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1. Place egg whites in a medium mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Line two large cookie sheets with brown paper or foil; set aside.
3. Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar dissolves. Quickly beat in peppermint extract. Tint pink with several drops of red food coloring, if desired.
4. Using a pastry tube with a large star decorating tip, pipe cookies onto prepared cookie sheets (form cookies about 1-1/2 inches in diameter). Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Turn off oven and let cookies dry in oven with door closed about 30 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets. Cover and store in a dry place. Makes 45 cookies.