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Mocha Meringues

Mocha Meringues
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.

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