Jamie says: I hosted a “House Warming Cookie Exchange Christmas Party” at my new place last night- I figured I’d cover all my bases in one epic event. It brought back memories of former cookie exchanges… like the one K and I hosted in our apartment in Gainesville and the many Junior Women’s Club mother daughter cookie exchanges that we would go to back in the day. There’s just something fun about a cookie exchange. And you can host one, too.
Here are the “rules” to share with your guests:
• Bring a dozen cookies on a serving plate to eat at the party plus the number of cookies you want to trade in a separate container (so if you want to take 2 dozen cookies home with you, you would bake 3 dozen cookies- 2 dozen which would be in a container and 1 dozen which would be on a plate)
• Bring an extra container or large bag to put your new cookies in
• Print some copies of the recipe
This year I made…
They were heavenly because they’re so light and fluffy but full of flavor. Think of little peppermint pillows kissed with chocolate…
I learned something, too…that you can’t have any fat in a meringue or it will ruin it. This means no added oil or no stick cooking spray or even the tiniest bit of egg yolk. That’s why I used egg whites. I chose powdered egg whites because they’re shelf stable, so if I need them in a recipe again, I’ll have them on hand. Plus, the egg whites I used were pasteurized, which meant I got to lick the spoon at the end.
Dark Chocolate Dipped Candy Cane Meringues
- 2 Tbsp, 2 tsp 100% dried egg whites (Deb El- Just Whites)
- 1/2 cup water, warm
- 15 small candy canes
- 1 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 bag bittersweet 60% cacao premium baking chocolate chips (Ghiradelli)
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper (oil can ruin a meringue).
- Remove wrappers from candy canes and place in a freezer resealable bag and a hammer or rolling pin to crush to small pieces/a powder (or use a food processor).
- Add dried egg whites and warm water to a large bowl and use an electric mixer to begin to whisk. Gradually add in sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and white vinegar. Whisk until firm white peaks form. Fold in crushed candy cane.
- Use a tablespoon to drop heaping tablespoons of meringue onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool on cooling racks. Place used parchment paper in a large reclosable container for a later step.)
- During last 5 minutes of baking, begin to melt chocolate by placing a medium pot of water on medium-low heat with a larger stainless steel bowl on top, add chocolate and stir constantly until smooth.
- Dip each meringue top or bottom into chocolate and place chocolate side up in the reclosable container in the refrigerator to allow chocolate to firm for about 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies
- Nutrition note: Meringues in and of themselves (without the added chocolate) are essentially fat free. That’s because any oil or fat would ruin the meringue. This and the fact that they’re whipped with air helps keep the calories at bay without sacrificing flavor.