Holiday meringues make the perfect addition to your holiday cookie platters! These melt-in-your-mouth Orange Gingerbread Meringues are packed with seasonal spices and dipped in dark chocolate.
It’s cookie season! When most people think of holiday cookies, they think of sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, and snowballs… But I’m on a quest to change that. Let’s step outside the box this holiday season. But in a way that’s also totally approachable (when you’re making cookies in big batches, the last thing you want is to get overly complicated).
You may not even think of meringues when you think of cookies. After all, they don’t use a traditional cookie dough and there’s no flour involved. In fact, you really only need a few simple ingredients for meringues. But they are in fact a super easy cookie that makes for something a little bit different on a holiday cookie platter. These orange gingerbread meringues are especially fun for the holiday season.
Though meringue cookies are quite easy to make, there are a few tricks to perfecting them. My tips below should help you end up with the perfect meringues every time!
TIPS FOR MAKING MERINGUE COOKIES
- Pay attention to the weather. Making meringues is generally easier in the winter than in the summer because humidity can really affect them as they’ll absorb moisture in the air and often turn out too sticky. I try to avoid making them on super humid days.
- Make sure your eggs are room temperature and that you’re only using the egg white. Be very careful when separating the eggs because if even a little bit of yolk gets in the egg whites, it could mess up the whole batch (I recommend cracking each white into a separate bowl before adding to a larger bowl in order to ensure one egg doesn’t mess up the batch of already cracked eggs).
- Use clean, dry bowls for mixing. Make sure there’s not even a little water or moisture in your mixing bowl.
- Add sugar slowly. You want it to dissolve fully into the egg whites and it’s best to add a little at a time. Adding a cup of sugar 1 Tbsp at a time feels like it will take forever, but I promise it won’t!
- Make sure your egg whites are stiff, but don’t over-beat them. Stop beating then you can lift the whisk out and if the peaks on the whisk retain their points and are stiff and glossy (see image below), they’re good to go. If you’ve gone too far the egg whites will look lumpy and almost curdled-like.
- Be patient! It’s important to bake meringues at a low temperature because you don’t want the outside of the meringue to dry too quickly or to turn golden. It’s also best to cool meringues in the oven to prevent cracking. I cook these gingerbread meringues for an hour, turn off the oven, open it a crack, and let them sit for another two hours.
ORANGE GINGERBREAD MERINGUES RECIPE
Now that you know a few tricks of the meringue trade, you’re ready to get started on these holiday meringues. They utilize a super simple meringue recipe with a few added holiday spices and some orange zest.
To get started, pre-heat oven to 250 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper; and mix together sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a bowl.
Now, in the clean bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Begin adding sugar mixture to egg mixture, 1 Tbsp at a time. Keep beating on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 6-8 minutes.
Fold in orange zest.
Spoon meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 2A or 1A) and pipe mounds about 1 1/2-inch in diameter onto prepared baking sheets.
Pop in the oven and bake for an hour, until the meringues are dry and no longer glossy. Once the hour is up, turn oven off, crack it open a bit (I hold mine open with a wooden spoon) and let meringues sit for another 2 hours so they can cool very slowly and cracking is avoided. If you don’t have a full 2 hours, you should be OK after an hour… I just like to be extra safe! Even then, tiny cracks might appear here and there.
Actually, the first time I tested this recipe, I realized I didn’t have three hours to leave these in the oven since I had other stuff to cook… So I made these in my countertop convection oven. Well, when baking time was up, I turned the oven off and left the room. Or I thought I did… I actually turned it to broil. And didn’t realize it until Chris came downstairs and said, “why is the toaster on fire?” Oops!
It’s OK though because my first run through with these wasn’t that great (I had leftover meringue batter that I baked after the broiling catastrophe) and I tweaked the recipe a bit before ending up with these.
And these? Are delicious!
I decided to dip the bottoms in melted dark chocolate and then in red and green sprinkles, as well. You don’t have to do this, but it does add a little extra holiday flair!
If you prefer, you can use food coloring in the meringue batter (use gel and just a little bit to ensure the batter doesn’t get too runny). You can see the red and green peppermint meringues I made in my holiday cookie platter guide.
There’s lots you can do with meringue cookies when it comes to flavor and decoration depending on the season or holiday. At this time of year, I’m obsessed with gingerbread and love that these meringues are almost like a light and crispy gingerbread cookie. The orange flavor is subtle and adds a nice light citrus touch.
Not only would these orange gingerbread meringues be the perfect addition to a holiday cookie platter, but they’re also nice for putting in pretty bags and gifting to friends and family. I always like to make some fun holiday treats to bring to my neighbors and friends for the holidays.
They’re also nice for snacking on while watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate. You can have your gingerbread men; I’ll be over here with my gingerbread meringues!
I can pretty much guarantee that once you make meringues one time, you’ll want to make them again and again. The flavor options are endless and I feel that they’re a serious underrated holiday cookie!
Have you made meringues before?
If you’re starting t get meringue-obsessed (like me!), you need to try my Rainbow Sherbet Meringues and my Peppermint Pavlova (pavlova is basically a meringue cookie in cake form!). I also can’t wait to try these Peanut Butter and Chocolate Meringues from The Wooden Skillet.
Orange Gingerbread Meringues
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Pinch ground allspice
- Pinch ground cloves
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cream of tarter
- 2 tsp finely chopped orange zest
- 4 oz. chocolate
- Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
- In the clean bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
- Begin adding sugar mixture to egg mixture, 1 Tbsp at a time. Keep beating at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 6-8 minutes. Fold in orange zest.
- Spoon meringue mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 2A) and pipe mounds about 1 1/2-inch in diameter onto prepared baking sheets.
- Bake until meringues are dry and no longer glossy, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven, crack the door open a bit, and leave meringues in oven for another 2 hours to completely dry and avoid cracking.
- In a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt chocolate. Dip the bottoms of cooled meringues into melted chocolate and sprinkle sprinkles over the chocolate. Set on waxed paper to let chocolate dry.
- Store meringues in airtight containers in a cool, dry spot for up to two weeks.