Meringue cookies are one of my children’s favorites. They are light as air with a satisfying crunch and delicate flavor. They are also perfect for kids with food allergies, like my sweet boy, as they are gluten free, nut free and dairy free. I’ve made these meringue bones and ghosts for the last few years at Halloween and they are a favorite among family and friends, which is why I wanted to share them with you all.
4 egg whites, at room temperature, preferably organic
1 cup granulated sugar, superfine sugar would be ideal
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Nielsen-Massey
How to use them:
Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper, I prefer the all natural, unbleached variety. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium low speed to “warm” them up. Once a little frothy, approximately 2 minutes, add in the cream of tartar and salt.Turn up the speed to medium high and whisk until soft peaks form, approximately 2 minutes. Then turn the speed down to medium low and gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form and all of the sugar has dissolved. One technique to test this is by rubbing a bit of the meringue between your fingers and if it feels gritty, it means that the sugar has not dissolved completely and you will need to keep whisking. This process usually takes about 5 minutes. After 2 minutes the meringue will begin to take shape and you can see a trail that the whisk leaves behind. It will also begin to turn glossy and shiny. At the end of the 5 minutes it will transform into a stiff, perfect meringue and ready to pipe. At this stage, you add in the vanilla and whisk on medium high just until it has been incorporated.
Place meringue in a piping bag with a plain round tip or a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and make a small cut in a corner of the bag.Pipe the meringue into bone shapes by making a figure 8, then a straight line down into another figure 8 and then back up into another straight line on top of the previous one.Bake at 200° for 1½ hours or until firm and lifts off the parchment paper very easily. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door, allowing the meringues to cool completely in the oven.My favorite way to serve these is to crumble up 2 cups of chocolate cookies and toss with 2 tablespoons of cocoa. I layer half of the mixture in a platter and top with the bones. I then “bury” them with the remainder of the cookie crumbs.You can also pipe the meringue into ghost shapes as well by simply piping into a mound by holding tip straight up, perpendicular to the baking sheet, and piping while slowly lifting up. The ghost faces can be made by piping dots of melted chocolate on the mergingue cookies for the eyes and mouth.The meringue cookies may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.