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1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently stir in cocoa powder.
2. Transfer half of the meringue mixture to a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip. Pipe meringue in 3- to 4-inch-long sticks onto prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining meringue mixture.
3. Place cookie sheets on separate racks in the preheated oven; bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meringues appear dry and are firm when lightly touched. Cool meringues completely on cookie sheets. Peel meringues off paper or foil.
4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine bittersweet chocolate and shortening. Microwave on 50 percent power (medium) for 2 to 2- 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring twice. Drizzle cookies with melted chocolate. Place cookies on waxed paper. Let stand until chocolate is set. Makes about 32 cookies.