Oh Christmas tree!

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Credit: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Recipe Summary test

active:
30 mins
bake:
2 hrs
cool:
1 hr
stand:
30 mins
total:
4 hrs
Yield:
1½ dozen
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Christmas cookies don't get much cuter than these Mint Meringue Christmas Trees. Each light and airy peppermint cookie is dipped in chocolate for a treat that tastes as good as it looks.

These little meringue trees will provide a nice change of pace amidst the standard platters of thumbprints and slice-and-bakes. Not only do they bring some height to the table, but the lovely mint green color will stand out on any holiday spread. Plus, it's got the flavor to back up its pretty appearances: infused with a small quantity of peppermint extract, these meringue Christmas trees taste as good as they look. Resist the temptation to add more than ⅛ teaspoon of the extract—a little goes a long way. Cream of tartar helps the egg whites whip up to lovely, shiny peaks. Allow plenty of time for these cute meringue cookies to bake—a long bake time of two hours and another hour of cooling time in the oven allows the meringue to properly dry out. A quick dip in chocolate takes these Christmas tree meringue cookies over the top.

It might be tempting to add a star to the top of each meringue before baking, but if you're using gold ones, as we did, it's best to wait. Not all metallic sprinkles are oven safe.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

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  • Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar, peppermint extract, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Beat well, about 30 seconds. Continue adding remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Beat in desired amount of green food coloring gel.

  • Spoon egg white mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe a 1½-inch dollop of egg white mixture onto prepared baking sheet, and then pipe 2 slightly smaller dollops on top to create a tree shape, taking care not to let stacked dollops separate as you work. Repeat with remaining egg white mixture, spacing trees 2 inches apart. Top trees with rainbow sprinkles. Bake meringue trees in preheated oven 2 hours. Turn oven off; let trees cool completely in oven, undisturbed, 1 hour. Transfer meringues to a plate; reserve baking sheet, and line with a new sheet of parchment paper. 

  • Melt chocolate chips according to package directions, and stir in oil until thoroughly combined. Dip bottom of each meringue tree in chocolate mixture, and place on prepared baking sheet. Use a wooden pick to apply a small dot of frosting to each star-shaped sprinkle, and attach one star to top of each meringue tree. Let stand until chocolate and frosting are set, about 30 minutes. Store tree cookies (standing upright) in an airtight container until ready to serve.

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