Salted Chocolate Meringues

Salted Chocolate Meringues

I love meringues. They are so light and airy and relatively speaking a fabulous little dessert or treat you can’t go wrong with.

A few weeks ago I needed egg yolks for something (right now I can’t remember what) so I decided to take the egg whites left over and make some Salted Chocolate Meringues instead of freezing them for later. I really loved the result!

The fun thing about things like this is you can switch them up a bit. You could add a bit more, or a bit less cocoa, as well as salt, and end up with something different each time.

Meringues get a bad wrap as being hard to make, but they aren’t. You simple beat your egg whites and ingredients until you have relatively hard peaks, pipe or spoon the mixture out on to a lined baking sheet and bake for several hours until the meringues are “dried” out. It’s simple, you just prepare and walk away, checking them here and there. I love easy treats!

What You’ll Need:
4 egg whites
2/3 cup of organic cane sugar
1/4 cup of cocoa, sifted (Note: One of the few time I actually sift anything.)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons of fluer de sel or other sea salt (Note: More if you like things really salty, less if you don’t.)
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar (Optional)

Preheat oven to 225 F.

In a large mixing bowl mix together all ingredients until incorporated. Beat mixture on medium to high until slightly stiff peaks form:

Salted Chocolate Meringues: Beaten

You don’t want to have this too soft or too hard. You want it where when you pull your beater(s) up you end up with a nice firm peak, but it’s ok if the tips droop a bit as well.

Now it’s time to get the “meringues” on a baking sheet!

I like to put the meringue in to a large pastry bag with a flower tip and squeeze them out into a flower like design:

Salted Chocolate Meringues: Ready to Bake

You can also place teaspoon or tablespoon sized dollops on to the baking sheet if you don’t want to mess with a pastry bag. Or how about using a round tip and piping out little meringue “bowls” and bake them to fill with fruit for an easy little dessert.

Bake in a preheated oven for 2-3 hours or until meringues have “dried” out and are not sticky to the touch:

Salted Chocolate Meringues: Baked

Let cool and then serve or store in an airtight container.

Notes: No notes for this one.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I love chocolate covered strawberries. I rarely have them though, and I had never made them. For some reason this was one of those things I had in my head as being difficult, but it couldn’t be further than the truth! They really are quite simple, and they take next to no time to actually make as well.

There are many variations you can do in terms of chocolate covered strawberries. You can make them really fancy and make them look like something, like a football, or a tuxedo, or even Santa, or they can be really simple and simply be dipped in chocolate and possibly drizzled with a little white chocolate for flare. Or how about some rainbow sprinkles added to give it a punch of color and whimsy?

Most of the time chocolate covered strawberries are considered a romantic gift, or a gift for a woman, but they could be given to anyone at anytime. Who wants to wait around for a special occasion when they are so simple and easy to make. Generally speaking they’re somewhat healthier than the average dessert as well, especially if you use dark chocolate. What are you waiting for?

What You’ll Need:
Ripe strawberries, washed and patted dry
1 cup of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (Note: You can use milk, semi, dark, bittersweet, etc.)
1 tablespoon of shortening (Note: Look for a version without trans-fats.)
Bamboo skewers or toothpicks
A foam block to stick the dipped strawberries in

First you want to wash and dry your strawberries and pick out what kind of chocolate chips you want to use:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Chocolate and Strawberries

I like to use Ghirardelli chips or Green and Black’s baking bars chopped up into bits.

Place the chocolate chips and the shortening in a microwave safe glass bowl:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Ready to Melt

Microwave for 20 second intervals at half power, stirring between rounds, until chocolate is melted and smooth:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Dipping Choclate

Now it’s time to start dipping!

While the chocolate is melting, insert toothpicks or bamboo skewers in to the top of your strawberries:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Ready to Dip

If you want you can remove the strawberry caps, but I like to leave them on. They add a bit of pizazz!

Next dip the individual strawberries in to the chocolate to coat and stick toothpicks in a foam block so the chocolate on the strawberries can set or harden:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries: Chocolate Setting

You can make them set up quickly by placing the block in the fridge and it will harden within 5 to 10 minutes. Or you can leave them at room temperature until they harden in 20 to 30 minutes.

And now you’ve got some really fabulous chocolate covered strawberries!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Doesn’t that look like the perfect dessert or snack?

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Indeed it does!

Notes: You can also fill chocolate covered strawberries by coring out the center and adding a filling of your choice. One of my friends on Twitter suggested cookie dough. You could do sugar cookie or chocolate chip! Or how about a cheesecake type filling? Or butter cream icing would be great too. Be creative!