Help: Making Meringue
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- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 4 large egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- About 48 Mini Chocolate Chips, for eyes
- In a small-size heavy-bottomed pan, stir together the sugar and water. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting on a gas stove or remove from the heat on an electric stove to stop the cooking while egg whites are prepared.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and salt and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the saucepan with the sugar mixture, raise the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook the sugar mixture, without stirring, until it reaches a temperature of 236 degrees, a soft ball stage. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 236 degrees F, Immediately remove pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer. Immediately start pouring the hot sugar mixture, in a thin steady stream, into the beaten egg whites, while beating with an electric mixer at high speed. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it. Continue beating the egg whites about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, slowly add the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and continue beating until the egg whites are cooled, shiny, and stiff, about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Spoon meringue into a pastry bag with a large star decorating tip with an opening about ¾ inches to pipe the meringue. Hold the pastry bag close to the parchment paper-lined pan and pipe ghosts 2 to 3 inches high.
- Decoration: Gently press 2 mini chocolate chips, flat side out, towards the top of each ghost for the eyes.
- Place pans in oven and bake 2 hours. At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat and leave the meringue ghosts in the oven at least 2 hours to cool and finish drying out.
- Meringue ghosts are best served the day they are made as meringue attracts moisture and becomes sticky the longer it sits. If you want make the ghosts in advance, store in an airtight container at room temperature.