Double Chocolate Meringues
I have been making meringues for years. They are sweet and satisfying, but also so light and delicate that one almost never has to fear feeling overindulgent when consuming a handful.
Take your time when whipping the egg whites and sugar. Using superfine sugar isn’t absolutely necessary, but I do think it dissolves more quickly and makes the finished meringue smoother. After the sugar is completely incorporated, continue whipping the meringue until it is very thick and glossy. It is tempting to rush the process, but the final minutes really do make a difference and increase the stiffness of the batter. The more dense and stable the meringue, the easier it will be to pipe onto baking sheets, and the higher and lighter it will be once baked.
When possible, prepare these crisp morsels when the weather is dry and cool. I have prepared them when the humidity is high, but it is risky. Any moisture in the air will likely result in tacky meringues, and they will stale rather quickly. The good thing is, however, that no matter when you whip up a batch, they are sure to be consumed in no time.
Makes about 48
4 large egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
1/4 cup finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin beating on high speed. When the whites are frothy, sprinkle in about 1/4 cup of the sugar. Continue adding the sugar gradually, every minute or so, until it is all incorporated. Whip the meringue until it is thick and glossy and holds medium-stiff to stiff peaks, about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cocoa into the meringue, add the chopped chocolate, and fold until combined.
Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch-diameter round tip and pipe rounds, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and about 2 inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. (Alternatively, you can spoon similar-size mounds onto the baking sheets.)
Bake until the meringues are puffed, fragrant, and possibly cracked, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven, open the door a little, and allow the meringues to cool on the baking sheets. Remove the meringues from the baking sheets and store in airtight containers or re-sealable bags.