Peppermint Meringue Kisses

Looking for a holiday cookie you wont feel terrible eating 10 of? Here it is. Not that it’s healthy, it’s just not full of fudge and butter and flour…

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Ever since half of my baking became dairy free (because of my kosher job) I’ve become fascinated by merigues. They can be absolutely beautiful, and they taste like a perfectly crispy marshmallow… But they’re so sturdy, holding their shape through 2 and a half hours of heat… Eggs are amazing.

This recipe was inspired by my mom’s baked alaska – an annual treat in our home. As a kid (and presently) I was amazed when my mom took ice cream out of the oven and it wasn’t a puddle of cream. Instead of icecream in these meringues, I used hershey’s chocolate kisses that completely maintain their shape throughout baking.

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I learned recently why meringue is such an amazing insulator – it is made of thousands and thousands of tiny bubbles. Every air bubble (full of still air) slows down the transfer of heat to whatever is inside the meringue. Maybe this summer I’ll try covering some fudgesicles with meringue… Why dont people do this kind of thing more on Chopped and Iron Chef and Sweet Genius?!

Peppermint Meringue Kisses
About 40 hershey’s kisses (use any kind you like!)
3 eggs whites
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp peppermint extract
Red food coloring

Unfortunately I didn’t take progress photos for you all this week… Shame on me. But this recipe is very straight forward and fun! If you haven’t had a lot of experience with a piping bag this is a great time to practice your swirls.

1. Unwrap all your hershey’s kisses and place them an inch and a half away from eachother on a lined baking sheet. Keep extras on hand, depending on the size of your eggs you might have more meringue.

2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and start beating the egg whites on medium high until they just start to get foamy, then add the cream of tartar.

3. Slowly start adding in the sugar and beat until almost stiff peaks.

4. Add the extract and beat until stiff peaks form.

5. Prepare your piping bag with a big star tip. Now for the swirls of color… Stop the mixer and just dot the food coloring on top of the meringue, do not stir! Transfer the meringue to the piping bag, as you pipe the food coloring will swirl into the meringue, so easy!

6. Pipe a swirl around each hershey kiss, make sure you can’t see any chocolate – remember we are insulating these little guys!

7. Pop them in the oven for 2.5 hours, then turn off the oven but leave them inside to dry out further. Take them out within 2 hours… But no rush.

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These are wondful light cookies to have with coffee, hot cocoa or tea… But keep them away from your furry friends!

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