Almost there. I can see the finish line, and I have to tell you, I’m kind of glad. I love baking, don’t get me wrong, but next year, I’m spreading out the baking even more. Last year I tried to bake 12 days straight. And then I had to take a few weeks vacation! This year, I thought every other day would be enough rest in between, but man! This is killing me! Maybe it’s because I saved the more difficult baking for the very end. Next year? I’m doing the hard stuff first when I'm full of motivation, and saving the easy stuff for the last week. Not that these meringues are hard. Not at all. They’re actually fairly simple. They just have to bake FOREVER. And then there's the chocolate...
Last year I made Peppermint Meringues which I absolutely adored. I munched on those things for a week at least! It’s hard to resist the perfect little crunchy bites. And because they’re small and made mostly of egg whites, they’re not as devastating to the waistline as some of the other holiday cookies. So I knew I wanted to make them again this year. And this year, I wanted to make them all chocolate.
Meringues are a great way to use up those egg whites you have hanging around after separating your eggs for other recipes, like my failed Spritz Cookies. Throw them in the mixer and beat them with a bit of sugar, a touch of cream of tartar (which isn’t totally necessary, but helps keep the egg whites stable while whipping them up), a splash of vanilla, and some cocoa powder. Pipe them out into pretty shapes and bake them for an hour and a half and ta-da! Perfect little bite-sized treats made from leftovers.
I dressed mine up with some melted chocolate mixed with a tiny bit of espresso powder, but I may skip that step next time. It’s delicious, but I think I ended up with more chocolate smeared across my kitchen and all over myself than I did on the meringues, so I’ll save myself the mess next time. They’re just as good without! I’m still debating on whether I want to take these to work with me, or just save them all for myself again.
Adapted from Food Network
Makes about 10 dozen
3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon shortening
½ teaspoon espresso powder
1. Preheat oven to 200F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside. Fit a pastry bag or ziptop bag with an open star tip. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating the whites until they hold soft peaks. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until the meringue holds very stiff peaks. Beat in vanilla extract. Sift in cocoa powder, beating until combined.
3. Fill bag with 1 to 2 cups of meringue. Pipe small (3/4-inch high) star shapes onto prepared baking sheets. Refill bag as necessary. Bake meringues, rotating halfway through, until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Let cool completely on wire racks.
4. When meringues are completely cooled, prepare chocolate dip: In a small saucepan, combine chocolate, shortening, and espresso powder. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate is just melted.
5. Dip the bottom of meringues in chocolate. Place on waxed paper and let stand until chocolate is set.