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Chocolate Meringues with Strawberries (Serves 12)

Here is a new twist on the two favorite flavor companions------strawberries and chocolate. Heart-healthy meringues are the perfect base for this delicious dessert idea.

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
4 cups sliced strawberries, sweetened to taste

1. In a small bowl, sift together cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, and cornstarch.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar, salt and vanilla and continue to beat, adding sugar a tablespoon at a time until egg whites form glossy, soft marshmallow-thick peaks.

3. Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold cocoa mixture and 1/2 cup chocolate chips into egg whites until just combined.

4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using the spatula, divide the batter evenly between both cookie sheets, making 6 piles per cookie sheet. Gently spread each pile into a circular mound about 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

5. Make a small well in the center of each mound for berries and their sauce.

6. Bake meringues in preheated 250 degree oven for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours, or until crunchy. Let cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar for at least 5 minutes.

7. At serving time, place remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips in small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on the Defrost setting 30-60 seconds, stirring once or twice until melted.

8. To serve, put meringue shells on individual plates, fill with berries and drizzle melted chocolate chips over the top. Serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving:
163 calories, 3 grams fat, 3 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 51 milligrams sodium