Some people have found their success in medical research or pursuing world peace. Me? My shining moment is the melting snowman cookie. That’s right. Yours truly. This very person in front of you is the inventor of the now-classic (I’m classic now?) melting snowman cookie.
I remember the day back in 2008 when I came up with the idea and posted it on my blog. And then in a surreal chain of events that only the internet can provide, I watched as the idea spread from blog to blog and then took over the world (well, Pinterest anyway) as the New Christmas Cookie. Target even sells a melting snowman cookie kit! It would also have been nice to receive credit, accolades and riches from the whole thing, but that is also life on the internet.
So I’m branching out from cookie dough and icing and turning to delicate, melt-in-your-mouth meringue for my next melting snowman. Making these cuties brought me right back to 2008. While the idea of meringue and whipping egg whites may sound intimidating if you’ve never made them, they’re actually easier to make than decorated cookies.
You’ll need only four ingredients for the meringues: egg whites, sugar, almond extract and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar is used to stabilize the egg whites, and you’ll find it in the spices section of the supermarket.
Preheat the oven to 200ºF, line two baking trays with parchment paper, and set them aside.
Separate the eggs and reserve only the egg whites. To separate an egg, gently crack the egg in the middle and pull apart the two halves, catching the yolk in one half and letting the whites drip into a bowl underneath. Then move the yolk between the two egg halves until all of the whites drop into the bowl.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip, or in a large bowl if you’re using an electric hand mixer. Add the cream of tartar and the almond extract. Whip at high speed until the egg whites turn to fluffy snow. (Hey, that’s fitting!)
Gradually add the sugar while mixing on medium speed. Then whip on high speed for a bit. The mixture looks much the same as the egg white snow, but it will be shinier.
Fit a large, round decorating tip in a disposable decorating bag. Here, I’m using a size 12 tip. You can find both the tip and the decorating bags in craft stores. Fill the bag with some meringue and twist at the top to close. A rubber band tied tightly at the top helps keep things mess-free.
On a baking tray, pipe a ball for the snowman head. To do this, hold the bag of meringue vertically over the tray, squeeze to pipe, and a ball will naturally form. Then, pipe the “blob” of a body by piping back and forth. The head should be separate from the body because we’ll assemble these later. Fill the trays and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They should be firm to the touch but not browned yet. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and let the meringues stay in the warm oven for another two hours.
Once the meringues cool, you’re ready to assemble and decorate! Pipe some frosting on the underside of a snowman head and place on a snowman body. Using the round tips that accompany the Betty Crocker™ Decorating Icing, or by snipping a small piece of the tip of the cookie icing, pipe the eyes and mouth in black, the carrot nose in orange, the buttons in any desired color and the stick arms in brown.
You can also use sprinkles, candies, pretzel sticks or anything else you like to decorate the snowmen. To adhere sprinkles and candies to the meringue, use small dabs of frosting or light corn syrup.
Then serve these silly guys and enjoy!