Flavor these crispy-sweet ‘cookies’ any way you’d like. Peppermint extract is fantastic!
1/2 cup Egg Whites or equivalent amount of powdered egg whites
1/2 t Cream of Tartar
1 t Vanilla extract
3/4 – 1 cup Granulated Sugar
3 T Cocoa Powder (not hot cocoa mix)
1 T Instant Espresso Powder
Preheat oven to its lowest setting, usually about 200°.
Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl (if using a hand mixer) or in the bowl of your trusty stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. While eggs are beating, sift together sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder. Add vanilla (if you choose to add peppermint, orange, coconut extracts, etc, add them now). Turn mixer down to medium-low and gradually add dry ingredients, spoonful by spoonful. Be sure to scrape down sides of bowl so everything is incorporated nicely.
Continue beating the egg whites on medium-high speed (high with a hand mixer is fine) until stiff peaks form. Test the meringue with your fingers (or tongue) to make sure the sugar has dissolved. If not, beat a bit longer.
Line 2 half-sheet pans (cookie sheets) with parchment paper. Prepare a large pastry bag with your choice of pastry tip ( I like a large star tip) and fill with meringue. Pipe rosettes or sticks or ‘kisses’ evenly around the tray. You can also just spoon blobs of meringue onto the parchment using a spoon. They’ll be rustic and beautiful and delicious! Place the trays in the oven and bake the ‘cookies’ for about an hour and a half. Turn off the oven and let them cool inside.
Remove the meringues from parchment and store in a tightly covered container for a week or so.
***Make a chocolate ganache and chill it until thick , then spread on the bottom of one meringue kiss. Sandwich another kiss atop and serve immediately. These do NOT store well as the ganache will soften the meringue.