Next up in our 12 Tastes of Christmas series: The most drool-worthy chocolate-dipped peppermint meringues, brought to us by one of my favorite food bloggers & cookbook authors, Shauna Sever. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Shauna in person last week when I was in San Francisco, and she was every bit as warm, sweet and funny in person as she is on her charming blog (if you haven’t already, hop on over ’cause it is brimming with holiday baking inspo!) So excited that she stopped by to share this recipe that’s perfect for gift giving…though, I might eat them all before they had a chance to get wrapped up. Take it away, Shauna! 

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It’s here, everyone! High holiday baking season. And really, I couldn’t be more thrilled about the whole thing. Truthfully, there’s never really a time during which my baking compulsion is quelled, per se (save the one week of actual summer weather we get in my city of San Francisco each year), but come November, just look out, people. Because the flour and sugar is flying and sweets treats are marching out of my kitchen with a Macy’s parade-level fervor. Aww, yeah. 

Part of the ramp-up of baking has to do with some unknown force that swirls through my brain once it’s legitmate sweater weather around here, but the other reason is my intense love of the edible holiday gift. Call me totally Midwestern (and you’d be right on that account), but there’s something special about the edible gift that makes it always on point for all recipients. It brings joy, it’s got soul, and most importantly it kind of blows minds and makes people think you’re a Martha-level genius.  

I’m going to have another great edible gift idea here for you in a couple weeks, but for now, let’s focus on these deceptively simple Chocolate-Peppermint Meringues, which look way more fancy and complicated to make than they really are. The stripes are made by simply painting a few lines of red coloring inside of a piping bag before you load it up with the meringue. The slick of bittersweet chocolate here just brings these minty little gems to the next elegant level. 

Style meets substance meets a most excellent way to satisfy a holiday sweet tooth, all with a flavor combination that screams holiday perfection. 

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringues

Makes about 4-5 dozen, depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites (about 4 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Red gel food coloring
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
Instructions:
  1. Position the oven rack to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Sift together 2 tablespoons of the superfine sugar, the confectioners’ sugar, and the flour into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the whip attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Whip first on medium speed, gradually increasing the speed to high, until the egg whites reach soft peaks. Gradually rain in the remaining superfine sugar. Continue to whip until the meringue is glossy and holds a very stiff peak. Beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer. With a large spatula, gently and carefully fold in the remaining sugar mixture by hand in three additions, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.
  5. On the inside of a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, use a long, thin paint brush to paint four or five long stripes of food coloring up the sides of the bag. Carefully transfer the meringue to the piping bag, aiming for the center of the bag as much as possible to avoid smudging the stripes. Pipe out the meringue into cookies about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Place both sheets into the oven at once, and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 200 degrees. Bake until the cookies are completely firm and dry, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely.
  7. Melt the chocolate chips on a double boiler or in the microwave on high power in 30 second intervals until smooth, stirring after each interval. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. when the chocolate has cooled and set (the refrigerator can speed up this process considerably), remove the cookies from the sheets and store in airtight containers at cool room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

*To make superfine sugar, take regular granulated sugar for a spin in a clean coffee grinder or food processor fitted with the steel blade.

**When you add the peppermint extract, the minty fragrance and flavor may seem a bit overpowering, but it will be tempered by adding the remaining sugar mixture, and some of its minty power will bake off during the long baking time, too.

***Gel food coloring is available at any good baking supply store and many craft stores. It’s much thicker and much more intense in color than the liquid food coloring sold in supermarkets.You can forgo the jazzy striping altogether and just beat in a touch of festive food coloring with the extracts if you prefer.

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