DIVAS ON A DIME: Meringue ghost cookies so easy it’s scaryBy Patti Diamond — October 27, 2022
Meringue is a light, airy and beautifully sweet French dessert made from stiffly whipped egg whites and sugar. Many people think it’s a very difficult and temperamental technique, yet it’s actually quite simple. When you see how easy and inexpensive this is, you’ll never buy meringues from the bakery again!
To make our adorable little ghost cookies, we need hard meringues. This is meringue that has been baked in an oven. They are solid to the touch and light as air. They can shatter when you bite into them, then dissolve pleasingly on the tongue. Hard meringue can be eaten as a confection, a cookie or used as a base for other desserts.
Making meringue is easiest with a stand mixer, but I’ve used a hand mixer with no trouble. I wouldn’t try to whisk meringues by hand; it’s too much work for a Diva.
It’s extremely important to keep the yolks separate from the whites. Any fat from egg yolk will prevent egg whites from beating properly.
To avoid an accident, use the three-bowl method. Separate each egg white into a cup or small bowl before transferring the yolk to a second bowl and the whites to a third bowl. Use any white that has even a speck of yolk in it for another purpose.
It’s easiest to separate eggs when they’re cold, but let the whites come to room temperature before using.
FRENCH MERINGUE COOKIES
Yield: 36 cookies
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer (or a metal or glass bowl with a hand mixer). Use the whisk attachment on high speed and whip eggs until they hold soft peaks.
Reducing the speed to medium and whisking constantly, add sugar 2 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until sugar is well dissolved before adding the next. Continue beating until whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks. Add vanilla and blend one final time.
Aiming for around 2 tablespoons per cookie, pipe or spoon your meringue onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
To create ghosts, with a piping bag and a large round tip, use a motion like making a soft serve ice cream cone. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a zip-top bag with a small corner cut off. That’s what I used for the photo. Easy!
Bake for 30 minutes then turn the oven off. Leave them there until completely dry, between one and two hours. Another name for meringue cookies is “Forgotten Cookies,” as they can be left in an oven for long periods of time after the cooking is done.
To decorate as ghosts, use melted chocolate and a toothpick to draw faces.
Warning! Cooked meringues cannot be refrigerated or they will become soggy like cardboard. But they will keep for at least a week if you store them in an airtight container.
Now that you know how to make meringue, there are so many ways to enjoy it. For example, little one-bite meringues are called kisses and are eaten as a sweet little confection. They are often made with chopped nuts, cherries or coconut. Alternatively, you can shape them into dessert shells that you fill with ice cream, custard, whipped cream or fruit.
Enjoy your fru-ghoul and fa-boo-lous ghosts, and happy Halloween!
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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