If your family is anything like mine, Christmas is all about the food. To me, celebrating the holidays means rich savory dishes followed by decadent desserts. My mother’s family back in Indiana gathers at around 11:00 am for the all-day eat-a-thon which usually includes enough food to feed a small country. The soiree can go late into the evening with singing, playing games and, of course, more eating! There are always plenty of leftovers for everyone to enjoy later, too. This year, M and I have traveled to the cold from sunny California to partake in the events. I’ve prepared by doing some extra hard workouts the past few days!
Sometimes I go overboard on the savory dishes (because those are my favorites!) and then I’m left still wanting something sweet but not heavy or filling. These Christmas Tree Meringues fit the bill. Not only are they adorable and festive, they are super light and airy with peppermint flavor throughout and just a hint of chocolate “bark”. Perfect for squelching your sweet tooth. If you want to get super creative, put a few sprinkles on the “branches”.
Other ideas that I didn’t have time for!:
- Pipe candy cane meringues by brushing the inside of your piping bag with red gel food coloring before inserting the meringue.
- Make snowmen meringue with the white meringue mixture and decorate by adding a scarf, eyes, nose & mouth with gel icing.
- 4 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (not oil)
- Several drops of green food coloring
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. HINT: a spritz of cooking spray will keep the parchment in place and not roll up on you!
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer with wire whisk attachment and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form (the mixture stands up when the beaters are pulled up from it). Continue beating, gradually adding the sugar. Mixture should look glossy.
Continue beating and add the peppermint extract and food coloring until it reaches the desired green color. (The color will deepen in the oven.)
Affix a pastry bag with a round tip. Fold over the top third of the bag and, using a spatula, carefully fill it to halfway with the meringue mixture. Close up the top of the bag and squeeze out small connected rounds of meringue to form trees. Pipe a square at the base for the trunk. Repeat until all meringue has been used*.
Bake in oven for 2 hours. Turn oven off and let the meringues sit in the oven for 30 minutes before removing.
Melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Holding the meringue over the saucepan, spoon the melted chocolate over the tree trunk and place the meringue back on the parchment paper until hardened, about 30-45 minutes.
*I had extra meringue and decided to squeeze out some small cookies to fill in the space between the trees. Be sure to leave 1 inch between designs.
Servings: 30 Serving Size: 1 Christmas tree
Calories: 30 Fat: g0 Sat. Fat: 0g Carbs: 6.8g
Sodium: 7.3mg Fiber: 0g Sugar: 6.7g Protein: .5g