This recipe is from the cookbook I co-authored with Jennifer Evans Gardner, MERINGUE (Gibbs Smith, August 2012). These delicate red and white striped meringues remind us of candy canes on Christmas morning. Have plenty of these cloud-like cookies sitting in pretty candy dishes to serve when friends drop by. —Linda K. Jackson
large eggwhites, room temperature
cream of tartar
peppermint extract (or more if you prefer a stronger mint taste)
Red gel food paste (do not substitute liquid food coloring)
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to medium and add powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time. When all the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and gently scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula since the powdered sugar tends to fly up and cling to the sides. Turn mixer back on and continue beating on high until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in peppermint extract.
To create the candy cane stripes, you’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a couplet and large open star tip, and a small, clean fine tipped paintbrush. Along the inside of the star tip, paint 4 or 5 thin red food coloring stripes, spaced evenly apart. Fill the bag with half of the meringue and pipe cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheets. (As the meringue moves through the tip, it picks up the red stripes.) When the bag is empty, remove the star tip from the couplet and wipe off the inside of the tip. Repaint the stripes, reattach the tip, add the rest of the meringue to the pastry bag and continue piping. Bake for 90 minutes. Turn off heat and leave meringues in the oven for one additional hour or more to dry. Cool completely before carefully removing from baking sheets.