It’s simple – just egg whites and sugar.
But the result is crisp and airy, a lightly sweetened, fat-free foam that can be molded into spooky shapes just in time for Halloween.
Haphazard mounds of light and fluffy meringue make pudgy and perfectly-lopsided little ghosts. With a package of wooden craft sticks, the mixture can become a series of meringue ghost pops. Pipe the confection into bone-shaped treats or shapes that resemble other body parts.
Bloodshot-looking meringue eyeballs, anyone? What about crooked or bloody fingers? Perhaps an entire skeleton?
Whatever shape you choose, meringues make a melt-in-your mouth addition to your back-to-basics, homemade Halloween.
Once the ghosts are cooled, children might enjoy drawing faces on the ghouls with melted chocolate, black icing or an edible marker. Or, they might try using icing to glue chocolate chips, silver sugar balls or other kinds of candy or sprinkles for eyes.
Baking chocolate chips into the meringue gets mixed results. The chips sometimes pop out of the meringue mixture during the baking process. This gives the ghosts a zombie look instead of the cute and happy Casper-type face.
When piping the ghosts, hold the bag perpendicular to the parchment-lined baking sheet and apply even pressure, pumping the mixture until the mounds are about 2 inches tall.
If the taste of egg whites and sugar alone doesn’t whet your appetite, add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, almond, coconut or lemon extract, folding it into the foamy mixture for a hint of flavor. (Double the amount for stronger flavor.)
You might even be tempted to revisit the recipe in December – for snowmen.
The recipe comes from the 2004 special Halloween issue of Martha Stewart magazine. It can be found at www.marthastewart.com/ 342498/sweet-bones. I added lemon and almond extract to different batches to experiment with flavoring.
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture feels warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Return bowl to mixer, and fit mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain round tip.
Pipe bone shapes, each 5 to 6 inches long, onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Make meringue bones using one continuous motion: Begin by piping a horizontal S shape at top. Continue piping meringue downward in a straight line to form the middle of the bone. Repeat until all of the meringue is used up.
Bake until crisp throughout, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Meringues can be baked up to 3 days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature.