When time is short, use thawed whipped topping instead of making sweetened whipped cream. —Susan Maraffa, North Lima, Ohio
- 4 egg whites
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 4 teaspoons shortening
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 5 cups fresh strawberries
- Chocolate syrup
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw twenty-four 4-in. x 2-1/2-in. rectangles on the paper; set aside.
- For meringue, in a large bowl, beat the egg whites, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cream of tartar and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form.
- Insert a #12 round pastry tip in a pastry bag or heavy-duty plastic bag. Fill bag with meringue. Pipe meringue in long rows on rectangles until each is completely filled. Bake at 250° for 1 hour or until set and dry. Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and cool on baking sheets. When cooled completely, remove meringues from paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Spread 1 tablespoon over each meringue. Let stand until chocolate is set.
- In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and remaining vanilla, beating on high until stiff peaks form.
- Set aside 12 strawberries; cut remaining strawberries into 1/4-in. slices. Place 12 meringues on a flat serving platter. Spread each with 2 tablespoons whipped cream; top with sliced strawberries. Spread each with 2 tablespoons whipped cream. Top with remaining meringues and whipped cream. Loosely cover; refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
- Just before serving, drizzle with chocolate syrup. Cut reserved strawberries in half. Arrange cut side down over whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Strawberry Meringue Desserts in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2005, p91
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