I love the holidays! Carols and trees and parties and holiday cartoon specials (does anyone remember The Night Before Christmas, where the smart kid mouse writes Santa an angry letter and Santa decides not to visit their town until the clock maker builds a great big clock to sing a song to Santa on Christmas Eve, except that the smart kid mouse investigates the clock, and breaks something, and the whole things goes kaput.... kapluey! Love that one, but almost no one knows it.) Last weekend I got the most beautiful Christmas tree, during the first snow of the season... it was definitely one of those magical holiday moments.
The only thing I don't love about the holidays is the overwhelming amount of rich unhealthy food staring me down and the lack of extra time I have to spend at the gym. I do have a major sweet tooth, but this time of year when there are truffles and toffee and cakes and cheesecakes around every corner, I start to crave fresh fruit and vegetables - even more than normal. Now, broccoli doesn't make the best choice for your holiday cookie platter, but these chocolate meringue kisses do provide a lighter option (as long as you don't down 10-20 at a pop). They're yummy with just a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder, but the chocolate sauce definitely dresses them up a little.
And don't forget: enter the giveaway for a free copy of Julia Child's My Life in France by leaving a comment on the Chocolate Bombes post by Monday night, December 21st.
My first real tree! (not at my mom's house)
For Meringue Kisses:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
7/8 cup powdered sugar
1/4 c cocoa
Preheat oven to 200F.
Whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa together in a small bowl.
In a medium to large bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks on medium speed. Slowly add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, and increase the speed to high. Beat to almost stiff peaks (the whites should still droop a little).
Gently sprinkle (or sift) about half the powdered sugar and cocoa mixture over the whites, and gently fold in. Repeat with the remaining sugar/cocoa, folding just until the streaks are all gone.
Fill a decorating bag with the meringue, and pipe your desired shapes on to a sheet of parchment paper. Glue down the paper with a dab of meringue under the corners if it's bunching up. Bake for 60 - 80 minutes until dry.
Yield: I got about 30 meringue kisses and 15 3" meringue logs (which I'll be using in a cake very soon). You should get about 6 dozen kisses if that's all you make.
For Chocolate Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
a pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla (or Kahlua)
Combine the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan on low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
Remove pan from heat; let stand for 1-2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add salt and vanilla; cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze.
This recipe makes a lot more than you'll need for these kisses, but who doesn't want extra chocolate sauce around?