These Christmas tree meringue cookies can be the cutest edible decoration on your Christmas table this year! My meringue recipe includes everything you need to know about how to make these Christmas trees with the perfect crunchy outside and marshmallow texture inside!
Meringue-based desserts like these Christmas tree meringue cookies are naturally gluten-free, in fact, the recipe uses only a few ingredients you probably already have at home, namely egg and sugar.
🌟 Why this is the best recipe
- Meringue has no cracks – so many people claim to have the perfect meringue recipe and many of these are full of cracks, some even broken into half. It’s a big NO! I will take you through below on all the necessary details you have to know to avoid cracks on your Christmas tree cookies
- Meringue is not browning – another typical mistake caused by quite obviously too high oven temperature. Still, so many recipes out there state high oven temperate, well not this one! Christmas tree meringues have to be baked at a lower oven temperature than you might think!
- Meringue keeps its structure and definition – it is all about whipping up the perfect meringue that is stiff, glossy, and holds its structure while baking. I will take you through in detail how exactly you have to whip egg white, how to incorporate sugar into the recipe, etc.
📝 Ingredients notes
1. Egg white: Egg white is the base of these Christmas meringue cookies. Make sure you use fresh egg whites which are absolutely free from any sort of fat (e.g. egg yolk). If you get some egg yolk into the egg white while separating them, start again.
2. Sugar: There are a couple of important notes regarding the sugar:
- In the case of these Christmas tree meringue cookies, we will need a lot of sugar to keep the structural integrity of the meringue. Sugar in this case is not really a sweetener but more like glue. Read more about how to use the different types of sugar in my Sugar guide.
- There are a few ways to prepare a meringue. I have a French meringue-based pavlova recipe meaning you whisk egg whites while gradually adding the sugar. However, in this recipe I am using Swiss meringue technique meaning that I heat egg whites and sugar over a gently simmering water bath until sugar fully dissolves, then remove the mixture from the water bath and beat until stiff, shiny peaks. This method does not require superfine sugar, granulated is totally fine.
3. Cream of tartar (optional): It helps stabilize the whipped egg whites and prevents sugar from crystallising. If you are an experienced baker and perfectly know how to make meringue perhaps you can leave it out. I did not use it in this recipe, however, if you wish to use it, add ½ teaspoon
4. White Vinegar (optional): Similar function as cream of tartar, it’s all about the perfect meringue to succeed in making Christmas tree meringue cookies! The final baked meringue won’t taste vinegar, I promise! This recipe is using ½ teaspoon of white vinegar added to the mixture just before piping. Another option is to add it while whipping. Can be also replaced with lemon juice.
5. Cornstarch (optional): It helps to achieve the marshmallow center on your Christmas tree meringue cookies, and again, stabilize the meringue. I did not use it for this recipe. If you wish to use it, add 1 teaspoon along with vinegar just before piping
6. Food coloring: You will need to add green food coloring to make Meringue Christmas trees, use powder or gel food coloring. Liquid food coloring can ruin the meringue easily so refrain from using it.
7. Sprinkles: Since meringue needs to be baked at low temp, the sprinkles won´t melt in the oven, use any brand and design according to your preference. Use any sprinkles that fit well to the Christmas tree cookies
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make this recipe
1. How to make Swiss meringue
Making this meringue tree recipe is not difficult but you have to pay attention to make the meringue.
First, prepare your double boiler and heat egg white and sugar until sugar fully dissolves, this will take about 5 minutes. Then move the egg white sugar mixture into your mixer and start whipping it.
While whipping egg white start on low speed then increase gradually. If you are using cream of tartar, you should use it at this point. Whipping meringue in Stand mixer takes about 5-10 minutes.
Speaking about consistency is very important that you whip egg white until meringue form stiff peaks, shiny stiff peaks to be exact, since you will need to pipe the meringue and that requires stable consistency. Add food coloring just a few seconds before you feel the meringue will be done.
If you are using vinegar and/or cornstarch, you must add the vinegar after whipping egg white and before piping the Meringue tree cookies.
💡 Top Tip: I recommend using a stand mixer for this
Christmas tree meringue cookies recipe, as with a hand mixer, it can take way too long to reach the desired consistency.
2. How to pipe Christmas tree meringue cookies
First and foremost it is important that you have your baking tray with parchment paper or baking sheet, piping bag, and piping nozzle tip (wilton 1m or star tip) prepared ahead. After your meringue is ready there is no time to wander around, been there, done that, not fun!
For piping the Meringue Christmas trees, you can use various nozzle tips, eg. Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip. The piping process actually very similar to frosting a cupcake as you can see in the shape.
Decorate the Christmas cookies after piping, before baking, relatively quickly. It is absolutely up to you how you decorate according to your preference, just as the way you decorate your real Christmas tree. Perhaps I would refrain from using heavy, too-large sprinkles to avoid meringue collapsing during baking.
💡 Top Tip: Make sure that that you pipe the meringue immediately after whipping as it can lose its structure quite quickly especially if your kitchen is a bit too hot or humid.
3. How to bake
Have your oven pre-heated as always.
Apart from the inappropriate meringue technique, the most common mistake with meringue is baking it at too high a temperature which results in a brown, cracked surface.
While baking meringue basically we have to think more like drying than baking. I used to bake meringue at 212F / 100C but now changed it to 194F / 90C and that is what I recommend to you as well. Dry them at this low temperature for 90 minutes then leave the door open very slightly and let them rest and cool down in the oven.
One other important thing to consider is your REAL oven temperature. Most home ovens are over or under heat, that´s a fact. For meringue, which is baked at a really low temperature, an inappropriate baking temperature can cause a real disaster. I can not highlight enough how important to get to know your own oven and purchase an inexpensive oven thermometer.
💡 Top Tip: Please note that on a warm or humid day or if the meringue is in contact with eg. a cake, it will lose its structure at room temperature and might get sticky the next day.
🥣 Equipment notes
Not much equipment is needed it make this Christmas tree meringue recipe, however, there are a few basics.
As mentioned above a Stand mixer will make your life easier so I definitely recommend using that for preparing meringue. With a hand mixer, simply it would take way too long.
Rubber spatula is really a must for a Home Baker at any level. Whenever a recipe states “folding” we mean “with a rubber spatula” to avoid breaking the batter. Appropriate folding technique is extra important while handling meringue so you definitely need one.
For piping, you can use eg. Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip , it’s the most basic round nozzle tip worth investing into.
And as mentioned above, it is worth to invest also into a digital oven thermometer (I wish I had mine earlier!) to monitor the oven temp while baking.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Meringue cookies are meant to be chewy, if you prefer them drier, make them slightly longer and make sure to store them away from humidity.
These Christmas tree shape meringue cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy inside, definitely not hard not also not soft. They get harder as they dry out over time, or, if kept in a humid environment, they will get softer and moister each day.
Baking meringue cookies is more like drying them. Unlike some other recipes state, it is very important that you bake the meringue cookies at a relatively low temperature (194F / 90C ) for a longer time (1.5 hour).
🎄 More Christmas recipes
Christmas tree meringue cookies
- 60 g (¼ cups) Egg whites approx. whites of 2 eggs
- 100 g (½ cups) Granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon Cream of tartar optional
- 1 teaspoon Corn starch optional
- ½ teaspoon White vinegar optional
- green food colouring powder or gel food coloring
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Make sure all the equipment are absolutely clean and dry, any small fat or even a tiny bit of egg yolk can ruin the meringue
- Pre-heat oven to 90 C / 194°F, line baking tray with a baking sheet. Make sure about your REAL oven temperature and use a Digital oven thermometer if you can
- Have a Piping bag ready with eg. Wilton 1M piping nozzle tip
- Stir egg white with sugar over double boiler on medium heat until sugar fully dissolves. This can take about 5 minutes
- Once sugar dissolved remove the mixture from the double boiler and start whisking in a Stand mixer with cream of tartar (optional). Start on low speed and increase gradually
- Whisk the meringue on high speed until it becomes glossy and achieve stiff peaks. The meringue is ready when it has shiny, stiff peaks, check it once every minute towards the end. Mix in food colouring in the last seconds
- Once the mixture ready immediately but gently fold in white vinegar (optional) and corn starch (optional) with the help of a Rubber spatula, be careful not to deflate the meringue
- Bake for 90 min, do not open the oven door
- When the meringue is baked, open the door slightly (1 cm) and let them cool down in the oven for at least an hour.
- Store the Christmas tree meringue cookies in air-tight container away from humidity.
Very nice recipe
So tasty recipe and really we learn a lot from you, please keep it up , all the best for you ,