Light and airy Peppermint Meringues are dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy canes. The perfect festive cookie for a Christmas cookie exchange!
Table of Contents
A Crisp, Cloud-Like Christmas Treat!
Christmas cookies are one of my very favorite baking projects. This wonderful time of year gets even more wonderful when you add all kinds of crisp, chewy, chocolate-dipped, sprinkled, and frosted cookie creations! Meringue cookies are especially festive, with their light-as-air texture and light, sugary taste. Plus, they’re naturally gluten-free.
These peppermint meringues take things up a notch, adding a light chocolate coating and a pretty candy-cane sprinkle. Everyone will adore these cute, candy-like cookies – they always disappear fast. They’re simple to make, as well, which is great for a busy baker!
What Does Meringue Taste Like?
Meringue is known for its light, delicately sweet flavor and texture, but meringue cookies are a bit sweeter than plain meringue. The baking process removes water from the meringue, and the resulting dried meringue tastes a bit more intense. However, the overall taste is still light and not overpowering. With a fresh candy cane crunch and chocolate accent, they’re utterly irresistible.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
There are two main components to this recipe, each with a short list of ingredients. Let’s take a closer look at what you’ll need to make homemade peppermint meringues:
For the Meringues
- Egg Whites: Separate the whites from 4 large eggs, and have them at room temperature before you start baking.
- Cream of Tartar: This ingredient is usually sold on the same aisle and in the same section as spices and seasonings. It is actually a stabilizing ingredient that helps meringue whip up higher and stay fluffy longer – don’t skip it!
- Caster Sugar: This extra-fine sugar is less coarse and grainy than regular white sugar, but it’s not as fine as powdered sugar. It’s perfect for meringues because it dissolves easily in egg whites. If you can’t find caster sugar in stores, you can order it online. And yes, you can use regular granulated sugar instead, but there is a chance that it might leave your meringues with a slightly grainy texture.
- Peppermint Extract: Peppermint Extract is not the same as peppermint oil, so be careful – you can substitute oil for extract, but keep in mind that peppermint oil is about four times stronger!
- White Chocolate and Semisweet Chocolate: Melt these in separate bowls for dipping or drizzling.
- Crushed Candy Canes: You can easily crush these by placing a few in a zip-top bag, and using a rolling pin or the bottom of a saucepan to crush.
Let’s Make Meringues!
The process for making meringue might seem intimidating, but it’s actually pretty simple to do. If you’ve never made meringues, I recommend reading through the steps a couple of times so you are familiar before you get started.
- Start Whipping the Egg Whites. To get started, preheat your oven to 225°F (not 325°F) and line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment. Then, get started on beating the egg whites. Add the room-temperature egg whites to the bowl of your stand mixer, and fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
- Add Cream of Tartar and Beat to Soft Peaks. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites, and turn the mixer speed to high. Beat for 2 minutes, or until peaks form.
- Add the Sugar and Beat to Stiff Peaks. This part takes a little time. You’ll need to turn down the mixer speed to medium again, and add the sugar tablespoon by tablespoon. After each tablespoonful, let the mixer run for 20 seconds to completely dissolve the sugar. It’s also important to scrape down the sides of the bowl now and then so everything gets fully incorporated. By the time you are done, the egg whites should have formed stiff, glossy peaks.
- Add the Peppermint Extract. Last of all, add the peppermint extract to the egg whites, and mix just a few times to blend the peppermint in. Don’t beat too long, or the stiff peaks will begin to lose air and deflate.
- Pipe the Meringues. Use a spoon or a rubber spatula to gently fill a piping bag with meringue. (The bag should be fitted with a closed star or swirl tip.) Pipe your meringue cookies on the parchment-lined baking sheets, keeping them about one inch apart.
- Bake! Slide the baking sheets into the preheated oven, and let them bake for about an hour. Then turn off the oven, but don’t open the oven door. Just leave the meringues in the oven to slowly cool down for an hour and a half.
- Test the Meringues. Take out one meringue and test it for texture. If it is still chewy in the middle, you can leave the baking sheets in the oven for another hour (or more) until they have dried more. Once the meringues have the right texture, take them out and let them cool completely.
- Decorate. Once the meringues are fully cooled dip or drizzle them with white and/or dark chocolate, and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Let them sit until the chocolate dries and hardens.
- Enjoy! Serve the meringues immediately, or store them for another time!
Should Meringues Be Chewy or Crunchy?
You’ll find as many opinions about this as you will find people who, well, like meringue! Everyone has an ideal meringue texture, from nougat-like to dry and crisp to the very center. It’s really up to you, and tweaking the texture is very simple. For a softer meringue, let them bake longer. For a chewier meringue, bake them for less time. I prefer mine on the less chewy side, and this recipe reflects that, but feel free to make them to your liking!
How Do I Know If I Have Stiff Peaks?
So, in this recipe, we talk about soft peaks and stiff peaks. To decide what stage your meringue peaks are at, pop the whisk attachment off of your mixer and pull it out of the egg white mixture. Turn the attachment upside down and watch the egg whites.
- Soft Peaks: If you turn the attachment upside down, and the egg whites hold their shape for a second but then sink back down softly, then you have soft peaks.
- Firm Peaks: If you turn the attachment upside down, and the egg whites mostly hold their shapes but the tips still sink down, then you have firm peaks.
- Stiff Peaks: If you turn the attachment upside down and the shape of the egg whites stays stiffly in place without sinking down, you have stiff peaks.
Want more meringue advice and tips? These are my best pieces of advice for crafting light, airy peppermint meringue cookies. Check them out:
- Metal Cookware: For best results, always use metal bowls and beaters – and be sure they are squeaky clean before making meringues. Any little bit of oil or other residue can spoil the meringue.
- No Foil: Never pipe meringues on foil, always use parchment paper. They will slide right off the parchment paper, but stick to foil.
- No Yolks: Be very careful when you separate the eggs. If you let any egg yolk get into your egg whites, it will keep the whites from whipping up properly. I recommend separating the eggs one by one into a small bowl. If you are successful and the white separates cleanly from the yolk, go ahead and put that egg white into your mixing bowl. If you aren’t successful, then you can discard that egg white without spoiling the ones in your mixer.
- Adding the Sugar: Make sure you add the sugar slowly, beating well in between each addition.
- Use a Mixer: I really don’t recommend trying to beat egg whites by hand, always use a mixer (hand or stand mixer). You need that extra speed and the air that gets into your whites with a mixer.
To keep your meringue cookies fresh and perfect, make sure to store them at room temperature in an airtight container. They will be good for about two weeks. If you stack multiple layers of meringue cookies, you may want to place a sheet of parchment between the layers.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes, you can freeze meringues. Make sure they are completely cool before freezing, and make sure the container and any parchment inside is completely dry – moisture can spoil the meringues and make them mushy. Seal them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
For the Meringues
- 6 oz melted white chocolate
- 6 oz melted semisweet chocolate
- ½ cup crushed candy canes
- Preheat oven to 225°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Add egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
- Add in cream of tartar and increase speed to high, beating for 2 more minutes, until peaks form.
- On medium speed, slowly add in the sugar in 1 tablespoon increments, letting it mix for 20 seconds between each addition. Stop and scrape the sides occasionally to make sure sugar is fully incorporated. Repeat with remaining sugar, beating until stiff and glossy peaks form.
- Add in peppermint extract, mixing until just incorporated. (If you mix too long, the meringue will deflate.)
- Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a closed star/swirl attachment. Pipe meringues 1” apart on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven for another 90 minutes. If the centers are still chewy, you can leave them in the oven for another 1+ hours to dry out. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Once cooled, you can dip or drizzle the meringues with white or dark chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Let sit until chocolate is set, then enjoy!
- Store meringues in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 14 days.
- Always use metal bowls and beaters and be sure they are squeaky clean before making meringues to guarantee good results.
- Never put meringues on foil, always use parchment paper. They will slide right off the parchment paper but stick to foil.
- Never let any egg yolk get into your egg whites. If you do get some egg yolk in your whites, start over again. Yolk will make the egg whites not stiffen properly.
- Make sure you add the sugar slowly, beating well in between each addition.
- Don't try to beat egg whites by hand, always use a mixer (hand or stand mixer). You need that extra speed and the air that gets into your whites with a mixer.
- Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
- Gingerdoodle Cookies
- White Chocolate Dipped Gingersnap Cookies
- Peppermint Oreo Truffle Balls
- Christmas Gingerbread Man Cookies
- Danish Butter Cookies
- Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Butterscotch Haystacks
- Peanut Butter Pretzel Crockpot Candy
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.