available.
- When meringues are cool, melt chocolate chips. You can do this in a double-boiler or in the microwave in short bursts, stirring in between, until just melted.
- Dip the bottom of each kiss into the chocolate and set on parchment until dry.
- Once completely dry, kisses store well in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. Mason jars and cellophane gift bags work well for gifting!
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