Meringues have always fascinated me. What a stunning notion that you can beat air and sugar into a viscous mass of gloppy egg whites and transform it into a billowy white stiffness that bakes into something crunchy yet chewy.
These are best served cold. Store the pan of baked bars in the refrigerator and cut and dust them with powdered sugar just before serving. If you want to make lemon or lime bars, substitute either for the lilikoi juice.
I tasted these bars for the first time a few years ago on a visit to Hawaii’s Big Island. They have a buttery brown sugar shortbread cookie base packed with toasted macadamia nuts, a layer of caramel that bakes into the shortbread layer, and a generous topping of bittersweet chocolate.