Peppermint Marshmallow Crunch Cookies
I’ve made meringue cookies a handful of times and always thought they reminded me of marshmallows when they melt in your mouth, but never thought to serve them in a hot beverage until the other day when I made this dairy-free hot cocoa. As soon as they hit the hot beverage, they soften and turn into a cross between a fluffy melted marshmallow and whipped cream. So delicious and so fitting for this holiday season. We’ll be serving this treat often when we spend some time in the mountains after Christmas in a few weeks. I can’t wait to peel off our snow dampened mittens and hats and sit down by the fire with a plate of these cookies and a warm cup of hot cocoa.
I prefer to make these in the dehydrator mostly because I can forget about them for a day and come back to heavenly cookies with almost no calories, but also because they stay a lighter white when you dehydrate rather than bake. Using an oven works just fine but it makes the honey brown a bit so you’ll have tan cookies instead of white.
|Ingredients (makes 2-3 dozen)
Dehydrator: 24 hours | Oven: 4 hours (will result in a darker colored meringue)
2 large egg whites, about 4 tablespoons
Prepare your dehydrator or preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan. In a heatproof stand-mixer bowl, combine the egg whites, honey, and pinch of salt.
Place the bowl over the simmering water, careful not to let it touch the water. Whisk the egg whites vigorously until the mixture registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat, then transfer the mixing bowl to your stand mixer. Immediately begin whipping on medium-high until mixture has cooled and formed stiff, glossy peaks, 6 to 8 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add water, lemon juice, and peppermint extract. Raise speed to medium, and whisk until combined.
Line trays with parchment paper then spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe the meringues into star shapes or candy canes.
Fill a bowl with 1 teaspoon water and a 6 drops of red food coloring. Dip a Q-tip in it and lightly paint the red stripes.
Place the trays in the dehydrator at 150 degrees for 24 hours, then turn the dehydrator off and leave the door closed for 30 minutes.The cookies will be soft to the touch until they cool completely.
For the oven method – bake at 170 degrees until hard to the touch but not cracked or browned, 2 to 3 hours. Let cool in the oven with the door closed.
Immediately place in an airtight container as these cookies will absorb atmospheric moisture. If they get sticky, just pop them in the oven at 170 for 10-15 minutes. Cookies will keep for 5-7 days.