Spooky Ghost Meringues

Spooky Ghost Meringues Recipe


I'm squeaking this meringue recipe in under the gun, hoping that it's not too late for at least a few of you to try for Halloween. Going along with the spirit of the season, I piped meringue into tiny ghost shapes. Looking through my oven's window, the baking sheet looks like it is housing a tiny ghost army. If you aren't into ghosts and ghouls - no problem, the great thing about this recipe/technique is that you can shape the meringue into any form you can dream up. If you don't get around to trying it now, check back later in the year, and use the same approach to create edible trees or candy cane shapes.

If you've never attempted to make meringues, you should. I know that beating egg whites and using a pastry bag all in the span of one recipe might seem a bit too fussy for some of you, but I'll play devil's advocate and say that on the flip side we are only talking about a tiny ingredient list. In my mind, a bit of fuss on the production end of things offsets the ingredient scavenger hunt that can go along with more elaborate baking recipes. For this meringue recipe all you need is egg whites, salt, cream of tarter, and powdered sugar. And a couple silver sprinkles (or dabs of chocolate or seeds) for the eyes. But the real payoff is in the process. There are few things more satisfying to me in the culinary realm than watching a couple sudsy looking egg-whites turn into elegantly structured, glossy, bright-white meringue.

meringue recipe

Feel free to double the recipe if you like, though two egg white make a nice amount of meringue. Have fun!

- More Basic Techniques -

Spooky Ghost Meringues

It is important to let your egg whites come to room temperature, this will help you get the most volume. Also, make sure all your bowls, whisk, etc are spotlessly clean and free of any grease.

2 egg whites, room temperature
tiny pinch of salt
tiny pinch of cream of tartar
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
tiny silver candy sprinkles (chocolate or little seeds) for eyes

1 dark chocolate bar, melted (optional)
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)

Special equipment:
pastry bag with 1//2-inch tip

Preheat oven to 200F, racks in the middle.

Get everything ready ahead of time. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat mat. I also like to set up my pastry bag in a tall empty glass to make it easier to fill. Have a spatula on hand.

Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a large, clean mixing bowl. Start whisking the egg whites at medium speed in a large bowl with an electric mixer or Kitchen-Aid. This stage is all about watching and letting the egg whites tell you what to do next and you have to be nice to them to get them to transform - so avoid turning your mixer on and off. When the whites are frothy and have a bit of volume to them, start sprinkling in the sugar a bit at a time over a minute or two - leaving the mixer on the entire time.

Keep mixing, it usually takes me 15 -20 minutes to get the volume I'm after here, but all sorts of variables can effect this time - weather, temperature of the whites, etc. The whites will become glossy and their appearance will resemble marshmallow cream, keep going. At this point you need much more volume out of the whites, try to imagine making a dozen 2-inch cookies out of the mixture. Whisk, whisk, whisk. You will start to see the volume really start to increase, the whisk will be leaving more definitive trail in the meringue. At this point I usually gradually slow down the whisk, and see if I can lift it out of the meringue leaving a stiff structured peak. Imagine, you are going to pipe this out onto the cookie sheets, so you need it to have lots of structure, if you don't go far enough your ghosts (or shapes) will just collapse into a puddle.

Working gently (but quickly) fill the pastry bay -or alternately, a large plastic freezer bag with the corner snipped off - using the spatula. Try to avoid lots of air pockets in the pastry bag, they make piping much more difficult. Close the bag by rolling the top down a few times.

Now pipe about 12 ghost shapes onto the prepared baking sheets. I found that making tiny circles all the way up was the easiest way to make the shape I was after. Press the candy silver balls one at a time into your pointer finger and place them on the ghost - again, quickly but carefully.

Place the meringue in the oven for an hour. After an hour, open the oven door an inch or two and cook for another 30 minutes. I usually touch one of them at this point, they shouldn't be gummy or wobbly. If they are still too moist, leave them in the oven until they aren't. Turn off the oven, and leave the meringues in there until it comes down to room temperature.

At this point you can eat the ghosts, but I like to dip them in a bit of chocolate and then shredded coconut (see top photo).

If you are storing them, do so in an air-tight container.

Make about 12 meringues.

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Comments


These are too cute! I am going to try my best and make some for tonight. My son just fell in love with them already...

Meanwhile, I would like to invite you to check out a recipe for squash pancakes I came up with last week:
http://foreignmama.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/10/squash-pancakes.html

October 31, 2007
 

Jean

How can you call it an easy ingredient list when the silver balls have to be smuggled into California?

October 31, 2007
 

Do they? I pulled these out of my "sprinkles" box. You know, you could use just about anything for the eyes - or even little dabs of chocolate after they are baked. Be creative. -h

October 31, 2007
 

I love those.

Thanks for the chuckle. Those guys (or gals) are truly adorable...

October 31, 2007
 

Those are freaky cute. I'm breaking out the egg whites to let them get to room temp. now--and will take these to a party tonight. Thanks!

October 31, 2007
 

Awww, those little guys are really sweet!

I love they way they are all looking in different directions! If I was staying in for the trick or treaters I would make some now...

October 31, 2007
 

Cute spooky meringues, they kind of look like Michelin doll ;-)

October 31, 2007
 

Heidi, these are very cute, but you could also try making Mexican sugar skulls, they are in my book The Mexican Mama's Kitchen! I want to get your book and maybe I could send you mine. Would you like to exchange books? Problem is... I am in London. Great Blog. Sofia Larrinua-Craxton
www.fiestasofia.co.uk http://fiestasofia.blogs.com

October 31, 2007
 

Ah, how cute! Perfect to get into the Halloween spirit.

October 31, 2007
 

Wow, these have got to be the cutest ghosts I've ever seen!! I will really try to make these tonight!!!

October 31, 2007
 

Those are frickin' hysterical.

We just carved our jack-o-lantern and I'm making your butter and black tea pumpkin seeds again tonight. I can rarely remember specific recipes a year later, but those are really addictive, and thus memorable. They aren't for the easily distracted, though: I do find that when toasting in butter one has to watch the seeds carefully so they don't burn. But they're worth the effort of attention.

October 31, 2007
 

Diane

Not just in california, we don't have them in Washington either.
The good news? You can order them online.
Too late for this recipe, but I like them on Christmas cookies as well.
Try here: http://www.kitchenkrafts.com/product.asp?pn=IN0285-GLD

October 31, 2007
 

Cute, cute, cute.

You could re-cycle those guys as snow men around Christmas, you know.

October 31, 2007
 

Diane

Nevermind about ordering them. I just saw that they won't deliver to California.
That has to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard..

October 31, 2007
 

Probably the best Halloween baking idea I've seen all season. I love that they don't have 4,000 calories.

October 31, 2007
 

So adorable! Not something one should say about ghosts, right?:)

October 31, 2007
 

I love how dipping their bases in chocolate makes them sort of look like they're floating just off the surface of whatever you set them on! It's amazing that you didn't brown these at all like baking. I can't wait to try these!

October 31, 2007
 

Those are WAY too cute! Alas, I tried to find dragees or at least dragee substitute at Sur la Table in the Ferry Bldg a few weeks ago and I was subjected to a very long lecture about why they are illegal. grrr.

October 31, 2007
 

Very cute! And I happen to have dragees brought back from Portugal :)

October 31, 2007
 

Maria

OK, those are the CUUUUTEST little ghosts ever. Seriously. If I wasn't in the middle of moving, I'd be making some tonight. But they're going on the Christmas baking list... as little snowmen of course!

October 31, 2007
 

Very nice recipe, I would try it but I don't have pastry bag and mixer. But I'm saving link for next year. Thank you for sharing and Happy Halloween!
Margot

October 31, 2007
 

Mazie

Mini chocolate chips work in place of the dragees.

October 31, 2007
 

Ginger

How cute!
After loving your website for a long time, I finally got your cookbooks from Amazon this week. They totally surpassed my (high) expectations! They are beautiful and the writing is so clear and pleasant. I really love the style of Cook 1.0 - all the variations. You are awesome!!

October 31, 2007
 

This is such a playful picture. Love it!

October 31, 2007
 

they are soooo adorable!

October 31, 2007
 

Christi

These are adorable and so easy! Thank you, I'm going to have my kids help me make a batch of these tonight since they're too old to go trick-or-treating but too young to go to most parties either. You've saved the night, Heidi, thanks!

October 31, 2007
 

So cute can't wait to share this with my neices.

October 31, 2007
 

Lillianne

In this scary world of ghosts and goblins and terrorists lurking around every corner someone please tell me why dragees are illegal?

October 31, 2007
 

LOVE them - that is so cute!! your photograph makes them even better!

October 31, 2007
 

Renee

@ EB: why are they illegal?? Some people seem to know but aren't sharing. This issue has turned me from a lurker to a commenter I'm so curious.

October 31, 2007
 

 

Heidi

I'm not sure what is more disturbing, that they could be toxic, or that mine must be more than a few years old....

What about the "luster dust"? I suspect I should look into that more closely as well. Not that I ever use it, but that was alongside the silver balls too.

On a sidenote, I eventually found all-natural food coloring that I like alot, I'll keep an eye our for alt dragees.

October 31, 2007
 

how awesome are these. thanks for sharing, Heidi!

October 31, 2007
 

That is great looking food. I have been always in favor to make food fun.

October 31, 2007
 

Those are too darn cute! You are one creative lady. I wonder how I could make those raw??? Oh, I'm inspired. I enjoy your sight Heidi.

October 31, 2007
 

Christy

What do you do if your meringues refuse to cook? I'm not sure if it's the humidity in Missouri, but I have made meringues before and cooked the wretched things for hours, and they have refused to go beyond the gummy stage, until suddenly they're nasty and brown and overly crispy. I used to live in Montana and never had that problem.

October 31, 2007
 

AAAAAHHHHH!!!

Lol, no seriously - Very cute.

October 31, 2007
 

These little ghosts are soooo cute !
Happy Halloween to you!
I so enjoy your site!
Cheers!

October 31, 2007
 

How ORIGINAL! I just discovered your talent and you blog!

October 31, 2007
 

Oh my.... toooo cute Heidi!! Will have to give these a go this weekend!!! I love it! I LOVE it!! You are so darn creative!!

October 31, 2007
 

Oh my word, these are so adorable!!

October 31, 2007
 

Jean

Thanks for the link Diane. I had them smuggled in from Canada one time but ordering on line is easier!

October 31, 2007
 

I love meringues, and was actually planning on making them this week before I even saw your post! It looks great, I just have one question: does the cream of tartar speed up the cooking process? Usually I thought you cooked meringues for 2 hours, at least, if you were cooking at 200 degrees. But I'd never used cream of tartar before. 30 minutes sounds a lot better!

November 1, 2007
 

very creative, heidi! :)
love the little ghoasts!

November 1, 2007
 

How cute are those. I love the second picture of the little ghosty on his own. He looks all lost. Very sweet.

November 1, 2007
 

SO, so cute. And I agree about the snowmen thing... these might have to be treats for my niece and nephew at Christmastime.

November 1, 2007
 

Mara

That's some of the cutest food I've ever seen. Also some of my favorite photos on this blog, which is saying a lot because all the photos here are excellent.

November 1, 2007
 

Reminds me of a comic book I read as a child (3 Ghosts?, Friendly Ghosts? Casper?) Mon mari loves merangues - and I've never made them. I missed Halloween but I think I'll try them for Christmas...snowmen, er, I mean Snow People!

November 1, 2007
 

Now that's just too cute! Thanks :-)

November 1, 2007
 

I LOVE them - so cute and yet so delectable. Now if only my oven weren't on the fritz I could have my own wee ghost army on my counter top!

November 1, 2007
 

charlotte s

absolutely adorable!!!!

November 1, 2007
 

Mrs Redboots

Oh, those are charming! But sadly, my oven won't make meringues - I've tried and tried and they just go gooey. My mother (who makes them nearly every month, very successfully) says you can't make them in a gas oven. Sigh!

November 1, 2007
 

Heidi, these are TOO CUTE!!! So festive for Halloween :0)

November 1, 2007
 

I am so loving these litle ghosts! I am bookmarking them for next year!

November 1, 2007
 

HotGurl

Whoa, thats a lot of comments. Everyone keeps saying that theyre sooo cute, which they are. Hmm... maybe I could work in some food colouring...

November 1, 2007
 

Too cute!

November 1, 2007
 

Hi Heidi, I just read the Millet bake recipe (your previous entry), but the comment space was not there,hence the comment here. Bake with millet...wow! Thats inspiring. Enjoyed reading the post...whitman's book looks really good...will check it out. Enjoying reading your book at the present. Always a pleasure.

November 1, 2007
 

Collins Allando

So wonderful and eye-catching. I wish I learnt how to make them.

November 2, 2007
 

These are just *gorgeous*. What a great idea!

November 2, 2007
 

so cute~

hehe

November 2, 2007
 

Rachel

These ghouls are great, I've just found your site, and fell in love with it!!
Thank you for some great inspiration.
My only problem now is finding the time to go through all of your past entries!!
Thanks again!

November 2, 2007
 

I was going to add for those that observe Dia de los Muertos, you can shape these into skulls for a quick Calacas treat [as Sofia indicated above, doing sugar skulls]. The possibilities to attach them to a sugary base stops at your imagination really.

November 2, 2007
 

Larissa

Can we use regular field pumpkins (Jack-O-Lanterns) to cook/eat? Do they taste good? Or do I need to use other types of pumpkins?

Thanks

November 2, 2007
 

Rickie Beth

I made these this morning for a belated Halloween celebration and they're perfect in every way! I'm awful with a pastry bag but even I managed to make adorable little ghosties, although I admit that I had to smooth down the little points on top of each one that almost made my cookies look more like KKK members than delightful treats -- whoops. I dipped some of the cookies in dark chocolate and the rest in orange-tinted white chocolate for some extra festivity. Thanks for the great recipe and ideas!

November 2, 2007
 

Diny

Does anyone know if meringue would work with splenda? I'm dying to make these, but want to be able to eat them also!

November 2, 2007
 

They are so cute Heidi!! defintely not spooky:) I love the texture that you've given them..very creative indeed:) I made spider cupcakes for halloween, and i think they came out well for me:)

-Mansi

November 2, 2007
 

Not only are they incredibly adorable, but they're just sooo simple!

November 2, 2007
 

Leah

I don't really like meringues all that much... to sweet and slightly chalkey. But, with that said, these little ghosts are so cute I can't resist. You are the BEST, Heidi!

November 2, 2007
 

Leah

I don't really like meringues all that much... to sweet and slightly chalkey. But, with that said, these little ghosts are so cute I can't resist. You are the BEST, Heidi!

November 2, 2007
 

Morgan

wow!! this is a great food to make!!!!! it tastes so good to!!! i think you should use the dark chocolate. it makes it taste a whole lot better.
a five star food!!!!!

November 3, 2007
 

Adorable! And, maybe with a candy corn nose and some candy buttons these little ghosts could make for cute Christmas snowmen :-)

November 3, 2007
 

Such a great picture and idea! I made them for a friend but the problem I had was that they didn't stay so beautifully white but went a kind of salmon colour ;-( would you have any suggestions how I could prevent that?

November 4, 2007
 

Kelly

Oooh, these are so tasty-looking and cute! Do you think snowmen could be made in the same way? (Is the meringue stiff enough to hold the snowman shape?)

November 4, 2007
 

I'm going to try to pick off a couple of these questions before I shut down the comments on this post.

Eva, not sure what is happening there, maybe your oven racks are too high up in the oven and they are talking on color that way - or your oven temp could be off altogether? I'll leave the comments open a bit longer in case anyone else has thoughts on this.

Kelly & co, yes, you could just as easily do snowmen (with pretzel arms??!) could be cute. Maybe I could host a meringue snowman contest on Flickr or something ;) for all the people who want to make them for the holidays.

Glad some of you were able to try this one!


-h

November 4, 2007
 

YOU DONOT GET HALF THE THINGS EASYLY IN INDIA BUT......

November 6, 2007
 

Jon

Heidi, you mention making trees and candy canes with this same recipe. Does that mean food coloring can be added? I have no experience with meringues, but like everyone else has said, these are so temptingly cute...

November 7, 2007
 

I love those they make me want more and more I could DIE for those little ghosts !!!!!!!!

November 7, 2007
 

to the gas-oven lady: yep, you can do meringues in gas ovens, just make sure the temperature is low enough and you keep them closer to the bottom. also be sure to rotate 'em so some of them don't get brown on one side. good luck!

November 9, 2007
 

oh, and i forgot: i think you can add food coloring in the beginning stages, just mix it into the unbeaten egg whites. i would definitely use as little as possible, though, and if you can get yourself to a supply store go with the gel paste (or perhaps even the powder? heidi, have you tried that?) instead of the supermarket-watery junk. the gel pastes are concentrated and come in an enormous array of colors. if anyone tries it let me know how it goes!

heidi, gorgeous pictures and lovely site, thanks.

November 9, 2007
 

Amber

Thats so cutie. I;m giong to try to make them myself, but there is no way i can do that. That sounds really good.

November 9, 2007
 

uraqtmel

I didn't get to use this for Halloween, but I thought of a cool alternative to this recipe for those of us who still want to try it before next Halloween. You could possibly add some green food coloring to the recipe and make Christmas trees. Then, sprinkle some confectioner's sugar over it to look like snow.

November 10, 2007