Merry merry, everyone!

It’s Christmas Eve!! I am very much looking forward to drinking some of these and eating some of these while watching this as I curse my way through putting together this for my little Monet. Then completely unplugging tomorrow, opening presents with my girl, and spending time with family. (And working my run streak mile in there somewhere of course. Can you believe there is essentially only one more week left!?)

Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, I hope your day tomorrow is spectacular. I am very much looking forward to seeing what Santa brought all you runners! My wallet? Not so much.

ChristmasCard2013

The Official Salt Family Holiday Card! Edited of course.
They went out in the mail with our real names.
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Mmmmmeringues {My favorite holiday cookie recipe!}

Little known fact about me: I LOVE to bake and with Christmas in just 2 DAYS (!?!?!), I thought it might be fun to post up my favorite holiday cookie recipe! Before my daughter was born I used to love pouring myself a glass of wine and experimenting with new recipes. It’s a lot more difficult to do that now as we are home alone a lot and I can’t focus my attention on baking when she is elsewhere wreaking havoc. I’m hoping that with time, she will want to help me in the kitchen and I can sort of see that starting to happen…tea parties are a big thing in my house right now. She makes a mean cup of pretend tea.

This weekend I did find a little bit of time during her nap to whip up a few dozen of these – the ingredients below may not sound like they amount to much, but a little bit goes a long way! One thing I really like about this recipe is that it can be adapted to suit pretty much any dietary need. These cookies are dairy and gluten-free. Also since they are essentially just sugar and egg whites with a hint of chocolate, I don’t feel too guilty if I eat like 10 of them in a sitting.

My grandmother used to make a version of these cookies for me all the time as a kid, but the difference with mine is the mint. I am a HUGE chocolate mint fan, but if you aren’t we can still be friends. These cookies are just as good without it.

Salt’s Holiday Madness Mint Meringues 

meringues

What you need:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • Package of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  • Peppermint extract

First of all, you want to separate your eggs, which is my favorite part of the process. You could do this by hand, but if you are anything like me and are TERRIBLE at separating eggs, I suggest picking up a cheap egg separator. Ours is nothing more fancy than a little piece of plastic that hooks on to my mixing bowl and it is my favorite kitchen contraption of all time. It traps the yolk and then dumps the white right in the bowl for you. I don’t know how I lived without one for so long. I do know I wasted a LOT of eggs.

Anyway after you separate your eggs you will want to combine the yolks with the salt and cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form, which basically means it will get soft and foamy. Then you gradually add the sugar and beat until STIFF peaks form, which means it will resemble whipped-cream.

All of this beating is best done by hand and not with a mixer. I’m not saying this because I like to torture people, but I feel like a mixer leaves the consistency a little too runny. Your arms might get tired, but look at it this way: It’s an excellent arm workout! See? I can even work some fitness into a post about baked goods.

Once you have your stiff peaks, add a little bit of the peppermint extract or don’t if you don’t like mint. Proceed with caution though: This stuff is STRONG. You don’t need very much. And if you get it on your hand, you will smell like peppermint for the rest of the day, regardless of how many times you wash your hands or take a shower.

Finally, gently stir in the chocolate chips. That’s it. Besides the torture of hand mixing, these are so easy! (Hence why I could do this during nap time!)

Grease cookie sheets and drop tablespoon-ish sized dollops of this mix onto them. Then place the sheets in a preheated 300 degree oven and time for 20 – 25 minutes. You know your oven better than I do, so you make the call on what works for you.

When they are done, let them cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire baking rack to finish cooling/setting. Then once they are cool, eat 10 of them because they are so good. Or you could be like me and don’t even wait to start shoving them in your mouth.

You will want to store the cookies in a container that is as air tight as possible because they do get a little crumbly (though not any less delicious) with time. If you do try this recipe, I would love to hear how they turned out!

Beyond the baking this weekend, I also set out for my longest long run of the year and my second attempt at 14 miles.

14

Okay so it was only longer than my previous record by .4 miles, but whatever. Still longer. The weather here on Saturday was GLORIOUS and I’m so glad I got to take advantage of it! Now we have a lot of rain and possibly snow tomorrow, which I probably wouldn’t be excited about at all if it wasn’t Christmas Eve!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and if you are about to celebrate Christmas I hope you are more ready for it than I am!

What is your favorite kind of Christmas cookie? Have you ever had meringues?

~ Salt