Well, I think I included my elevator pitch for these cookies nicely in the title of this post: Three ingredients. Mint meringues. Gluten-free. Oh, but did I mention they’re made with not just any mints but Andes mints?!
It doesn’t get much better.
These are a Christmas classic from the archives of Mom, and they are my all-time favorite.
Every year my mom goes on a crazy Christmas baking spree, and these mint meringues always make an appearance. When the trays of Christmas cookies are passed around after dinner, I can pretty much take or leave everything else (mmm, mostly take!), but I have to grab one or two of these.
They are as light as air – crunchy little clouds of pure meringue bliss. And the absolute best part are the chewy centers studded with gobs of Andes mints. That classic mint and chocolate combo has been my favorite since I was a kid racing my dad in mint chip ice cream cone eating contests, and I am in heaven when I get a bite of Andes mint in the chewy center of one of these cookies. I struggled to get a pretty picture to show you what I mean, but you have to see it anyway:
There is a plate of these sitting on my counter right now, and it’s all I can do to not jump up and stuff a few into my face. Good thing I am swaddled up in a blanket next to our space heater and don’t feel like moving for the next week. Ah, laziness. Sometimes you are useful.
Somehow I just distracted myself from the chewy centers of these cookies I just showed you… even though I’m not sure how that’s possible. Let’s get back on track.
In general, I’m a gooey dessert person, so crispy little cookies don’t get me too excited. These cookies, on the other hand, get me way too excited. I love that right underneath that delicate crunchy exterior is a chewy Andes mint bomb just waiting for me to sink my teeth into. I think you could find some room on your cookie tray for them no matter what kind of dessert preferences you have, though. There’s a little something for everyone with these guys… pretty magical, considering they have only three ingredients!
Now, I also feel obligated to mention the health properties of these cookies. Not that they are exactly a health food, you know. But first of all, they have chocolate, which obviously makes you happy. So that is healthy, yes? And also, the great thing about eating cookies that are as light as air is that they actually do have a lot of air in them. Their caloric content is pretty astonishingly low given their volume – a measly 73 calories per cookie if you make a batch of 16. I’m not promoting calorie counting around the holidays, I’m just saying that when the cookie tray comes around, these are actually a relatively light option. How did my favorite cookie in the world end up having only 73 calories? This is so unlike me. I am mystified.
If you’ve never made a meringue before, well, I’m pretty much the worst person to tell you about it, because these are the only meringues I’ve ever made. Sorry. But basically, meringue is just egg whites and sugar, whipped until stiff (and then here we folded in the mints, obviously!), then baked at a low temperature for a long time. We are baking these at 275 for an hour – that’s how we end up with that delightfully crunchy exterior and sinfully chewy interior. You can see that they don’t really develop a golden-brown color because of the low temperature; they’re just not snow-white anymore like they were before going in the oven. It’s good to know that before baking these – you should poke them to check for doneness rather than wait for them to look “done.”
These are naturally gluten-free, nut-free, guilt-free, and are made with only three ingredients… and you would never know any of that from sinking your teeth into them. Now that is my kind of cookie!
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 28 Andes mints (a 4.67-oz. box), chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- Preheat oven to 275 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy. Slowly add in the sugar, a tablespoon or two at a time, and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chopped Andes mints.
- Drop spoonfuls of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets, several inches apart. Bake until dry on the outside but still chewy on the inside, about 1 hour. Remove and let cool completely on baking sheets placed on a wire rack. Enjoy!
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for 3-5 days (but not in my house!).