My goodness, things are looking a bit more like Christmas around here. We actually bought our tree and it’s even IN the house. Currently it has one strand of lights pathetically dangling from the top branches–plugged in, even! And there are the requisite boxes of decorations piled around it. But that’s all part of the holiday “fun” that we grownups just love so much, isn’t it?
Frankly, I’d rather be making holiday magic in the kitchen. I love the way it makes my house smell. I love the way my daughter’s eyes sparkle when I invite her to join me. And I love the happy sighs when our friends and neighbors taste our efforts.
Among my favorite treats to make are things with chocolate and peppermint, and these candy-striped meringues were a spectacular addition to my holiday lineup. Adapted from a recipe in this month’s Sunset Magazine, they are crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside…almost like a Pavlova. White chocolate chips (I called and confirmed that Nestle Classic White Chips are naturally gluten free and made on equipment that is NOT shared with things made with wheat, rye, oats or barley) add richness, while chunks of candy cane make them the loveliest shade of pink. I dipped some of them in melted dark chocolate chips and all I have to say about that is–oh yes.
I am completely in love with these cookies. Their crisp exterior buckles under the tooth to reveal a tender, pillowy center. They remind me of the dish of soft mints my mom would set out during Christmas parties. They're like chocolate dipped clouds.
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup GF white chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely crushed peppermint candies
- 1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer (using a whisk attachment if you have one) until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and salt and with the motor running on high speed, pour in 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat 10 to 15 seconds, repeat until all the sugar has been added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 15 seconds. The meringue should form stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted. Carefully fold in the white chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of peppermint candies.
- Spoon mixture into a gallon-sized freezer bag and snip off 1/2 an inch from one of the bottom corners. Twist the top shut. Pipe one-inch rounds onto prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1' apart. Sprinkle meringues with the remaining peppermint candies. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until they feel dry to the touch, switching the baking pans halfway through baking. Turn oven off, and open the door and let cookies stand for 10 minutes. Cool on pans.
- Place bittersweet chocolate chips in a small microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. If necessary, microwave them for an additional 30 seconds. Stir until all the chips are melted. Dip the bottoms of the meringues in the chocolate and place on waxed paper. Allow at least 1 hour to set. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.