It's the day before Halloween, and I realize in the eleventh hour there is a school party tomorrow. I'm an advocate for the kids with food allergies and sensitivities. (I always pause when I write or read "food sensitivity" because the symptoms caused by the food can be intense and deserve a stronger word than "sensitive"). In our school there are many foods that kids can't eat. So, my goal is zero gluten, dairy, soy, and nuts.
A quick search on Pinterest for ideas, and I'm ready to make Meringue Ghosts for a fun twist. I'm off to the kitchen to develop my recipe based on past experience and what I have in the pantry today, which might be a problem as I'm out of regular white sugar...
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Nut-Free (makes about 30)
- pastry bag fitted with plain, large tip (or zip bag with corner cut at bottom)
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- mini chocolate chips www.enjoylifefoods.com
- Separate egg yolks from egg whites while eggs are cold as it's easier. Let whites warm up a bit before you make the meringue as room-temperature whites whip up easier. Yolks are healthy, says David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain, so save them for another purpose.
To ensure a stable meringue, use a paper towel to wipe a small amount of white vinegar around the inside of the whipping bowl to make it squeaky clean.
1. Preheat oven to 200ºF. Place oven rack in middle position. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Add egg whites to prepared bowl and whip with a mixer on high until frothy. Add lemon juice. While mixer is running, slowly add sugar just a bit at a time, allowing egg whites to absorb the sugar. Meringue is ready when mixture becomes glossy and stiff.
3. Put meringue into pastry bag. Dab a bit of meringue on the underside corners of the parchment paper to keep it in place while you are piping out shapes (this will glue down the paper to sheet pan).
4. Pipe ghost-shaped blobs about 2 inches wide close together on parchment paper (they keep their shape and won't spread while cooking). Place 2 mini chocolate chips on each ghost for eyes. Put sheet pan in oven and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven. Leave pan in oven with door slightly ajar for at least 2 hours to allow meringues to cool, dry, and have a great crunch.