Timothy LOVES these! He almost ate them ALL! :)
(side note: My kids love that me and Martha have the same initials. And, yes, I am on a first name basis with Martha. Hehe!)
To give these cups their festive design, paint lines of red gel paste food coloring up the inside of an empty pastry bag before adding the meringue.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 Large egg whites, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. pure peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Trace 16 circles onto 2 pieces of parchment paper using 1 3/4 inch cookie cutter. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray and top each with a sheet of parchment, traced side down (duh!)
Heat egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl of a mixer set over a pan of simmering water, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm to the touch. (about 3 min.) Transfer bowl to mixer. Whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in peppermint extract.
Paint 3 stripes of red food coloring up the inside of pastry bag and add egg white mixture. Pipe coils to fill each traced circle. Pipe up sides to create cups.
Bake until cups are crisp but not browned and lift off parchment easily, about 1 hour 30 min.
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Transfer chocolate to a heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Pour over chocolate, and let stand for 3 min. Stir until smooth. Loosely cover and refrigerate until firm. (1-1 1/2 hours)
Stir ganache, and transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch open star tip. Pipe ganache into the center of each meringue cup.
Garnish with candy cane.