These airy shaped cookies are dipped in chocolate and crushed peppermint candies making them a favorite party recipe.
Place egg whites in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two very large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside.
Add salt, vinegar, and peppermint extract to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar is nearly dissolved.
Transfer meringue to a decorating bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip. Pipe 1-inch kisses 1 inch apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake all of the meringue kisses at the same time on separate oven racks for 7 minutes. Turn off oven; let meringues dry in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Lift meringues off paper or foil. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely.
In a small saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat just until melted. Remove from heat. Spread crushed candy in a shallow dish. Dip bottoms of meringues in chocolate, then dip in crushed candies. Place on waxed paper and let stand until chocolate is set. Makes about 192 meringue kisses.
To crush the peppermint candies, place the unwrapped candies in a resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Using a meat mallet, pound lightly to crush the candies.