Sugar cones filled with your favorite ice cream get a festive makeover for a sweet Christmas dessert. This recipe is perfect for getting the kids involved but equally as fun for treat lovers of all ages. The cones are frosted with a classic Swiss meringue, which holds up well in the freezer, so these can be made a few days in advance. Be sure to save an egg carton as it will come in handy when filling the cones. This recipe calls for mint chocolate chip ice cream, but any flavor will work! Additionally, it calls for store-bought pound cake, but any cake scraps will do the trick.
Slice the pound cake crosswise 1/2 inch thick. Place an ice cream cone open-side down on 1 slice and stamp out a round of cake; remove the round to a plate. Repeat until you have 8 rounds of cake. (Save the cake scraps for another use).
Turn a cardboard egg carton upside down. Cut a hole big enough to snuggly fit the pointy side of a sugar cone in 8 of the cups with a sharp paring knife. Insert 1 cone into each prepared hole. Fill the cones with ice cream, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Press the cake rounds on top of the ice cream to cap it off. Place the egg carton in the freezer while you make the meringue.
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan that can hold a heatproof stand mixer’s bowl above the water, but not touching the water.
Whisk the sugar, egg whites, vanilla and salt in the stand mixer bowl. Set the bowl above the boiling water and continue to whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are slightly frothy, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until the meringue is cool and can hold very stiff peaks, about 6 minutes. Add the food coloring and beat until just combined.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a small star piping tip (see Cook’s Note). Working with 1 cone at a time (leave the remaining in the freezer so the ice cream does not melt), place round-side down on a wire rack-lined baking sheet then pipe small stars all over the cone until completely covered. Decorate with sprinkles. Transfer to a plate and freeze while you decorate the remaining cones. Alternatively, use a small offset spatula to spread the meringue onto the cones and then decorate with sprinkles. Freeze until ready to serve, up to 3 days.
Meringue is best used right after you make it. If you fill your pastry bag with only some of the meringue, then keep the remaining meringue in the stand mixer mixing on medium speed until you are ready to use it.
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