Chocolate Meringues with Blackberry Syrup

If you enjoy crisp, billowy creations with burst of chocolate and blackberry flavor, this is a dessert you must try.  When shaping the meringues, I scoop generous individual size portions and a few mini ones, too.  Sometimes you just want a bite size piece of meringue.  Children enjoy cracking the meringue with the back of a spoon, and drizzling the blackberry syrup on top. It's a great make-ahead dessert that I've enjoyed preparing with my daughters.

Chocolate Meringues with Blackberry Syrup

Servings: Makes 12 individual meringues or 24 mini meringues

Meringues

6 egg whites

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into thin chips

Blackberry Syrup

 Makes 1 ½ cups

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

zest from one lemon, (1 Tablespoon loosely packed)

12 oz blackberries, about 3 cups

 

To Make the Meringues

1. Preheat oven to 275°.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites, cornstarch and salt until frothy, 1-2 minutes. 

3. While beating the egg whites, slowly add the granulated sugar and continue beating until medium peaks form, about 5 minutes.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed until the egg whites are stiff, dense and glossy, 5-7 minutes.  While beating the egg whites the texture will first be smooth and end up stiff, dense and glossy.  An easy test to make sure the egg whites are stiff enough is to swirl the egg beaters on high speed through the egg whites and observe the trail it makes.  Initially, you will see the smooth trail barely hold its shape. When it has been beat enough the trail is stiff, billowy and multi-rippled.

4.  Sprinkle the cocoa powder on top of the egg whites.  Only use 3 or 4 gentle, swooping, folding strokes to begin incorporating the cocoa powder. 

5. Using a large serving spoon, mound 12 meringues on the prepared baking sheet.  (Alternately, use a tablespoon to make 24 mini meringues)Make the mounds high as the meringues will slightly flatten as they bake.  Use the spoon to create a swirly peak on top of each mound. 

6. Bake in the preheated oven until dry,  2 hours. (1 hour for mini meringues) Meringues will continue to crisp as they cool.

Do Ahead: Can be made 2 days ahead.  Store between sheet of parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. 

To Make the Syrup

1. In a saucepan on high heat, bring the sugar, water and lemon zest to a boil. While boiling, stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved, 1-2 minutes. 

2.Add the berries and return to a boil.  While boiling, stir frequently until the berries begin to soften and release juices, about 2 minutes.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by half, 30-35 minutes. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. 

To Serve

Serve meringues topped with a few blackberries from the syrup, and a drizzle of the blackberry syrup.