Christmas Tree Meringues
These are (a) so easy and (b) so adorable!
Yield: ~ 50 cookies
You'll need a 12-ounce bag of Hershey's Kisses for this recipe (you'll have a few left over). If baking on a humid day, let the meringues cool in a turned-off oven for an additional hour without opening the door and then immediately seal them in an airtight container. We used 9 drops of food coloring; for a lighter or darker green, use 8 or 10 drops.
¾ cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 large egg whites
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 - 10 drops green food coloring
⅛ teaspoon salt
62 Hershey's Chocolate Kisses, unwrapped
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 225 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine granulated sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, vanilla, food coloring, and salt on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar mixture and whip until glossy, stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
Working quickly, fill pastry bag fitted with ¼- to ⅝-inch star tip with meringue. Pipe 1-inch-wide stars, spaced 1 inch apart, on prepared sheets. Top each star with another smaller star; then pipe even smaller star on top (trees should be 1½ inches tall). Place sugar star on top of each tree and sprinkle nonpareils around sides.
Bake meringues for 1 hour, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Turn off oven and let meringues cool in oven for at least 1 hour. Transfer sheets to wire rack and let meringues cool completely.
Microwave 12 candies at 50 percent power until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Using paring knife, gently cut small hole in bottom of each tree. Press tips of remaining candies into melted chocolate and then snugly into each hole. Dust trees with confectioners' sugar before serving.
- I didn't bother with the Hershey's kiss tree stumps (gasp!! I know, I forwent chocolate!).
- When stored in an airtight container, these kept for a surprisingly long time. I had one ~ 8 days after making them and it was still crisp and delicious.