Halloween is around the corner and in this tutorial you will learn how to make perfect meringue kisses that can be turned into meringue ghosts! BOOOOOO!!!!
Meringue Ghosts are naturally gluten-free, in fact the recipe using only a few ingredients you probably already have at home. Having said that, it is not the one cup this, half cup that type of recipe. This Meringue Ghost recipe is not difficult, however similarly to most meringue based recipes, it needs attention, accuracy and a bit of practice.
There are a 2 typical visual mistakes one can make while baking meringue. You won´t make either of these if you follow the tutorial below
- Meringue has cracks – so many people claim to have the meringue recipe and many of these are full of cracks, some even broken into half. It’s a big NO! I will take you through bellow on all the necessary details you have to know to avoid cracks on your meringue
- Meringue is browning – another typical mistake caused by quite obviously too high oven temperature. Still, so many recipes out there state high oven temperate, well not this one!
First let’s start with some important notes regarding the ingredients of this Meringue Ghost recipe
- read the recipe carefully
- avoid using substitutes unless aware of how to fully reformulate the recipe in order to keep the balance in texture as well as flavours
- measure your ingredients with the help of a digital kitchen scale
- Egg white: That is the base of meringue. Make sure you use fresh egg whites which are absolutely free from any sort of fat (e.g. egg yolk). If you get some egg yolk into the egg white, start again. Believe me, you can’t make a successful meringue with that batch unfortunately. After the egg white whipped up until stiff, shiny peaks, it is important to pipe relatively fast and place the meringue into the oven as soon as possible. On room temperature, especially on a warm day, the meringue starts to loose its volume quickly
- Sugar: There are a couple of important notes regarding the sugar
- No.1. If you have tried any of my recipes before you must have realized that I am not using an excessive amount of sugar. Instead, I am all about balancing flavours and let them shy. However, in case of this recipe we need a lot of sugar to keep the structural integrity of the meringue. Sugar in this case is not really a sweetener but more like a glue, if it makes sense?
- No.2. There are a few ways to prepare meringue. I have a French meringue based pavlova recipe in which case you whisk egg whites while gradually adding the sugar. In case of French meringue technique, strictly superfine sugar is used that has smaller crystals than regular granulated sugar therefore dissolves quickly while beating up the egg white into meringue.
- No.3. In this recipe I am using Swiss meringue technique that means that I heat egg whites and sugar over a gently simmering water bath until sugar fully dissolves then remove the mixture from the water bath and beat until stiff, shiny peaks. This method does not require superfine sugar, granulated is totally fine. I know a lot of people struggle with French meringue so decided to share this recipe using Swiss meringue
- Cream of tartar (optional): It helps stabilise whipped egg whites and prevents sugar from crystallising. If you are an experienced baker and perfectly know how to make meringue perhaps you can leave it out. I did not use it in this recipe simply because I run out of it. If you are using it, add 1/2 teaspoon
- White Vinegar (optional): Similar function as cream of tartar, it’s all about the perfect meringue! The final baked meringue won’t taste vinegar, I promise! This recipe is using 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar added to the mixture just before piping
- Cornstarch (optional): It helps to achieve the marshmallow centre and again, stabilise the meringue. I did not use for this recipe, if you are using it, you will need to add 1 teaspoon just before piping along with vinegar
Let’s continue with 5 tips about the technique of this Meringue Ghost recipe
1. How to make Swiss meringue for this Meringue Ghost recipe
Whipping egg white is probably the most important step of making this recipe. Make sure you use fresh egg white that is absolutely free from any sort of fat (e.g. egg yolk). If you get some egg yolk into the egg white in the process of separating, start again.
First prepare your double boiler and heat egg whites and sugar until sugar fully dissolves, this will take about 5 minutes. Then move the egg white sugar mixture into your mixer and start whipping it.
While whipping egg white start on low speed then increase gradually. If you are using cream of tartar, you should use it at this point. It is very handy to use a Stand mixer for this recipe, as with hand mixer it can take way too long to reach the desired consistency. Whipping meringue in stand mixer takes about 5-10 minutes.
Speaking about consistency, is very important that you whip egg white until stiff, shiny peaks since you will need to pipe the meringue and that requires stable consistency.
If you are using vinegar and/or cornstarch, you must add the vinegar after whipping egg white and before piping.
2. How to pipe Meringue Ghosts
First and foremost it is important that you have your baking tray with parchment paper prepared ahead. After your meringue is ready there is no time to wonder around. I find this quantity takes a whole tray of meringue kisses and in general I recommend to pipe a few different sizes from smaller ones to larger ones. For piping I used 1A Round nozzle tip , it’s the most basic round nozzle tip worth buying if you don´t already have one.
3. What is the right temperature to bake Meringue ghosts
Have your oven pre-heated as always.
Apart from inappropriate meringue technique the most common mistake with meringue is baking it on too high temperature which results in browned, cracked surface. While baking meringue basically we have to think more like drying than baking. I used to bake meringue on 100C but now went down to 85C-90C and that is what I recommend to you as well. Dry them in this low temperature for 90 minutes then leave the door open very slightly (1cm) and let them rest and cool down in the oven.
Please note that on a warm or humid day meringue loses its structure on room temperature and might gets sticky. That is unfortunately normal so make sure you do not leave them out in the humid kitchen for days.
One other important thing to consider is your REAL oven temperature. What do I mean on that? Check my oven for example:
16C / 60F difference is huge (and not unusual), it results in an increasing baking time of an extra 10-15 minutes for a cake. For meringue, which is baked on really low temperature, inappropriate baking temperature can cause a real disaster. I can not highlight enough how important to get to know your own oven and purchase an inexpensive digital oven thermometer. It might not solve all the problem in the world but certainly will increase the chances to become a more successful home baker.
4. How to decorate Meringue ghosts
First, wait meringue kisses to cool down completely in the oven then start melting dark chocolate in microwave. Feel free to use some extra black food coloring. I used a brush but you can achieve similar results even with a toothpick. It is so much fun, I just love the process as these beautiful meringue kisses turn out to be spooky meringue ghosts! They are adorable and scary at the same time for me!
5. What equipment you need to bake this Meringue Ghost recipe
Not much equipment is needed it make this Meringue Ghost recipe, however there are a few basics.
As mentioned above a Stand mixer will make your life easier so I definitely recommend using that for preparing meringue. With hand mixer, simply it would take way too long.
Rubber spatula is really a must for a Home Baker at any level. Whenever a recipe states “folding” we mean “with a rubber spatula” to avoid breaking the batter. This method is extra important while handling meringue so you definitely need one.
For piping I used 1A Round nozzle tip , it’s the most basic round nozzle tip worth investing into.
STAY UPDATEDSubscribe to my recipes, sweet tips & latest travel news.
Now let´s see the recipe of this Meringue Ghost!
- 60 g Egg whites approx. whites of 2 eggs
- 100 g Granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Cream of tartar optional
- 1 teaspoon Corn starch optional
- 1/2 teaspoon White vinegar optional
- 30 g Chocolate dark
- Black food colouring
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Make sure all the equipment are absolutely clean and dry, any small fat or even a tiny bit of egg yolk can ruin the meringue
- Pre-heat oven to 90 C / 194°F, line baking tray with parchment paper. Make sure about your REAL oven temperature and use a Digital oven thermometer if you can
- Stir egg white with sugar over double boiler on medium heat until sugar fully dissolves. This can take about 5 minutes
- Once sugar dissolved remove the mixture from the double boiler and start whisking in a Stand mixer with cream of tartar (optional). Start on low speed and increase gradually
- Whisk the meringue on high speed until it becomes glossy and achieve stiff peaks. The meringue is ready when it has shiny, stiff peaks, check it once every minute towards the end
- Once the mixture ready immediately but gently fold in white vinegar (optional) and corn starch (optional) with the help of a Rubber spatula, be careful not to deflate the meringue
- Bake for 90 min, do not open the oven door
- When the meringue is baked, open the door slightly (1 cm) and let them cool down in the oven for at least an hour.
- Melt chocolate and mix in black food coloring
- Once meringue kisses cooled down decorate with a brush or toothpick
- Meringue can get sticky and loses its firm shape in a warm or humid kitchen easily so store in cool, dry place.