These super easy Peppermint Meringues are light, melt in your mouth and are bursting with peppermint flavour.
I love meringues. I grew up having them as a treat from the bakery when mum was doing the grocery shopping. Those meringues were (and still are) available in an array of pastel colours but I like my swirled versions, like these Massive Chocolate Swirl Meringues and now these easy peppermint meringues. It’s not often I add colouring to my baking but, on this occasion, I felt it was necessary to tell the story and I love how pretty they look.
Crisp on the outside, marshmallow soft on the inside
So, these easy Peppermint Meringues are like candy canes in meringue form. Swirled white and pink crispy shells hide a soft marshamallow centre. They are so delicate and to my eyes, quite ethereal and would look so beautiful sitting in the middle of a dessert table.
The other great thing about these easy Peppermint Meringues is that they are truly easy to make. Meringues are the work of minutes, providing you have an electric beater or a stand mixer. If you have neither of those things then you will just need some very strong arm muscles and patience.
I made two batches at the same time (they really are that quick) and the first batch I made about 1/2 cup of the meringue red (instead of the 2 tablespoons I’ve noted in the recipe). The outsides of those ones had way too much red, hence the second batch where I changed it up, but the inside of those first batch ones was this gorgeous, shocking red. The colour dulls a little on the outside where it’s crispy and dry but on the inside of the meringues, where it’s soft the colour stayed so vibrant. Note: I have NOT increased the colour saturation on this photo below. This is the colour that about 8 drops of gel colouring in 1/2 cup of meringue created.
How to make meringues
Using an electric beater or stand mixer, you just beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. Next you add the cream of tartar (which helps to stabilise the egg whites in baking) and beat again. Now, gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat until the meringue is thick, white and glossy. Finally add the peppermint extract and beat that through too.
To get the swirl effect, you take 2 tablespoons of the meringue mixture and add the colouring. Mix that well then add it back to the white meringue and just give it a couple of stirs through with a metal spoon. No more though as it will mix a little more when you start scooping.
Tips and tricks
- Cream of tartar stabilises the proteins in the egg whites while baking and also assists in the rise. If you don’t have any, you can substitute it with a squeeze of lemon juice or a little vinegar. It’s the acidity that does the trick.
- Try to use real peppermint extract (as opposed to essence). Extract is natural and a much better flavour
- If you don’t like to use colouring, you don’t need to. If you still want the swirl effect, there are many natural flavourings available these days. Or you can make your own using a puree made of beetroot, boiled cranberries or pomegranate syrup. Just type “red food colouring substitute” into a search engine and you’ll be gifted many ideas.
- The baking time in the recipe makes a meringue with a soft marshmallow centre. If you prefer your meringues totally dry, just bake for an extra 15 minutes, then turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven before removing them.
- I find a large ice cream scoop the easiest way to scoop and shape the meringues but you can also use a couple of large spoons – one to scoop and the other to help to push it off onto the baking tray. Or you can use a piping bag.
- Store meringues in an airtight container.
They will keep for at least a week. I’ve heard that meringues freeze well, as well so I’m testing that right now and will be back to update this post with the results.Update 1/01/2018 – after testing, I can confidently say these will keep at least 2 weeks in an airtight container in the pantry. They also freeze extremely well with no noticeable change to the texture. They only take about 5 minutes to thaw at room temperature.
Happy baking 🙂
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- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup 150g caster (superfine) sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Red food colouring gel
- Preheat oven to 140C / 120C fan forced / 285F. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
- to soft peak stage. About 5 minutes.
- Sift over the cream of tartar and beat through. Now add the sugar one tablespoon at a time
- until the egg whites are thick and glossy and at stiff peak stage. Once all the sugar is incorporated, test the mixture by rubbing a little between your finger and thumb. It should be smooth. If it is still grainy, keep beating until it is smooth when you test it.
- Add the peppermint extract and give the meringue one final best to mix it through
- In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of the meringue with the red food colouring and mix well. Add as much as you like to get the depth of colour you want. I used 3 big drops to get a deep pink.
- Add the coloured meringue, in dollops, to the top of the white meringue then use a metal spoon to just mix it through for only one or two strokes. No more because as soon as you start to scoop it to put in the baking trays it will mix through more and we want to keep it looking streaky.
- Now use a large icecream scoop, to take large scoops of the meringue mixture and carefully release them onto the cookie trays. Keep them spaced far apart as they will puff up while cooking.
- Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (see notes). Remove from oven, gently peel away from the baking paper and let them cool on a wire rack until completely cooled.
- The 1 hour baking time allows for just a little softness in the centre. If you want you meringues totally crisp, continue to cook them for another 15-20 minutes, then turn the oven off and let them cool completely in the oven before removing.