Happy National Cookie Day, the perfect excuse to bake up a batch of your favorite baked treats, or perhaps invite some friends over for a good old-fashioned holiday cookie swap. Even though this recipe from Joy Wilson, cookbook author and creator of the blog Joy the Baker, contains only four ingredients, the result is a fabulously festive and colorful cookie that’s sure to be a hit.
3 egg whites
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
Red gel paste food coloring as needed
Preheat an oven to 175°F (80°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Secure the corners of the paper to the baking sheets with masking tape. Fit a pastry bag with a small open star tip, such as Ateco #22.
In a saucepan, bring 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of water to a simmer. Put the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over the simmering water. Stir gently until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Mix in the peppermint extract.
Using a small new paintbrush, paint 2 or 3 stripes of red food coloring inside the pastry bag, painting from the tip of the bag to the collar. Fill the bag with 1 to 2 cups of the meringue. Pipe star shapes, each about 3/4 inch (2 cm) high, onto the prepared baking sheets. Refill the pastry bag as needed, adding more food coloring to the bag each time you refill it.
Bake the cookies until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Recipe by Joy Wilson, creator of the blog Joy the Baker and author of Homemade Decadence