Preheat oven to 140C / 120C fan forced / 285F. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking paper.
In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment (or using a handheld beater), beat the egg whites
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.
Author: Marie Roffey
Course: Afternoon Tea, Desserts, High Tea, snacks, Sweets
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