This part of my birthday "cake" was offered with a pile of chocolate fudge syrup, whipped cream, and a variety of fruits, as well. The recipe makes a slightly denser, chocolatey meringue than many are used to eating, but still kicks hindquarters.
Chocolate meringue for pavlova
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 c. dark-brown sugar
2/3 c. Splenda sugar substitute or 3/4 c. castor (extra fine) sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 Tbs. good Dutch-process cocoa powder
Your favorite fudge sauce, whipped cream, fresh fruits such as strawberries, peaches, kiwi, etc.
Preheat oven to 300º F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. On the back side of parchment, draw 8-inch circle, turn parchment over so ink (or pencil) side is down.
In a double-boiler or mixer bowl set over pan of simmering water, mix egg whites, sugar, Splenda (or fine sugar), and salt. Whisk constantly until sugars have dissolved and mixture is warm (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat, and with mixer, whisk until stiff peaks form. Mix in vanilla.
Sift cocoa powder over top of meringue, fold in gently until streaks are almost all gone. Spread meringue onto parchment into a round, with circle as guide (it will spread slightly past that as it cooks), building a slight well into the center.
Bake until dry to the touch, about 65 minutes. Allow to cool in oven or on wire rack. Serve THAT DAY. This meringue's crust will stay crisp for only 6 to 8 hours, depending on humidity of kitchen.