A holiday dessert that serves a crowd, looks super fancy and complicated, but is really quite simple? Count me in!
These little candy cane meringue cups are filled with rich chocolate ganache and sprinkled with chopped candy canes. They are as festive in appearance as they are in flavor and are truly a cinch to make! The cups and ganache can be made well in advance and assembled only a few hours before serving, making these a perfect “do-ahead” treat for a holiday party or dessert buffet. I brought them to a friend’s gathering recently and they flew off the tray.
Candy Cane Meringue Cups with Chocolate Ganache Filling
adapted from Martha Stewart
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup powdered sugar
red food coloring
1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and trace (16) 1 3/4″ circles on each sheet of paper with a marker. Turn parchment over so that the marked sides are face down.
2. In a food processor, grind the granulated sugar for several minutes, until very fine. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl beat egg whites on low speed until frothy and completely covered in tiny bubbles. Add cream of tartar and increase speed to medium, gradually adding 2 tablespoons of the processed sugar. When soft peaks form when the beater is raised, add another tablespoon of the sugar and increase speed to high. When stiff peaks form add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Fold in the powdered sugar.
4. Use a small food-safe paintbrush to make 3 stripes of red food coloring up the inside of a pastry bag, fitted with a 1/4″ plain tip. Scoop meringue into the bag. Starting in the center of one circle, pipe a spiral to completely fill it in. Then pipe a circle around the base to form a rim. Repeat, piping one more circle atop the first, to form a cup. Repeat this with the remaining circles. Let the cups sit for 30 minutes, until set (they should stay intact when lightly touched). Bake for 1 1/2 hours (do not open oven door). Remove from oven and store, airtight in a single layer, for up to 1 week.
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Place chopped chocolate in the bowl of your mixer. Heat the cream over medium-high heat until just boiling. Immediately pour over chocolate, add salt, and let sit for 10 minutes (do not stir). Whisk until smooth, shiny, and completely emulsified. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to collect any chocolate that may have settled. Let ganache cool for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring frequently.
2. Beat on medium-high speed for 2-4 minutes, or until pale and fluffy.
1-2 candy canes, finely chopped (I place them in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag and lightly pound with a meat tenderizer)
1. To assemble, scoop ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip. Pipe spirals or rosettes into each cup. Garnish with chopped candy canes.