Meringues are an elegant cookie any time of year. But during the holidays, you can employ your cake decorating know-how to pipe them into extra-adorable mini Christmas trees. It’s as easy as tinting your meringue batter green and piping it into tree shapes!
This tutorial on how to make designer cookies allows a lot of freedom for your own personal expression. You can use different piping tips to create different effects, making a Christmas tree suited to your holiday creativity!
For instance, you could try…
Using a round tip to make smooth, Dr. Seuss-like trees
Employ your star tip to make ruffled, charmingly irregular varieties
Forgo the tree shape entirely and make meringue “kisses” by piping dots of batter with a star tip
Put your favorite type of tip work, piping meringue wreaths.
No matter what decorating direction you take, one thing’s for certain: These sweet and airy little morsels are bound to make your holidays more festive!
Love making fancy cookies? You’ll adore the sweet treats you’ll learn how to make in the online course Decorating Essentials: Designer Cookies. Along with confectionery artist Autumn Carpenter, you’ll learn to design and decorate creative cookies that’ll satisfy a sweet tooth, ignite imaginations and amaze family and friends.
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
Green food coloring (preferably powdered)
Cinnamon red candies for the tops of the “trees”
Sprinkles, if desired
Preheat oven to 225º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set to the side.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Stop the mixer. Stir in the coloring.
Start the mixer on low speed, and gradually add the sugar in a steady stream. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the sugar is all added, increase the speed to high again and mix until the mixture attains stiff peaks.
Place mixture in a piping bag fitted with a round or star tip.
Directly on the parchment-lined baking sheets, pipe the meringue mixture in a spiraling pattern, decreasing the size of each circle as you pipe dimensional, cone-shaped formations. You can pipe with a round tip, or jiggle the tip lightly as you pipe circles to give it an irregular, “busy” tree texture.
Note: If using a star tip, you can pipe one star tip with a smaller one on top for a tree shape, as well.
If you’d like, make some wreaths as well!
Affix a single red cinnamon candy centered on the top of each “tree.” Make sure it is completely centered, otherwise it may sag during baking.
Place the trays in the preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until firm and matte in finish. Lightly browned on the bottom is OK, but you want the trees to remain non-toasty in color.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely (I find they are easier to remove from the pan once cool). If your cinnamon candies have sagged, you can gently remove them and re-affix using a small amount of icing made from confectioners’ sugar and water as “glue.”
Store meringues in a single layer in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
If you don’t have a piping bag, you can also use a heavy duty plastic bag with a hole cut on the bottom; this will give you the look of a round tip, but with slightly less precision.
It’s important that you line your baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats, otherwise you’ll have trouble removing the meringues from the sheet. Do not grease the baking surface.
Powdered food coloring is the best pick in this recipe, as it won’t add more moisture to the mixture. Added moisture from liquid food coloring can make it more difficult to pipe your mixture, but it won’t ruin the recipe.