Dress up Meringue Cookies for Halloween by turning them into ghosts! These light and airy cookies have a crisp exterior and can be customized based on your favorite extract. I used lemon, but almond and peppermint extracts would also add a nice touch. Egg whites are beaten with cream of tartar, sugar, vanilla extract, desired other extract, and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. The mixture is piped onto prepared baking sheets in a ghost-like shape, then slowly baked until dried on the outside. Don’t pull them out of the oven too soon! They need to finish drying in a turned off oven to help develop that crisp shell and prevent cracking.
I decorated faces on the ghosts using melted chocolate. I also liked the idea from My Friend’s Bakery of using a fine tipped paintbrush and black paste food coloring to create more detailed expressions.
I used a finely granulated sugar to help it blend into the egg whites better. If you can’t find it, the fine texture can be made at home by pulsing granulated sugar in the food processor or blender a few times.
As soon as the meringues are cooled, store them in an airtight container. They will begin to soften with exposure to moisture and humidity. With proper storage, they will last for about a week at room temperature or a month in the freezer.
Adapted from Creme De La Crumb
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond, lemon, or peppermint extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
In a large bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. While beating on high speed, slowly add the sugar until stiff peaks form. Mix in the extracts and salt.
Fit a pastry bag with a large, round tip. Add the stiff meringue mixture. Pipe mounds of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet by holding the bag straight above the sheet. Lightly squeeze and release a few times to make 3-4 layers for the ghosts. Repeat to fill the baking sheets with ghosts about 1 inch apart.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, but keep the meringues in the closed oven for another 1 1/2 hours, until the outsides are dry to touch.
In a microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments or in a double broiler, melt the chocolate chips until smooth. Transfer the chocolate to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip or a ziplock bag with a small piece of the corner snipped off. Use the chocolate to draw faces on the ghosts.
Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.