Pumpkin spice meringues

I am currently home for the holidays! So since I knew I would be coming home for thanksgiving, and that work would inevitably end up on my weekend schedule, I decided to make a tasty treat to bring to my chums who will be working with me. As it is the harvest season and pumpkin pie is a festive favourite I decided to make ... can you guess? NO not pumpkin pie! Pumpkin spice meringues with chocolate and chopped nuts. mmmm these little guys a a personal invention (as most things I make are) and are hard to keep your hands off of. Enjoy! (I know I did! heehee!)

Here is the recipe:

-3/4 cup egg whites
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
-orange food colour (optional)
-dark chocolate (optional)
-chopped nuts (optional)

Place egg whites and sugar in a clean dry bowl. Place over simmering water (do not let bowl touch the water) while constantly whisking. Heat until egg and sugar mixture is warm/hot to the touch. Remove bowl from simmering water and use electric mixer to whip until cool. Add pumpkin pie spice and orange food colour (if using) to meringue and mix in well.  Move oven racks to the top of oven and heat oven to 200F. 
Place a large round tip into a piping bag and fill bag with the meringue mixture. Pipe toonie sized rounds of meringue onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 2 hours. Turn off oven but leave meringues inside to continue to dry out (at least 1 hour).  
If using nuts and chocolate:
Melt chocolate over a double boiler and stir to cool until just warm. Dip bottoms of meringues in chocolate then into chopped nuts and set on parchment to dry. Enjoy!

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