I’m normally not one to decorate for decoration’s sake. Part of this is because I suck at the aesthetics. I was not blessed with an overabundance of artistic skill. When it comes to drawing, I peaked at stick men (side note: I did write my own stick man comics in elementary school. it rocked). I’m also more about the food than the presentation. As my dad says, it’s going to look worse on the way out (thanks, dad).
Every now and then I like to flex my puny artistic muscle. Normally this serves a reminder as to why I don’t do this very often. Every now and then, however, things work out. Thursday was one of those days.
Like I said before, holidays have great themed culinary conentations. The eyeball cupcakes were a hit at work and I have to say I was quite pleased with these meringue ghosties. I got the idea from a post at 101 Cookbooks.
Meringue is a mythical beast for some; myself included. Sometimes it feels like you can do everything “right” and still crash and burn. Because of this I strongly recommend having a can of meringue powder ready in case disaster strikes. With this, you have two options. You can use it as back up or you can just screw from-scratch and follow the recipe on the can. I did the former. My from-scratch attempt was faltering so I added a bit of meringue powder and water. Success!
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Two large egg whites, room temperature
Three-finger pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
Meringue powder and water (as backup!)
Combine the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar into a bowl and, using a hand or stand mixer, mix until frothy. Medium/medium-fast works fine here. At this point set your mixing speed to low and slowly add the confectioners sugar. Add it quickly and you’ll get a nice cloud of sugar dust.
Mix. Keep mixing. Mix some more. You’re going to be mixing for at least 20 minutes; probably more. The volume should increase significantly (double/triple in size) and the consistency should be thick and light. The meringue should form stiff peaks. (somewhere during this stage I concluded I was down the road of failure and started adding meringue powder and water. No measurements on this!)
Once at this point add to a pastry bag or a large plastic bag with a tip cut off and begin piping. I piped these similarly to the way you fill a cone with softserve ice cream. Start with a circle the size you want and keeping narrowing the spiral as you reach the top; eventually reaching a tip. Put two cinnamon decors on each as the eyes.