Meringue is one of those things that is simple and yet complicated at the same time. You need to understand some baking science to be successful, but really it’s nothing difficult. I found a great webpage that explained things really well. The only thing I altered was to whisk the first two stages by hand. My mixer wasn’t really getting all the whites off the bottom of the bowl, so starting off with a hand whisk gave me the volume I needed to continue on with the remaining steps.
Yield: makes 18–24 cookies depending on the size
3 lg egg whites ( be very sure that no yolk remains in the whites, the fat will prevent the whites from peaking correctly)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
scant 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (egg whites benefit from a small bit of acid to help them whip right)
A piping bag (cake decorating bag)
baking sheets lined with either parchment or silpat liners
Wilton Black Sparkle decorating gel
Separate the whites from the yolks. Save the yolks in the fridge for another recipe. Let whites rest on counter until room temperature. Place in a very clean, dry bowl of a mixer. Beat at a low speed until whites look frothy & cloudy.
Increase mixing speed to medium and add the cream of tartar.
Mix until whites reach soft peak stage. The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites droop slightly, when the beater is turned off and lifted.
Increase mixer speed to high. Add the sugar at this stage. I added it at a steady stream on the inside edge of the bowl. Beat until firm peaks form. The egg white foam will become smooth, moist and shiny. Stop the beaters and then lift them — straight peaks should form.
Now continue beating on high until stiff peaks are formed. Whites will be very stiff and glossy. Make sure they are complete to this stage if you want defined peaks at the top of your cookies.
Refer to the webpage mentioned above to see step by step photos of each stage.
If you need a guide for the size of the meringues, use parchment and draw 1 inch circles in pencil on one side of the parchment. They can be as close as an inch apart as the meringue doesn’t spread as it bakes. Flip the parchment over and place on the baking sheet. You should be able to see the pencil lines through the parchment.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
I find that for these ghosts, just using the opening of the piping bag instead of a decorating tip worked best.
Scoop the meringue into the piping bag.
Close and pipe circles onto the parchment, filling to fit the circles. Pipe out the meringue in the shape of little ghosts. Pull up at the end to make the peak. The tips should look like chocolate kisses. Just practice to get this shape. The not-perfect ones still taste delicious, and the variety gives the ghosts personality!
When all meringue is used or pans are filled, place into the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Don’t peek! Let set on pans for a few hours after done baking before decorating. They are a little fragile, especially at the tip, but so yummy!
When cooled, add eyes and a mouth using decorating gel. Make them different looking to give the ghosts some charm!