Editor’s Note: Co-founder and executive pastry chef of Pizzana in Los Angeles and Sprinkles Cupcakes, Candace Nelson, knows a thing or two about sugar. And for our Sweets theme, she’s delved into her memory for a little something special to commemorate the holiday season.
Meringues always remind me of my mother and my childhood. She first taught me how to make them when my family was living in Indonesia. I was immediately smitten by their crisp exterior and slightly chewy interior—even though the humidity made them a challenge to perfect. There’s something really magical about how such simple ingredients can come together to create such a delicacy. This version features peppermint, one of my favorite flavors to work with during the holiday season.
Yields 24 meringues
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup granulated or superfine sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- Red food gel for piping (optional)
- Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and vinegar until foamy, 1 minute.
- Add half the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, then add the vanilla and peppermint extract. Add the remaining sugar ¼ cup at a time and beat until the sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks form, 5 minutes total.
- Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the salt.
- Using a spoon, portion 1 heaping tablespoon of meringue at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 3 inches apart.
- Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip. For stripes of color, turn bag inside out and brush on stripes of red food gel with a small paintbrush. Carefully turn it back and fill with meringue. Pipe “kisses” on baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.
- Place in the oven and turn off the oven.
- Leave the cookies in the oven for 5 hours; they will develop a crisp shell and tender, slightly chewy interior.