Red-striped peppermint meringue cookies
I first had the idea for this post when the White Stripes broke up near the beginning of this year. My friend Zak — who is mostly responsible for getting me into them when we were in high school — came over and we attempted (and failed) at meringues, and also failed at another kind of cookie, all of this while blasting the band’s music. I revisited the meringues over the weekend and failed, yet again (though this time my new friend Larissa had the brilliant idea to add corn starch and turn it into a flat pavlova-type thing, which was delicious despite not being what we wanted it to be). I tried on Monday for a third time, and they still didn’t come out exactly as planned but, for the most part they worked and they’re delicious. Let’s call them a happy accident.
There are a million possibilities for food based on the White Stripes (“Apple Blossom,” “Little Cream Soda,” “Ball and Biscuit,” to name a few), and this certainly isn’t the best, nor will it probably be the last on this site — but it’s inspired by the song “Sugar Never Tasted So Good,” as most of what’s in them is sugar (and egg whites), and of course the red swirls are for the band’s red and white everything, which is perfect for the holiday season.
Because I apparently am incompetent when it comes to beating egg whites, this is a bit of a variation on what I know as traditional meringue cookies: The addition of corn starch, like I mentioned before, makes the outside crispy — like what you’d expect from a meringue cookie — while the inside is soft and marshmallowy. I’d hoped the color would be a darker red, but that could probably be solved by using more food coloring in the piping bag.
3 egg whites, at room temperature
3/4 cup superfine sugar (I pulsed it in the food processor)
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2 tsp corn starch
Red food-coloring gel
• In a clean, dry bowl, use an electric hand mixer (not the stand mixer!) on high speed to beat the egg whites until foamy.
• Add the salt, cream of tartar, and peppermint, and mix (still on high speed) until the egg whites form soft peaks.
• Gradually add the sugar, and beat until it’s thick and looks like marshmallow cream. Add the corn starch, and beat until combined. It’s OK if the egg whites don’t hold stiff peaks.
• Use red food-coloring gel to line a piping bag with red stripes (I used a popsicle stick). It doesn’t have to look perfect because it’ll end up more like swirls than stripes anyway.
• Spoon the mixture into the piping bag and pipe circles about 2 inches in diameter onto a parchment paper–lined baking sheet or a silpat. If you’re not adding the color, you can just use a teaspoon.
• Bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, rotating pans halfway through, then let sit in the oven for another hour. When they’re done, they’ll have sort of a matte finish (as opposed to the shininess of the batter).