Here’s another easy recipe for small fingers. Kids learn how to separate eggs. Then they can make up these cute, tasty little Halloween ghosts and marvel at the mysteries of food chemistry.
Use eggs at room temperature for frothiest results. Or put eggs from fridge into warm water for 5 minutes or so to warm them up.
Separating the yolks from the whites
Separating an egg without getting yolk into the egg whites takes practice. In this video, you’ll find a fool-proof method that kids can use to learn how, without wasting a single egg. The secret? Use the four-bowl technique.
Wash your hands well.
Bowl 1 is for practice. Crack the egg sharply on a flat surface. Use your two thumbs to gently pry the shell open over the bowl, without squashing the egg. Let the yolk fall into your hand. The whites flow through your fingers into the bowl.
Put the yolk into bowl 2.
If there is no hint of yolk in the whites in the practice bowl, transfer them to bowl 3. If there is a drop of yolk among the whites in the practice bowl, fish it out with a spoon and a Q-tip, and transfer the clean whites to bowl 3.
But if you make a mess of it and you can’t get every speck of yolk out of your whites in bowl 1, pour the whole works into bowl 4 and save that one for breakfast.
Have a look at this video to see what I mean. Sorry about the ad. But the demo is worth the wait.
Makes 24 ghosts (recipe can be halved)
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup castor sugar (or grind a cup of regular white sugar into a powder in your food processor, about 30 seconds)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
- a large plastic, self-sealing baggie
- sparkles and sprinkles for eyes and decorations
- Preheat the oven to 200 F. Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets.
- With a hand mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high until soft peaks form when you turn off and lift the mixer.
- Add the vanilla and spices. While the mixer is running, add spoonfuls of sugar until it’s all in. Scrape the sides of your mixing bowl and give the whole thing one last mix up. The meringue should look glossy and thick.
4. Fill the baggie with the meringue. Cut off a tiny bit of one corner. Squeeze a large ball of meringue onto the cookie sheet, about 1 inch in diameter. Squeeze a second slightly smaller ball onto the first ball. Boo! Meet your first little ghost!
5. Squeeze more ghosts about an inch or so apart from each other.
6. Once you’ve squeezed out all the meringue, add eyes and sprinkles etc. I got lots at the bulk food store for less than a dollar.
Sadly, you can’t substitute stevia for sugar in meringues. The sugar crystals keep the beaten egg whites stiff during baking. Without sugar, you’ll end up with froggie pancakes instead of pert little ghosts. I know this from experience. With stevia, my meringue ghosts croaked!
The egg whites are highly nutritious.They are an excellent source of B vitamins, helpful in turning all that sugar into useful energy.
Egg whites also offer an excellent amount of protein. Protein helps moderate the harmful effects of sugar on the body. A little protein every time you have something sweet keeps blood-sugar spikes at bay. Think cookies and a glass of milk… or apple pie and a piece of cheese. Meringues carry their own built-in supply of protein.
How egg whites become meringues
Egg whites consist mainly of proteins and water. The egg proteins come in two types. One kind loves water but the others have an electric charge that pushes them away from water. When egg proteins are resting quietly inside the shell, the water-lovers all curl up together around the water-haters, protecting them from the water molecules.
Beating the egg whites breaks the proteins apart and pushes air bubbles into the mix. The water-loving proteins are attracted to the water molecules and to each other, forcing the water haters to the outside. The water haters find a safe haven inside the air bubbles. The protein-filled air bubbles move through the mix to make up the foam you see.
Once you have a nice foam, you can beat in the sugar. Sugar molecules provide crystal cages that trap the protein-filled air bubbles. In the warm oven, the air bubbles harden and your meringues set into firm shapes. Without the sugar, the air bubbles burst in the heat and the cookies collapse.
Stevia lacks the crystal structure sugar has, so it doesn’t serve well as a stabilizer. Meringues need sugar (not icing sugar) to set properly.