Sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms and thumbprints are a given for the holidays. But if you’re really trying to wow the cookie swap gang this year, turn to these marbled peppermint-Nutella meringues. They’re unexpected and elegant with a melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s like biting into a magical Christmas cloud (or so we’d imagine).
The recipe calls for using room temperature egg whites, which will whip up faster. Our advice is to separate the whites from the yolks while the eggs are still cold, then let the whites come to room temperature in a bowl for about 30 minutes before beginning. We also suggest crushing the peppermint candies into small pieces—not a powder—so they don’t melt into a puddle atop each cookie.
Meringues are best served immediately, since humidity and moisture will dampen their crispness over time. But that shouldn’t be a problem, considering
Santa your guests won’t leave a single crumb.
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch kosher salt
¾ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons peppermint extract
⅓ cup Nutella
Crushed peppermint candies, to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites at a low speed until foamy, about 3 minutes. Add the cream of tartar and the salt and beat at medium speed until opaque, frothy and slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Increase the speed to high and very gradually add the sugar, beating until the meringue is shiny and forms stiff peaks, 6 to 8 minutes. Fold in the peppermint extract.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the Nutella until it’s warm and thin enough to drizzle, about 30 seconds. Stir, then add about half the Nutella in heaping dollops to the meringue mixture. Do not mix; it will marble naturally as you scoop.
4. Using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop or a spoon, place heaping dollops of the meringue mixture onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart, ensuring there are streaks of Nutella in every cookie. Once the mixture is mostly meringue, add the remaining warm Nutella and continue to scoop. If desired, use a chopstick, toothpick or the tip of a knife to further swirl the Nutella into the meringues, and to clean up the shape as needed. Top each meringue with the crushed peppermint candies.
5. Bake the meringues until crisp and dry enough to be easily pulled off the parchment, 80 to 90 minutes. Turn off the oven and crack open the door, allowing the meringues to dry out further until they feel hollow and weightless, at least 1 hour. Once completely dry, serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to two days.