December 6, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Chocolate-Peppermint Meringue Kisses )

Are you ready to get back to business?
The business of Christmas cookies, that is.

Or Holiday cookies, or December cookies, or Because-It's-Tuesday cookies.  
Far be it from me to limit your cookie experience.  You should make 
cookies for whatever reason you can come up with to eat cookies.

But I'm making them for Christmas.

And because you had to wait a whole week between days two and three of this cookie spectacular, while I worked off an epic turkey coma and finished all my Christmas shopping, today I'm giving you the most Christmas-ey Christmas cookie ever.  


It's like Christmas threw up in here.

Wait, no.  Not threw up.  Bad choice of words for a food blog.  No one threw up here.


We can just pretend this paragraph never happened, yes?

If you've never had a meringue, you're in for a treat with these.  Nearly weightless, snow-white meringues are dipped in chocolate (because it's the holidays and that's what we do), and then dredged in Santa-striped crushed peppermints (finely crushed for better eating, coarsely crushed for better presentation).  When you bite into one, the fragile meringue shatters and begins to dissolve on your tongue, leaving you with a mouthful of chocolate and peppermint.

All hail the Christmas cookie.  

Chocolate-Peppermint Meringue Kisses
from Better Homes and Gardens

Egg Whites  [ 4 ]
Salt  [ 1/4 teaspoon ]
Cider Vinegar  [ 1/4 teaspoon ]
Peppermint Extract  [ 1/4 teaspoon ]
Sugar  [ 1 1/3 cups ]
Milk Chocolate Chips  [ 1 cup ]
Shortening  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Striped Round Peppermint Candies  [ such as Starlite Mints, crushed, 1 1/4 cups ]

1.   Place Egg Whites in the bowl of a mixer and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2.   Meanwhile, line 2 very large baking sheets with parchment paper.
3.   Arrange oven racks so that 2 baking sheets can fit into oven at the same time.  Heat oven to 300 degrees.
4.   Place a 1/2-inch star tip on a decorating bag.

5.   Add Salt, Vinegar, and Peppermint Extract to Egg Whites.
6.   Beat on Medium speed until soft peaks form [ when beaters are lifted from mixture, the peak created will 
         mostly hold its shape, but the tip will curl softly downward ].
7.   Increase speed to High and, one tablespoon at a time, add Sugar.  
8.   Beat until stiff peaks form  [ when beaters are lifted from mixture, the peak created completely holds its 
          shape, with an upright tip ].
9.   Using a rubber spatula, gently scrape Meringue into decorating bag.  Depending on size of bag, you may 
         need to do this in shifts.
10.   Pipe Meringue onto baking sheets in 1-inch kisses, spaced 1 inch apart.
11.   When all Meringues are piped onto 2 baking sheets, place both sheets in oven.  Bake 7 minutes.
12.   Turn off oven and allow Meringues to sit in warm oven, with door closed, for 1 hour.
13.   Gently remove Meringues from parchment paper and set on racks to cool.

14.   In a small pot set over simmering water, melt Chocolate Chips and Shortening; stir together 
            thoroughly and remove from heat.
15.   Spread crushed Peppermints on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
16.   Dip bottoms of cooled Meringues in melted Chocolate and then into crushed Peppermints.  Place on 
            waxed paper until set.

Makes about 75 meringues.

How about another little bite?
Espresso Tarts

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