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Peppermint Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches

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Peppermint-Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches
(c) 2010 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Peppermint Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches are beautiful red and white-striped meringues sandwiching minty chocolate ganache. These unusual candies are perfect for Christmas-time, or you could decorate them differently and enjoy them year-round.

As with all meringue recipes, these should be made on a day with low humidity, as humidity will cause the meringues to be soft and sticky.

Yield: about 24 meringue sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Red gel food coloring
  • Piping bag and star tip
  • Small, clean paintbrush
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • 4 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F/93 C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a medium saucepan with an inch of water and place it over medium heat until it is at a simmer.

2. Place the egg whites and the sugar in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer. It's very important that the bowl be clean of all grease or fat, as these will prevent the whites from whipping properly. Whisk together the whites and the sugar, and fit the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water.

3. Whisk continuously as the mixture heats up, and continue whisking until the egg whites are hot to the touch (about 5 minutes). Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer, and begin whipping the whites on high speed until they are opaque, thick, glossy, and form stiff peaks.

4. Fit a piping bag with a large star tip. Use the small paintbrush to brush three stripes of red gel food coloring from the tip to the top of the bag.

5. Fill the bag with the stiff meringue. Pipe small (1-inch) stars or rosettes on the baking sheet. Since you'll be sandwiching two meringues together, don't make them too large or too tall. They won't spread while baking, so you can pipe them fairly close together. If you need to refill your pastry bag with meringue, re-pipe the red lines on the inside before filling it.

6. Bake the meringues for 90 minutes, turning halfway through the baking time. After 90 minutes, turn the oven off but leave the meringues in the oven until completely cool.

7. While the meringues are baking, prepare the ganache. Place the chopped chocolate and the softened butter together in a bowl, and put the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

8. Bring the cream to a simmer, then pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a moment to soften the chocolate, then gently whisk them together until the chocolate is melted and you have a shiny, smooth mixture. Add the mint extract and whisk until it is completely combined.

9. Press a piece of cling wrap to the top of the ganache, and refrigerate it to firm it up for about an hour. You don’t want it to get hard, but it should be thick enough to hold its shape and have the texture of peanut butter.

10. When the ganache has thickened and the meringues are cool, it's time to make sandwiches! Place the ganache in a piping bag or a large Ziploc with the corner cut off. Pipe a dollop of ganache on the flat side of one meringue, then top it with a second meringue, and repeat until all of your meringues are sandwiched together.

11. Peppermint Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches are best within a day or two of being made. The ganache will gradually soften the meringues, so after several days you might find them unpleasantly soft or sticky. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

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