Easy, delicate, and light, these Peppermint Meringue Cookies are the perfect low-carb, low-calorie, fat-free addition to your Christmas cookie platter.
If there was ever a cookie that could make just about everyone happy, it’s these easy Christmas Peppermint Meringues. Their light, airy texture and bright mint flavor are a wonderful contrast to other rich holiday goodies. Plus, they’re flourless and gluten-free, and if you use the low-carb option, even those on keto can enjoy them.
Tips to Make Christmas Peppermint Meringue Cookies
I’m not going to write a long post about every time I’ve eaten one of these airy cookies that melt in your mouth or my first memory of eating peppermint. However, I want to share a few tips for those not familiar with making meringue. If you’re a pro at whipping egg whites and baking meringues, feel free to scroll down to the recipe.
Hand-Whisking Will Not Work
Whipping egg whites for meringues is very difficult to do by hand. You’ll want a stand-mixer or, at the very least, an electric beater with a whisk attachment. Here is the stand mixer I use. If I’m not making other cookies, I cut down on dishes by using this hand-held electric beater. But trying to do it by hand will wear you out, and it’s just not worth it.
Degrease Your Equipment
Grease keeps egg whites from reaching stiff peak consistency. So, before you begin, dampen a paper towel or clean cloth with a bit of white vinegar. Wipe the mixing bowl and beater attachment to eliminate every trace of grease, then let them air dry.
Be Careful Separating Eggs
Since egg yolks contain fat, even a drop will have the same effect as grease and keep your beaten egg whites from reaching stiff peaks.
The easiest way to separate yolks from egg whites is by cracking the egg carefully in the middle and tilting the contents from one shell half to the other, letting the white dribble into the bowl. You can also crack an egg into your clean hand and let the white slip through your fingers, catching the yolk in your palm. Or buy a carton of pasteurized egg whites to use.
Use Room-Temperature Egg Whites
As my Easy Christmas Peppermint Meringue Cookies recipe indicates, you need to use room-temperature egg whites, so let them sit on a counter for 30 minutes before you start. If you’re in a hurry, you can pour the egg whites into a small bowl and set that into a larger bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
Know What Stiff Peaks Look Like
When you’re making a meringue, the egg whites must reach the stiff-peak stage, or they will collapse in the oven. As you’re beating the egg whites, they’ll go from runny and clear to clear and foamy in about 2 minutes. At that point, they’ll dribble off the whisk if you lift it from the mixture. Continue beating for another 5 minutes and you’ll reach the soft peak stage, where the peaks collapse on themselves when you lift the whisk. Another few minutes of beating will take you to the stiff peak stage, where the mixture remains standing when you pull out the whisk.
Easy Peppermint Meringue Cookies
- Stand Mixer or electric beater
- 2 Baking sheets
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mat
- Icing bag with star tip (optional)
- 4 egg whites, room temperature or 1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup white sugar To use stevia, Splenda, monkfruit, or erythritol, reduce to 1/2 cup or your results may be overly sweet and grainy
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- 2 tablespoons crushed candy canes for garnish
- white vinegar to wipe mixing equipment
- Preheat your oven to 225°F/107°C. Arrange two baking racks in the center of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Degrease your mixer and bowl. (See notes.)
- Whisk the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue to whisk until soft peaks form.
- Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until you reach the stiff peak stage.
- Add peppermint extract and beat for 2 more seconds.
- To make the cookies, plop even spoonfuls onto the baking sheet 1 inch apart. Or, gently scoop the meringue into a frosting bag fitted with a star tip and pipe them onto the sheet. Sprinkle with crushed candies if using. (See notes.)
- Bake both sheets at the same time for 90 minutes then turn the oven off. Do NOT open the oven door. Let the meringue cookies stay in the oven for at least one hour, up to overnight, until completely cooled.
Variations to Try
Don’t like peppermint? You can make these Christmas Meringue Cookies with other extracts, too. Try vanilla extract, lemon, almond, or even rootbeer! Swap sprinkles or colored sugar for the crushed candy canes if you’d rather.
Want to make colorful meringues? To make colorful Easy Peppermint Meringue Cookies, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of liquid food coloring when you add the extract. You can swap sprinkles or colored sugar for the crushed candy canes if you’d rather, or leave them bare.