I love, love, love Halloween. Every year as a child I'd dress up as a witch, and it never got old. Actually, it still hasn't. But while my costume-wearing days are becoming fewer and fewer, my delight in Halloween parties and party food has not waned.
Take these adorable mini ghost meringues, for example. I first made them the year after I graduated from college, when my three roommates and I threw a major Halloween bash, and I'm planning on making them again next week for a potluck with some friends. Whether you're organizing a spooktacular extravaganza or a wickedly fun get-together with a few close pals, these ghoulishly cute ghost meringues will do just the trick (or treat!).
6 ounces ultrafine sugar
3 egg whites
1/2 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
You'll find that there are loads of different meringue recipes to be found online. I like Delia Smith's method-it's simple, you can make them ahead of time, and you'll end up with wonderfully crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, perfectly cooked meringues.
Start by measuring out the sugar, preheating your oven to 300°F, and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Next, separate the yolks from the whites and place into a large clean bowl. I like to use the eggshell method: Crack the egg on the side of a bowl or on your counter, divide the egg into two halves and then move the yolk from one shell to another as the egg white falls into the bowl below.
It's really important that you don't get any yolk into the white, so usually I do this over a smaller bowl, and then once I've successfully separated the white from the yolk, I pour the white into the bigger bowl that I'm going to beat all the whites in. Trust me, you don't want to mess up on your last egg and have to start over, so this additional step is well worth your while! You can use your yolks later for a pot de crème or spaghetti carbonara if you feel bad about wasting them.
Whisk your egg whites (using either a hand or stand beater fitted with the whisk attachment) until you can lift the bowl upside down and the mixture doesn't slide out. I know, risky! But this is what my mum used to tell me when I kept asking her if they were done yet. I think they call this the "soft peak" stage in the culinary world. Then, while still beating, slowly start to add your sugar. I suggest no more than a spoonful at a time, making sure each spoonful is well incorporated before you continue to the next.
Once the sugar is mixed in, spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. I'm hopeless when it comes to filling these bags, so it usually ends up being a really messy affair! If you don't have a piping bag handy, just grab a large Ziploc and snip one of the corners off (about 1/4 inch). Grab the baking sheet and start piping alternating rows of small disks and then small squiggly shapes that somewhat resemble ghosts. Don't worry if they're not uniform-part of the charm is the different shapes the ghosts end up taking.
Place the meringues into the oven, immediately turn the temperature down to 275°F, and bake for 30 minutes. Then, turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry out as the oven cools. It's really handy to make these at night since you can turn off the oven and go to bed, and then in the morning, you'll have perfectly baked meringues waiting for you when you wake up. And, yes, they are a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Before you assemble your ghosts, first whip up some cream. It's really easy-you just take some cold whipping cream, pour it into a bowl and beat with a hand or standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until it's thick and creamy. Oh, and start on "low" so you don't end up with whipped cream all over yourself!
Place the dark chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. If they're not fully melted just stir them a little-the residual heat should take care of the rest. Then, dip the stubby end of a toothpick into the melted chocolate and decorate the meringues with ghostly faces. Once the chocolate has set, take a meringue disk, top with a small spoonful of whipped cream, then top with a ghost. I love all the different personalities the ghosts take on!
Ghoulishly fabulous, don't you think? This recipe will make approximately 20 mini ghost meringues. Here are a few more of my favorite online Halloween tricks and treats for you to scare yourself silly with:
- Scary Apples: A more spooky, grown-up version of your basic caramel apple. Plus, it will bring back childhood memories of the evil queen from Snow White.
- Mummy Dogs: Pigs 'n a Blanket, Halloween style-a definite crowd pleaser. You could use puff pastry instead of Phyllo dough and save yourself some effort.
- Chocolate Spider Web Cake in a Jar: The chocolate web on top of the mason jar is simply spooktacular. Mason Jars! Halloween! Together!
- Spooky Spiders Eggs: These give me the heebie jeebies just looking at them. But I'd still eat one.
- I Scream Sandwitches: Everything about these is cute. The name. The actual "witches." The choice of mint chip ice cream. Martha is my hero. That is all.
This article was originally published onThe Daily Muse. For more delicious recipes, check out:
Mason Jar Salads
Cupcakes in a Jar
The Easiest Homemade Granola
About the author: Niki Lowry is Director of Company Relations and Partnerships at The Daily Muse. After graduating from Cal, she spent a couple of years traveling and working (Ireland - NY- OC) before finally making it back to San Francisco to pursue a career in business and marketing. An avid fan of handwritten thank you notes, Niki also loves fresh flowers for any occasion, the sound of being underwater, and she firmly believes ketchup bottles do not belong on the breakfast table. When she's not Musing, you can find her on her blog, wandering around the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or with her nose in a ridiculously addicting YA book. Say hi on Twitter @nikilowry.