Sunday, December 11, 2011

Candy Cane Meringue

All the holiday baking photo sharing going on around the interwebs had me feeling like maybe I oughta try something new in the Christmas baking department. I LOVE making holiday cookies. I love making the ones with a bazillion ingredients that turn out looking amazing. I love making really simple cut-outs with my kids and letting them go hog wild with icing and sprinkles. I consider myself to be a pretty good baker... mostly because I really LIKE to do it. I think that makes a big difference.

Also? I'm a recipe FOLLOWER.

Yeah, I like to change things up every once in a while but... you really ought to know what you're doing when you do that. I have a friend who tried to make chili once but, she was out of tomato paste so... she used ketchup. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how that turned out. Gag-o-matic!

I don't want to be that girl!

I've also been cooking my way through Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. I love them. I don't like them. I LOVE them. They're really fun... really interesting... and really HELPFUL when it comes to trying new things. Whether you're an accomplished cook... or totally don't know what you're doing in the kitchen... they're fabulous. Go get one... you'll see I'm right! He said that meringue was easy. But I've SEEN meringue... it's light... it's fluffy... if you blow on it too hard, it'll shatter. I thought Jamie Oliver was full of crap. (On just that ONE thing! Please forgive me for doubting you St. Jamie!)

I didn't try his recipe for meringue. I skipped that page. Cooked right on past it. But it's always been in the back of my brain...taunting me.

 This week, my buddy was having a Christmas cookie exchange and I was digging thru another cookbook (Pillsbury Christmas 2010) when I saw a recipe for Candy Cane Meringue... and I knew I had to give it a whirl. I'd already made a bunch of other cookies so, I figured "If these are awful, no one will know but me!" Usually meringue sort of just looks like blobs... pretty, sort of frosting-star-like blobs. This recipe called for piping the meringue out into candy can shapes instead! They're so cute!

Seriously... cute right?
So, it turns out that Jamie Oliver isn't a big fat liar and meringue actually IS really easy! I'm sharing the recipe with you so you can make your own!! (I altered the original recipe slightly by adding more sugar. It makes the meringue a little more stiff and it's easier to form the shapes that you want to make. I also used some different tools than the recipe recommended.)

Candy Cane Meringue

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 Cup of sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
red or pink food coloring


Heat your oven to 200 degrees and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. (Yes, you could use foil but, that changes how meringue will bake. Do yourself a favor and get parchment paper. It's not expensive and it's a million time better than foil when it comes to baking!)

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until it's very foamy. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, while beating with the mixer until the meringue is stiff and glossy. (It'll almost look like marshmallow fluff!)

Beat in the peppermint extract. (You may need to add a little more sugar to stiffen the meringue back up after you add the extract. Sometimes the alcohol in extract can deflate it a little.)

The recipe called for using a decorator bag with a 1/4 in. star tip. I used a Pampered Chef product called an Easy Accent Decorator because I don't have a decorator bag. When I've absolutely needed one before, I've just used a gallon size resealable bag with a corner cut off. I opted for the decorator because it has different decorative tips and it's really easy to use. I don't love all PC products but, I've used this thing more than I can count and it's awesome. (And nobody paid me to say that... it's just the truth.)

Using a small paint brush, paint 4 or 5 evenly spaced red stripes on the inside of whatever you're using to pipe the meringue. Make sure that you paint from the upper end of the bag all the way to the tip. I used a food coloring gel (versus the liquid drops) and it worked really well when it came to painting those stripes!

Use a spoon to fill the bag (or decorator or whatever!) really carefully. Don't rush it and mess up your pretty stripes! Pipe 2.5 inch candy canes onto the lined cookie sheets. Bake them for about an hour or until they are dry but NOT BROWN!

Start to finish, this whole process takes about an hour and 20 minutes. And it makes 42 candy canes!

They are so yummy! So light... really minty and refreshing! If you've never had meringue before... it's sort of similar to eating cotton candy. It melts in your mouth and is sort of like eating flavored air! They're less of a cookie and more of a candy.

I can't say that these are great for mailing... meringue would shatter in the shipping process for SURE! But they're fabulous for taking to a holiday party! The RiceCakes LOVE them and so does their Daddy! I think tomorrow, I'm gonna melt one in my coffee! YUM!

Give 'em a whirl! These were the first ones I've ever made and it was so much easier than I thought it would be.

Candy Cane Meringue Wreath anyone?

10 comments:

  1. It's a really cute idea. Do we definitely need a electric mixer?

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  2. @Maryann's Mama Tales... When I say "electric mixer", I mean the hand-held kind... not the stand mixers. And I would DEFINITELY use one of those instead of trying to whisk the meringue myself. Doing it by hand will take longer AND, unless you've got gnarly arm muscles, it'll seriously wear your arm out. Most of the time, when you're baking, you can just mix stuff by hand but, this is one instance where you DEFINITELY should use an electric mixer!
    Thanks for stopping by!!! I hope you'll try making some of these! They're so easy!

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  3. If I'm trying to recreate something, then I tend to follow a recipe the first time around, but rarely to the letter after that. And with all the gluten/casein free cooking we do, both DH & I tend to cook from the hip. We've been fortunate to not have many disasters. It really helps that Hubs does a lot of the cooking...at least, it helps me! ;> :>

    But, those merengues look delish!!! While I love meringues, I've never made them. Bet you and the kids are having a blast with all your holiday fun! :>

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  4. I will totally be making these. I'm going to have a lot of time to myself over break so I think it'll a new treat every day!

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  5. @Karen... I'm totally with ya on the following directions the first time around. ALWAYS a good idea!
    We're having so much fun. Betcha you guys are too!

    @Ms. Megan... Seriously, SO easy and omg delish!! You'll love 'em!

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  6. I've never have tried to make these before. This recipe seems super simper. I may just need to add it to my to do baking list. :)

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  7. Um! I love making that as cookies. So delish!

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  8. @Amber... they're SO simple! You can totally do it!

    @Carri... They're super yummy with coffee too! Mocha + peppermint meringue = AWESOME

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  9. Those look awesome! I haven't tried any of his recipes, but I may have to now. I like instructions too when it comes to cooking.

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  10. @Rach... Seriously, I LOVE his cookbooks! They're my favorite! LOTS of pictures. LOTS of instructions and background. It's almost like reading a story inside of a cookbook. I LOVE that! Plus, I've never made a recipe of his that I didn't like. Ever. Not one thing is gross. My KIDS love it ALL!

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