One of my favorite things to top desserts with are meringue cookies. They’re as light as air and they look so pretty and whimsical! The color and flavor combinations are endless, so you can really have some fun getting creative. I decided to whip some up, especially for placing on top of my favorite brownies. They take even the most humble brownies to a new level. You can use your favorite brownie recipe or even a boxed brownie mix. I won’t judge! I like to make the meringues a day or two ahead since they take quite a while to bake in the oven. While they bake, a subtle chocolate scent will waft through your kitchen, reminding you of the smell of hot cocoa. They even taste like hot cocoa! You can make your brownies a few hours ahead or the night before. I cut mine into rounds with a 2 1/2-inch cutter. I cut 12 rounds of this size from a 13 x 9-inch batch of brownies. Right before serving, spoon some thick, glossy chocolate ganache on the brownies, then top them with your pretty meringues! To make these little bits of chocolate heaven, you’ll need:
- 1 batch Cocoa Meringues (recipe below)
- 1 batch of your favorite brownies
- 1 batch chocolate ganache (see notes)
Pretty, light and crispy treats that taste like hot cocoa!
Preheat oven to 200ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place egg whites in a large bowl. Whip egg whites with the whip attachment of an electric mixer, at medium speed, until foamy.
Add cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites. Whip at medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
Gradually add granulated sugar and continue whipping, at medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Stop mixer. Sprinkle powdered sugar and cocoa mixture over egg whites and whip at low speed until until incorporated, about 10 seconds.
*This step is optional. Place a large, disposable pastry bag, fitted with a round piping tip, into a tall drinking glass. (I used a Wilton tip #12.) Fold the top third of the bag over the glass, forming a cuff. Using a small, clean paintbrush, paint thin, vertical stripes of food coloring on the inside of the bag, from the piping tip to the edge of the fold.
Spoon egg white mixture into the pastry bag. Pipe small kisses, 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. (I made mine about 3/4-inch to 1-inch in diameter. If you'd like larger kisses, use a larger size piping tip.)
Bake for 2 hours. Turn off oven and leave meringues in oven to cool and continue drying out for an additional 2 hours. Store tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.
To make the chocolate ganache, I used a ratio of two parts semi-sweet chocolate to one part heavy cream. (Weighing the ingredients will give you the most accurate ratio.) Place 8 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the cream just to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, making sure to cover it completely. Let sit for 2 minutes, then stir gently until smooth.