Makes about 5 dozen
Meringue kisses look grand and complicated, but they are actually simple, and require few ingredients. They do take several hours to bake and cool, but that’s time that does not require your attention. Plan to make them at least a day in advance. Beat egg whites and sugar to a stiff meringue and then stir in peppermint extract. For stunning results, paint the inside of a piping bag with red food coloring gel to make streaked kisses. (Best to use thicker edible gels from the baking section of many craft stores.) You’ll need 2 piping bags and plain round tips to do this. Or skip the piping and spoon pillow-y mounds of meringue onto the parchment; they may take a little longer to dry if they’re large. Add a flourish by swirling in a bit of red food coloring or topping them with crushed candy canes.
|4||egg whites, at room temperature|
|¼||teaspoon peppermint extract|
|Red food coloring gel|
1. Set the oven at 175 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; have on hand 2 piping bags, each fitted with a large round tip.
2. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high speed, or until they are light and frothy. Slowly, begin adding sugar. Once the sugar has all been added, turn the mixture up to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the peppermint extract.
4. Fold down the top of one piping bag around your hand. With a food-safe paintbrush, paint 3 to 4 vertical lines of red food coloring inside the bag. Begin as far into the bag as you can and brush straight up to the top.
5. Gently spoon the meringue into the piping bag until it is about ⅔ full. Unfold the collar and twist tightly to close the bag. Holding the bag over a plate, squeeze meringue all the way into the tip. Pipe a few practice kisses or swirls on the plate, until you see that the meringue coming out has been swirled with red. Pipe meringues onto the parchment, leaving about ½ inch between them. When the bag is empty, repeat with the clean bag.
6. Bake for 3 hours or until they are very firm and completely dry. They will not brown. Turn off the oven, and leave the meringues in the oven until they are cool.
7. Store in a loosely covered container in a dry area for 1 to 3 weeks. Karoline Boehm GoodnickKaroline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at email@example.com.