This Christmas tree meringue cookie can be the cutest edible decoration on your Christmas table this year! Few ingredients meringue that is piped into a Christmas tree shape and dusted with some powder sugar for the ultimate festive look! My meringue recipe includes everything you need to know about how to make these Christmas trees with the most perfect crunchy outside, marshmallow texture inside!
Meringue based desserts are naturally gluten-free, in fact the recipe using only a few ingredients you probably already have at home, namely egg and sugar. Having said that, it is not the one cup this, half cup that type of recipe. This Christmas tree meringue recipe is not difficult, however similarly to most meringue based recipes, it needs attention, accuracy and a bit of practice. My meringue tutorial covers everything you need to know about making the perfect Christmas tree meringue, try it!
3 typical mistakes while baking meringue - You won´t make any of these with the help of my tutorial
- Meringue has 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 bellow on all the necessary details you have to know to avoid cracks on your meringue
- Meringue is 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!
- Meringue loses its structure and definition – it is all about beating up the perfect meringue that is stiff, glossy, hold 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.
My Top 5 Baking Tips for home bakers
- Read the recipe carefully including my tips and recommendations on how to avoid and fix typical issues during baking this Christmas tree meringue
- Avoid using substitutes and changing the recipe unless you are aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavour. Reducing sugar, replacing egg, using ingredients not on the right temperature etc. will all have an impact making meringue
- For consistent, happy baking experience always measure your ingredients with the help of a Digital scale. Cup measurement is provided as an indicative figure only and might be used for less complex and large batch recipes however it is not an appropriate method for more delicate, complex pastries
- Did you know that most home ovens can significantly under or oven run? Also, oven temperature hugely drops when opening the oven door therefore it is recommended to always pre-heat the oven above the required baking temperature.
- Temperature is so important when it comes to baking and accurate oven temperature is key, can make or break any recipe. Make sure you invest into an inexpensive Digital oven thermometer to avoid under baked, burnt, sad looking Christmas tree meringue cookies
Some important notes regarding the INGREDIENTS of this Christmas tree meringue recipe
1. Egg white: Egg white the base of the meringue. 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. Believe me, you can’t make a successful meringue with that batch unfortunately. After the egg white whipped up until stiff, shiny peaks, it is important to pipe relatively fast and place the meringue into the oven as soon as possible. On room temperature, especially on a warm day, the meringue starts to loose its volume quickly
2. Sugar: There are a couple of important notes regarding the sugar:
- If you have tried any of my recipes before you must have realized that I am not using an excessive amount of sugar. Instead, I am all about balancing flavours and let them shy. However, in case of this Christmas tree meringue recipe we 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 a glue, if it makes sense?
- There are a few ways to prepare meringue. I have a French meringue based pavlova recipe meaning you whisk egg whites while gradually adding the sugar. In case of French meringue technique, strictly superfine sugar is used that has smaller crystals than regular granulated sugar therefore dissolves quickly while beating up the egg white into meringue.
- 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. I know a lot of people struggle with French meringue so decided to share this recipe using Swiss meringue
3. Cream of tartar (optional): It helps stabilise 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 suceed in making Christmas tree meringue! 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, other option is it add while whipping. Can be also replaced with lemon juice
5. Cornstarch (optional): It helps to achieve the marshmallow centre and again, stabilise 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 colouring: You will need to add green food colouring, use powder or gel. Liquid can ruin the meringue easily so refrain from using it
7. Sprinkles: Since meringue needs to be baked on low temp, the sprinkles won´t melt in the oven, use any brand and design according to your preference
5 Baking tips about the TECHNIQUE of this Christmas tree meringue cookie recipe
1. How to make Swiss meringue
Whipping the egg white is probably the most important step of making this recipe. Make sure you use fresh egg white that is absolutely free from any sort of fat (e.g. egg yolk). If you get some egg yolk into the egg white in the process of separating, start again.
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. I recommend using a Stand mixer for this recipe, with hand mixer it can take way too long to reach the desired consistency. Whipping meringue in Stand mixer takes about 5-10 minutes.
Speaking about consistency, is very important that you whip egg white until stiff, shiny peaks since you will need to pipe the meringue and that requires stable consistency. Add food colouring just 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.
2. How to pipe Christmas tree meringue
First and foremost it is important that you have your baking tray with parchment paper, piping bag and piping nozzle tip prepared ahead. After your meringue is ready there is no time to wonder around, been there, done that, not fun! I find this quantity takes half tray of Christmas tree meringue obviously depending on the size of the trees you are piping. For piping 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 on the shape.
3. What is the right temperature to bake meringue cookies
Have your oven pre-heated as always.
Apart from inappropriate meringue technique the most common mistake with meringue is baking it on too high temperature which results in browned, cracked surface. While baking meringue basically we have to think more like drying than baking. I used to bake meringue on 100C but now went down to 85C-90C and that is what I recommend to you as well. Dry them in this low temperature for 90 minutes then leave the door open very slightly (1cm) and let them rest and cool down in the oven.
Please note that on a warm or humid day or if meringue is in contact with eg. a cake, meringue loses its structure on room temperature and might gets sticky for the next day.
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 on really low temperature, 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 digital oven thermometer. It might not solve all the problem in the world but certainly will increase the chances to become a more successful home baker.
4. How to decorate the Christmas tree meringues
You should decorate the Christmas trees 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.
5. What equipment you need to bake this Christmas tree meringue recipe
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 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. No more browning, cracked meringue!
Try some of my other Christmas recipes
Chocolate pistachio tart Christmas tree edition - This festive Chocolate Pistachio Tart Christmas tree edition is the ultimate elegant dessert you can serve during Christmas and impress everyone! Homemade Pâte Sablée tart cases filled with crunchy pistachios, creamy pistachio paste that is topped with silky chocolate ganache. Recipe in here
Christmas tree cupcake - This Christmas tree cupcake recipe consists of a moist and tender chocolate muffin filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with my favorite super light and easy mascarpone cream frosting. Easy, quick, looks and tastes just amazing! Recipe in here
Pistachio Raspberry Yule log - This Yule log filling includes a delicious, slightly tangy raspberry couilis and the silkiest, creamiest pistachio whipped ganache, two flavours that perfectly balance each other without being overly sweet! Finally, the Bûche de Noël is decorated with super easy, yet visually appealing white chocolate stars that are garnished with freezed dried raspberries. This is a totally showstopper Christmas cake that is completely doable for home bakers! Recipe in here
Gold macaron - These Gold macarons can be perfect for any special occasions or celebrations like birthdays, weddings, Christmas or New Year´s etc. Festive French macarons that also tastes amazing; they are filled with caramelized white chocolate that has the perfect deep caramel note without being overly sweet and hazelnut paste with the most delicious natural nutty flavor. The Gold macarons are decorated with a very simple technique using gold glitter that is painted on them. Recipe in here
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Christmas tree meringue
- 60 g Egg whites approx. whites of 2 eggs
- 100 g Granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon Cream of tartar optional
- 1 teaspoon Corn starch optional
- ½ teaspoon White vinegar optional
- green food colouring poweder or gel
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 parchment paper. Make sure about your REAL oven temperature and use a Digital oven thermometer if you can
- 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.