3 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
3 squares (1 oz each) semisweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon shortening
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, about 2 Tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in cocoa.
2. Insert a #8b large open star tip into a pastry or plastic bag; fill half full with meringue. (See tips below) Pipe stars, about 1 1/4 inch diameter, or drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned (which we thought was a strange thing to say, because they ARE light brown...). Remove from paper; cool on wire racks.
3. In a heavy saucepan or microwave, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip the cookies halfway with glaze; place on waxed paper until set.
-Insert a decorating tip that has a large opening into a pastry bag or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. (If using a plastic bag, first cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.)
-Fill the bag about half full with meringue. Smooth the meringue down toward the decorating tip to remove any air bubbles that could cause breaks in the design when piping. Twist the top of the bag shut.
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Hold the pastry bag straight up and position the tip about 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the baking sheet. Hold the tip with one hand and squeeze the pastry bag with the other. Stop squeezing before you life up the decorating tip.