HEAT oven to 225° F. BEAT egg whites and cream of tartar in mixer bowl with whisk attachment on high speed until foamy. Beating constantly, ADD sugar, 2 Tbsp. at a time, until the whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks.
FOLD IN crushed candies. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with large fluted or plain tip. PIPE meringue onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. SPRINKLE with additional crushed candies.
BAKE in 225° F oven until firm, about 1 hour. Turn off oven. LET DRY in oven, with door closed, until cool and crisp, at least one hour.
Chocolate Sprinkle Variation: Omit peppermint candies. Pipe from a pastry bag fitted with large fluted tip. Sprinkle with chocolate jimmies before baking.
A dry day is best. Meringue kisses made on humid days absorb moisture from the air, causing them to flatten out when baked and lose their crispness.
Substitution: 1 cup granulated sugar can be substituted for the powdered sugar. Beat after each addition until sugar is dissolved before adding the next. Rub a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger; it should feel completely smooth.
Baking sheets can be lightly greased and floured, if desired.
No pastry bag? Drop meringue by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets.
To store: Place meringue kisses in tightly sealed container, with waxed paper between layers.
To re-crisp: If stored kisses lose their crispness, bake in 200°F oven 15 to 20 minutes.