Set oven to 200°F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place egg whites and salt in the stand mixer and mix at medium speed until frothy.
Add cream tartar and mix at medium high speed.
Beat in sugar, 1 tbsp at a time. *Tip: this step is very important, do not add all the sugar at one time, add it in slowly.
Add in vanilla extract, or whichever flavor extract you choose.
The meringue will start to become stiff with peaks. To check if it is ready, roll a pinch of the meringue between your thumb and finger and feel for any gritty sugar. If there is any present, continue to beat the meringue until it is gone.
To prep your pastry bag for creating striped meringues: turn the pastry bag inside out, keeping an inch pulled through the bottom as you'll be trimming this and inserting your pastry tip.
Place bag over a glass to keep it in place.
Dip your paintbrush into the gel food color and draw stripes on the outside of the bag.
Take the bag off the glass, reach your hand in the bottom and pull the tip through so the stripes are now on the inside of the bag. Trim the bottom of the bag and drop your flower pastry tip inside.
Fill your bag with Meringue. Try to poke any air bubbles with the back of the paintbrush or skewer. Twist the top of the bag. *Tip: set aside enough meringue to make the plain white meringues that you'll be decorating.
Hold the pastry bag straight up and down on the pastry sheet and squeeze pulling up to create peaks. *Tip: meringues don't spread, however, you don't want to place them too close as we need proper air flow during baking and dry time.
To create the white meringues, simply fill a pastry bag fitted with your round pastry tip and squeeze the meringue through the bag. *Tip: to create the ice cream cone look, in a very small movement, move the bag around in a circle and pull up to create a peak.
Bake 1 hour and let stand in oven to dry 2 hours or over night.
For decorating: melt white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, if you prefer. Crush candy canes and set out any other decorations.
Drizzle white chocolate over meringues, sprinkle red sanding sugar and crushed candy canes over the white chocolate before it sets up.
These will keep for a few days and are pretty good frozen. Store them in a non humid area as they will absorb the moisture and be less crisp...but still delicious
Share with friends and family! Happy Holidays!