When I think of meringues, the first place my head goes to is the plain meringues with chocolate chips that my grandma makes for Passover. They're a simple meringue with chocolate chips, dropped onto a baking tray with a spoon, and then baked until light and crispy. Then, a few years ago, meringues became all the rage, and were available in a ton of flavors - mint, fruity flavors, chocolate, vanilla, just to name a few. They were all the rage, but I never really fell for them, I can't even fathom a guess as to why.
But then when I was looking for some holiday recipes to make, I came across a recipe for espresso meringues. And then one for chocolate meringues. And another for marbled chocolate meringues. I wanted to make the espresso meringues, but the chocolate ones looked good, too. So then I came up with my awesome idea -- mochacchino meringues! Part chocolate, part espresso, pinch of cinnamon, 100% mochacchino-y goodness!
Of course the first time I made them, the recipe fell flat.....literally. I poured out the entire batch, let the mixer bowl dry completely (moisture is the enemy), and started out again...all I can say is add the sugar mixture V...E...R...Y......S...L...O...W...L...Y...!
Although I loved the way the big meringues looked, I opted to make mine a bit smaller. The hardest part was adjusting the baking time, since I didn't want them to burn. Also, I had to work with one of the two recipes, since the proportions they both used were very different. Below is my adapted mocha meringue recipe. Feel free to serve them as they are, or dip the bottoms into some semisweet chocolate!
Adapted from this recipe for Chocolate Meringues
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 tsp unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch-processed) -- I used Special Dark cocoa powder simply because I didn't have regular Hershey's cocoa
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted (optional)
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, and cinnamon in a bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy.
Add the salt and whisk at high speed until soft peaks form.
Slowly add the sugar/cocoa/espresso/cinnamon mixture, in a steady stream, with the mixer at medium speed. Add it V...E...R...Y......S...L...O...W...L...Y...! I basically did it 1 or 2 tsp at a time.
Increase speed to high and continue whipping until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that everything is combined well.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a tip of your choice, place the meringue mixture in the pastry bag and pipe out cookies in whatever design you like.
Be sure to leave a few inches between each meringue cookie.
Bake the cookies for approximately an hour and 10 minutes (I baked mine for about 50 minutes since I made them a little smaller than the original recipe) and then turn the oven off.
Let the cookies cool in the oven for one hour.
Remove from the oven and transfer the meringue cookies to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Leave overnight so that the cookies will dry out completely.
** Full disclosure? I had 3 trays and my oven only had room for two at a time, so I took them out immediately after but let them cool on the counter. The last batch I left in the oven afterwards, and think they came out just a little bit crispier. **
If you want, dip the bottoms of the meringues in the melted chocolate, or drizzle with the melted chocolate (I skipped this step).
The meringues should be stored in an airtight container and will keep for a week or so.