23 December 2010

Peppermint Meringues with Chocolate Ganache


It’s Christmas week and things are looking festive. Winter is officially here and the short days end in darkness punctuated by festive displays of light. My sense of taste has stopped craving a palette of corn and pumpkin and turned to peppermint and chocolate.

I saw these little cookies near the back of the December issue of Martha Stewart Living. They were so pretty I had to take a second look. Reading through I was smitten with the thought of crunchy crisp chocolate filled meringues fragrant with the fresh scent of peppermint. I had to give them a try.

These are perfect for Christmas dreaming. The process is not complicated but it involves a good bit of waiting. Take it slow and relaxed. Put on a classic like White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. Gently warm the egg whites and sugar over a pan of barely simmering water. Whip the warmed whites until patterns and stiff peaks form like dreamy snow-scapes in your bowl.

Pipe the meringue into small swirling baskets and let them rest in a low oven until crisp and dry. Then fill them with a dark creamy ganache and dust the tops with sparkling bits of crushed candy cane. I think you’ll find that they are worth the wait!


Peppermint Meringues with Chocolate Ganache
from Martha Stewart Living, December 2010

vegetable oil cooking spray
3 egg whites, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
red gel-paste food coloring

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

1 large candy cane, chopped or crushed

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Prepare Cookie Sheets - Trace 1½ - 2 inch circles approximately 2 inches apart on two pieces of parchment paper.

Lightly spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray. Lay the parchment paper, traced side down, on the cookie sheets.

Make the Meringues – In a heatproof mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Warm the mixture over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring gently with a whisk, until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar begins to dissolve, about 3 minutes.

Remove the egg white mixture from the heat and beat with an electric mixer at medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir in the pure peppermint extract.

With a small food safe paint brush, paint three streaks of red food coloring paste up the inside of a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain round tip. (I used Wilton tip #6)

Transfer the egg white mixture to the pastry bag. Fill each traced circle on the parchment paper with a coil of the meringue then pipe around the edge, coiling the meringue upward, until the sides of the meringue cups are approximately ½ - 1 inch high.



Bake at 175 degrees for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes or until meringue cups are stiff, dry and easily transferred from the parchment paper to a wire rack. Allow the meringues to cool completely.

Make the Ganache - Place the chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) in a heatproof bowl.

Warm the cream in a small saucepan over low heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for two minutes. Stir until smooth.

Cover the ganache loosely and refrigerate for approximately an hour to an hour and a half, until firm. Stir the ganache again and transfer it to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch star tip. (I used Wilton tip #21.)

Pipe ganache into the meringue cups with a swirling motion.

Garnish with crushed candy cane bits.

Make Ahead Tip: I suggest eating these soon after assembling. That probably won’t be a problem. They are light and festive and appealing. If you do want to save some for later, store the meringues in an airtight container and store the ganache in the refrigerator. Shortly before serving whip the ganache briefly, until it is creamy. Then transfer to a pastry bag and pipe the ganache into the meringue cups. Sprinkle with candy cane bits.

Serve and enjoy!

5 comments:

Pam said...

These look fantastic!

MaryBeth said...

Adorable...I love the color of these and I bet they taste fantastic!

grace said...

how lovely! i absolutely adore the look of these, and since peppermint and chocolate combine to form one of my favorite food marriages EVER, i'd appreciate the taste too. :)

Ivy said...

Prety, pretty little meringue cookies made by pretty, pretty Lisa.

Hope you had a warm and cozy Christmas!

Christi Krug said...

Wow! They are as pretty as ornaments! Reminds me that one year we did a peppermint tree. Sorry I missed this Christmas week, but we still have decorations up. :)