Let me just begin by saying that Monday was not a good day baking/cooking wise. From burning sugar, to a pot of glaze boiling over. Yes, it was indeed a dark (and smoky) day in the kitchen. It was all because of a sugar shortage and meringue. Meringue. Why meringue? You’ll see why in a minute.

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I have not always been a fan of meringue, and in fact, until last year had never even tried it before (except in a chocolate chip halfway cookie). Knowing it’s contents – raw egg whites and sugar – I just never could bring myself to try it. But my intrigue with meringue began upon discovering my now  favorite bakery in Fort Worth ( Texas, did I even need to specify? ).  There was a really good looking chocolate meringue pie sitting and staring at me behind the case in the bakery, so I decided for the first time, to try some. Wow. This was not meringue; this was marshmallow fluff! Actually, no, it really was meringue, but a marshmallow ( or very close to it) meringue and  so much better then I could have imagined! Since that day, I had been interested in making a marshmallow meringue myself. Ha ha. I got a successful marshmallow meringue but not before some mishaps; let’s just say that at one point on Monday it smelled like a chemical plant as a cloud of smoke rose from a pan and wafted through the house. But as it is still too painful to talk about it right now, let’s continue to happier subjects.

Remember the s’more brownies from last week?

A couple of weeks ago when grocery shopping, I happened to notice some miniature graham cracker crusts and decided to make the s’more brownies again but in mini form and with some changes. One of the changes being a marshmallow meringue on top of the brownies. Now, if you have never had marshmallow meringue before and are possibly only familiar with what I like to call the “southern kind” ( even though I don’t know if it’s more of a southern thing or not ) then you are probably wondering at the idea of putting it on top of brownies. But this is not regular meringue, or whatever you call it, this is a marshmallow meringue. And as I stated earlier, it tastes like very fluffy marshmallow fluff, so it compliments the brownies beautifully.

I know you are really going to like these brownies. I was so happy with the finished product, that I just couldn’t wait to share it with you!

So here is the breakdown: A brownie snuggled inside a mini graham cracker crust, topped with two squares of a Hershey’s Chocolate Bar, and finished with a marshmallow meringue.

I think what I like best about them is the gooey melted chocolate bar in between the brownie layer and the meringue. They are great for a personal dessert ( no need to share – hee, hee…) and would be great to take to parties.

Now that you have been acquainted with the brownies, and I hope had a good laugh at my mishaps, here is the recipe.

Cottura felice!

Notes
~ For the marshmallow meringue, you really want to be careful when boiling the sugar and corn syrup. The recipe calls for 3 to 5 minutes of boiling, so I would really recommend starting out with just 3 minutes – especially if you don’t have a candy thermometer.

~ If you don’t have a candy thermometer, don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal. I seemed to have lost mine, and so had to make the meringue without it and it turned out fine. Just read these tips on boiling sugar.

For the brownies

2 packages miniature graham cracker pie crusts
1 C. ( 2 sticks ) butter, melted
3 C. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 C. all – purpose flour
1 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. semi sweet chocolate chips

2 ( 4 ounce ) milk chocolate bars

 For the Marshmallow Meringue

2 Teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
4 egg whites
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325° F. On two baking sheets, arrange pie crusts ( 6 six crusts on each sheet ).

In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Using a whisk ( or mixer ), add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

Gradually, using a spatula, add the flour mixture to the egg mixture using a little bit of a folding motion until thoroughly combined.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill each crust 2/3 full. Next, place 2 milk chocolate squares on top of each brownie.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted.

Transfer brownies to a wire rack to cool.

While the brownies are cooling make the meringue.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water. Place over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes or until thick and translucent. It will turn into a jelly- like blob. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a separate small saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and the remaining 1/2 cup of the water and stir gently to combine. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook, without stirring for 3 to 5 minutes or until the syrup registers 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer (the firm-ball stage).

While the sugar is cooking, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment ( or use a hand-held mixer ).

When the sugar reaches 248 degrees F, turn on the mixer to high speed and slowly add the sugar syrup into the egg whites, drizzling it down the side of the bowl to keep it from hitting the whip and spattering.

When all of the syrup has been added, continue whipping on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture turns white and billowy.

Turn down the speed to medium, add the cornstarch mixture, vanilla, and salt and whip until fully incorporated.

Continue whipping for 3 to 4 minutes, or until barely warm to the touch.

Heap the marshmallow meringue on top of the brownies in billowing piles. Use the back of a spoon to tap the top of the meringue lightly and quickly to create tall peaks.

Serve & enjoy!

Brownies adapted from Brooke’s Best Bombshell Brownies, Marshmallow meringue adapted from the Flour Cookbook by Joanne Chang

Lexi
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