½tspvanilla extract, peppermint or mint extract (optional)
4-5dropsgreen food coloring
sprinkles and star shapes,for decorating
Preheat oven to 200F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put egg whites into a medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer.) Whisk the egg whites until they begin to look frothy. This can be done by hand with a whisk but is easier if you use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer.
Add in sugar, half a cup at a time, and whisk on high speed. It should begin to have the consistency of shaving cream. It does take a few minutes, so don’t quit too early!
Add in a few drops of green food coloring, mixing the color evenly. Also, If you are using any kind of flavoring, stir it in at this point. The meringue should form "stiff peaks." When you remove the whisk, it will hold its shape.
Fill a piping bag using a star tip or for the 3 tier trees, I used the #199 tip.
To form tier trees, pipe onto the parchment lined baking sheet or on top of a silicone baking mat. Begin by adding a small dollop and without lifting the tip completely apart from the bottom tier, begin a second tier and repeat for the top, before pulling the bag away from the tree.
If using a star tip, start at the bottom and go in a continuous circle building up as you go, pull up on the top of your swirls to create the tip of the tree.
Once you have piped your trees, gently place a small star on top of each one. And sprinkle on any type of festive sprinkles.
After the sprinkles have been added to the trees, place them in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, without opening the oven door.
Once done, turn off the oven, and leave the door cracked for at least another two hours. I have also left the door cracked until the oven cools, then closed it, and left them in the oven overnight. Meringues do well and stay crisp in a dry environment.
Store covered in an airtight container and in a dry environment.
Meringue only has two basic ingredients: egg whites and sugar. That's it. So the key is in the mixing. It is pretty exhausting to do it by hand so an electric mixer (whether it is handheld or a stand mixer) will be extremely useful.
Try adding different flavorings to the meringue. Vanilla extract or even peppermint or mint extract are perfect with this recipe (about ½ a teaspoon should do the trick.)
Meringues rely on lots of air being whipped into them so they are light and fluffy. So it takes patience. If you have a stand mixer, it makes it easier because you can let it whip away until it gets to the right consistency.
Liquid or gel food coloring can be used here. If you are using liquid food coloring, just don't add too much or it will dilute the meringue consistency. Gel food coloring is best if you are trying to get a really deep, rich color.
Your oven does need to be at a lower temperature. The goal is to slowly dry out the meringues so they get to that light, airy and slightly crispy consistency. This isn't a rush process.
You do not need a piping bag for this recipe but it does make it a lot easier to make the tree shape.
I haven't tried to make meringue with sugar substitutes or egg substitutes so I can't say how that would turn out with this recipe.
I made my trees small to be bite-sized so this recipe made about 60 small trees.