"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Dancing the Peppermint Meringue

by Julie on December 6, 2011

in Holiday Hell, Sweet!

red dye and Alice

red dye and Alice

The first weekend in December. Time to put up the lights, buy the tree, start the shopping and commence the daydreaming about what you might get around to baking for people. I say might for two reasons.

I might have the best of intentions —  I do get the baking jones come December — but they might not come out looking picture perfect.  Secondly, I might be able to pull off certain recipes … provided I have enough lead time to practice.

Hence this attempt at peppermint meringues.

You laugh. I hear you. But I made them. And they weren’t bad at all. For a first attempt. You MIGHT even like them. If you aren’t wedded to the idea of keeping your fillings, I mean.

I normally don’t attempt recipes I find in glossy magazines, but for whatever reason the peppermint meringues on the cover of this month’s Bon Appetit were winking at me. They didn’t seem to be too complicated either. And hey, I had some time. And hey, it was the holidays. And…hey?

Here’s what I did before I started:


Farfelle and sauce

first, placate the children

I hoped that by feeding the nits I would be left alone to concentrate for an hour or so. It worked for a little while.  Imagine that.

Then I arranged the ingredients: They were:

3 large egg whites, room temp.
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
12 drops red food coloring


sugar and powdered sugar

Sugar, two kinds

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Get your pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip (or use a gallon Ziploc bag with a small snip cut out of the end. Thank God I had a pastry bag. Can you imagine?)

Using an electric mixer (I used my hand mixer fine) beat the egg whites and salt on medium high speed until they’re white and foamy, about 1 minute. Still mixing, add the regular sugar in three parts, beating for about two minutes between each addition. Keep going until peaks form, about 2 minutes longer.

Here’s where two different playdates arrived at the door and rang the bell, which the kids, sitting there in the front room, apparently couldn’t hear. Food coma? Anyway, I had to stop in the middle and answer the door, exchange pleasantries, and hurry back to finish whipping.

Add powdered sugar and the peppermint extract. Beat an additional minute to blend. It might look like this:

Is this a "stiff peak?"

Or yours might look better. Probably yours will look better. I don’t honestly know what a stiff peak of meringue is supposed to look like.

Dot the mixture with your 12 drops of food coloring, thusly:

red food coloring in meringe

The look of peppermint

That’s fun. But now comes the messy hard part.

The recipe says don’t stir this together as it will blend when you put it into your pastry bag. But how to get this into a pastry bag neatly? I think it’s a trick question. This was by far the hardest part of the whole process. I tried glopping it in with a wooden spoon, a spatula, even a kitchen spoon. None of these implements seemed to work effectively, and as I tried to push the meringue down into the bag closer to the exit it would squish out from top over my fingers.

It's not working

I stopped fighting it and let half the meringue splooch over the top while squeezing the rest down to the bottom, where, surprise surprise, I was able to make these:

Do the meringue

Bake these for 2 and a half hours. Yes, now you have time to go deal with the kids, who are now all outside playing happily by themselves.  Take a shower. Read the paper. Vacuum. Something.

Maybe clean up after yourself?

And for God’s sake don’t forget you’ve got something in the oven. It’s not like these are aromatic or anything.

Remove from the oven and let cool for an hour before touching them.

Here’s what they look like on the cover on Bon Appetit:

Think they're airbrushed?

Mine looked not quite as good:

a home made peppermint meringue

An honest effort

But really, who cares? I made my first ever meringues. Peppermint ones! Whee!

A bonus? They save for a few days in Tupperware…

meringues in Tupperware

Until the kids find where you hid them...


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marisa Mendoza December 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I will be sending you my dentist bill. Ha…Ha… They’re very pretty and kids adore the sugary goodness. Bravo!


Loooooooooookie December 6, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Brilliant. And, yes, the ones on the cover of Bon Appetit are airbrushed. Probably silicon-enhanced as well. Far too pert, if you ask me.


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