Meringue Ghosts

Time to Cook: 
75-90 minutes
Time to Prepare: 
20
Number of Servings: 
12
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One of the best desserts you can make comes straight from egg whites mixed with sugar and a bit of acid, usually in the form of cream of tartar. On top of pies, baked into cookies or shaped into other treats, meringue is a favorite sweet treat among those who want something light or dairy and gluten free.
There are few things to know before you get started; as always, there’s a little science about eggs behind the recipes!

When you make meringue, the mechanical whipping of the egg whites cause the proteins to unfold and rearrange their structure to incorporate the air bubbles, which is why you get the light and foamy result. Any fat introduced will hamper this, so you must have a bowl that is clean and dry.  According to Wikipedia, if you wipe the bowl with a slice of lemon, this may help to remove any trace of grease.  Some sites suggest that you use a copper bowl, because of the natural acidity, but if you don’t have one then a stainless steel or glass bowl is the best. Plastic can often absorb grease and doesn’t always work well.

Eggs separate best when they are cold, because the yolk and whites tend to hold their shape better. There is some discussion about whether using cold or room temperature egg whites are best for meringue, but according to The Kitchn, cold egg whites create a meringue with smaller, more uniform bubbles which holds its shape better and is easier to work with.

Meringues turn out the best if they are made on a dry day, since egg whites and sugar both are chemicals that tend to attract water, and water makes your end result soggy. This is why you never put meringue in the fridge and when you have meringue on top of your favorite lemon pie, you tend to get little water droplets eventually. Baking your meringues at a low temperature for a long time dries them out and they can be left in a sealed container on your counter.

These little ghosts are a wonderful addition to your Halloween treats; make them small and set them atop cupcakes, use them to decorate brownies, or just eat them plain. The beauty is that even if you have leftovers (which I doubt), you can crumble them with cranberry curd and a bit of cake to make a tasty dessert.

meringue ghost cookie

Whip up a bunch of meringue ghosts for a spook-tacular time in the kitchen

Ingredients

3 egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup chocolate chips


Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 200 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy. Turn up the speed to medium, and add the sugar gradually. Once you have finished adding the sugar turn up the speed to high and whip until you have stiff peaks. It should take about 5 minutes.

3. Spoon the meringue into a pastry bag or resealable sandwich bag. This can be a little messy! Make sure you have a fairly large tip. Pipe the meringue into swirls starting with a circle about 1-2 inches in diameter.

4. Bake the meringues for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until dry and set. They can take longer, some up to 1 hour and 45 minutes. You don’t want them to brown at all; if this begins to happen, remove them from the oven. Allow to cool.

5. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave on low. Using a toothpick, add the eyes. Let dry.

6. Store in an airtight container on your counter for up to a week.

Adapted from Food Network