Halloween Italian Meringue. The boys have been asking for more meringue and being Halloween time I just added a few drops of black food coloring (black squid ink powder on Amazon) having fun with different shades of gray and black. They were so thrilled by the final result, but the most entertaining thing was the black tongue that they ended up having after the first bite. I totally recommend the recipe for a fun kids halloween party.
The easiest way is to use a stand mixer. Divide the egg whites from the yolks and add 4 whites in the mixer. Mix at low speed first and when you will see the yolks transforming from gluey yellow into creamy white, increase the speed and let it work up until you will obtain pale white peaks, firm and smooth. It will take around 10 min. Stop and add a pinch of salt and a tsp of lemon juice. Mix at medium speed and slowly add the powdered sugar, one tablespoon at the time. I always sift the sugar at the beginning so that there are no grains.
Once the sugar is incorporated into the egg whites, turn the mixer off and transfer the thick compact cream into a piping bag (I use freezer plastic bags). Pipe any form of meringue you like on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I love easy circles, one or two rounds of meringue.
You can add any food coloring you like before filling the piping bag. Just add the food coloring in the mixer and mix for one minute to have an even color.
Bake the meringue in preheated oven to 200F (yes, it’s a low temperature) for at least 2 hrs. Turn the oven off, leaver it slightly open and leave the meringue inside for at least another hour so that they will dry completely. If you can, keep them in the switched off oven overnight.
WHAT FOOD COLORING TO USE?
I used squid ink food coloring. It has no taste and a powerful color, easy to find on Amazon. It’s a natural dye free solution. I was very curious to use it and I’m happy with the result. I’m very honest with you. Considering the amount of food coloring that I use for my family (none), I could also have used a more common gel food coloring. Any food coloring that you easily find at the grocery store will work. You only need a tiny amount for the recipe. If you can’t find black (it’s sold in specialty stores like Michael’s), remember that the combination of the basic colors (blue + yellow + red) makes black!
Now that I have some more squid ink food coloring in the pantry I want to test it out with some spaghetti for Halloween! I will add the coloring to the boiling water. Get ready for some dark noodles 🙂
HOW DO YOU GET THE GRADIENT COLOR?
For the gradient color I started piping a bag of full white, than I added a few drops of black to the stand mixer and created a gray, added the mix in the same plastic bag so that the white would combine with gray. I did some merengues. I added more black to the stand mixer for a deeper gray and used the same plastic piping bag.
HOW DO I STORE MERINGUE?
Meringue can be stored in a dry place, in a box on the countertop.
HOW TO GET THE MERINGUE CRISP AND DRY?
I suggest to prepare the meringue the day before you need to serve them so that the oven can be turned off once they are cooked and they can dry overnight in the oven with the door ajar.
MY MERINGUE TURNED BROWN…
It can happen, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that the meringue is burned, just that the oven was too hot.
Few suggestions to keep your meringues pale white:
- Check the meringue in the oven halfway and toward the end. As soon as you see the white that starts turning into a yellow brownish, lower the temperature and add more time. Every oven is different and the internal temperature might be a bit higher than the one you set on the screen.
- Use powdered sugar as suggested. Cane/granulated/brown sugar will naturally have a brownish final color.
- Do not use cold eggs. They need to be room temperature.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE EGG YOLKS?
Prepare the base for shortbread cookies! You can bake them or, as I do, freeze the dough so that you will have cookie dough ready to use and bake when needed.
- 4 egg white (medium eggs)
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 200 gr powdered sugar, sifted
Add 4 egg yolks in a stand mixer. Mix at low speed first and when you will see the yolks transforming from gluey yellow into creamy white, increase the speed and let it work up until you will obtain pale white peaks, firm and smooth. It will take around 10 min.
Add a pinch of salt and a tsp of lemon juice. Mix at medium speed for 1 min.
Slowly add the powdered sugar, one tablespoon at the time.
Add any food coloring you like. Mix up until the color is evenly incorporated.
Transfer the mix into a piping bag (I use freezer plastic bags). Pipe any form of meringue you like on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake the meringue in preheated oven to 200F for 2 hrs. Turn the oven off, leaver it slightly open and leave the meringue inside for at least another hour so that they will dry completely.