Sunday, October 30, 2011

halloween ghosts

Halloween kinda snuck up on me this year. I didn't even see the month of October go by, but somehow I managed to get the kids costumes and the house decorated. Even though I bought a pumpkin to turn into a jack-o-lantern, it still sits in the truck of my car, untouched, as does the gingerbread haunted house I wanted to decorate with Cha.

I did carve out some time to make ghosts sugar cookies, and marshmallows. Figured I have a reputation to uphold, and can't send my kid to school without treats!

I made the marshmallows to bring to my nephew's birthday party. I had a few extra egg whites in the fridge, and had been meaning to try David Lebowitz's recipe, and I'm glad I did! I think it might be the only recipe I have tried of his, and love the way this one is written. Super clear. Plus, he re uses pots instead of making us wash a mountain of dishes! His post is full of useful information too! Check it out!

25-50 marshmallows

recipe adapted from David Lebowitz

2 envelopes powdered gelatin
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup each)

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup cold water to dissolve and soften.

2. In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.

(Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.

4. When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.

5. When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.

6. Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).

Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the vanilla extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.

7. Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the powdered sugar/cornstarch mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.

8. Scoop the marshmallow mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe desired shapes onto the baking sheet. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.

9. Put about 1 cup of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.

Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture.  Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder.

Storage: The marshmallows can be made up to one week in advance, and stored in an airtight container.

I let them set overnight, then I drew a face on them with food markers. They were a hit! Very smooshy and a great treat for halloween! I love the sheen that they got too! Very pretty.

As we're not allowed sending candy to school, I made cookies for Cha's classmates. My regular old sugar cookie recipe, but I tried a different recipe for the royal icing. I wasn't quite satisfied with the way the royal icing turned out the last few times I made it, so I thought I'd turn to an expert and get some pointers. Sweetopia uses a recipe from Antonia74. And that's what I used as well! Turned out great! But makes a lot of icing!

Royal Icing Recipe
recipe from Antonia74 via Sweetopia

6 oz (3/4 cup) of warm water
5 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kilogram (2.25 lbs.) powdered icing sugar

*** Note; if your meringue powder has no vanilla flavour (vanillin powder) in it, add a teaspoon of clear vanilla to this recipe.

In mixer bowl, pour in the warm water and the meringue powder. Mix it with a whisk by hand until it is frothy and thickened…about 30 seconds.

Add the cream of tartar and mix for 30 seconds more.

Pour in all the icing sugar at once and place the bowl on the mixer.

Using the paddle attachment on the LOWEST speed, mix slowly for a full 10 minutes. Icing will get thick and creamy.

Cover the bowl with a dampened tea-towel to prevent crusting and drying.
Tint with food colourings or thin the icing with small amounts of warm water to reach the desired consistency.  

Again, the food marker came in handy to draw on ghosts faces! I had just the right amount of tiny bags that fit the ghosts perfectly. Topped with a cute sticker to close the bag, we had perfect treats for little halloween ghosts!

I'll be trick-or-treating with Strawberry Shortcake tomorrow, while my husband stays home with my tiny ghost! Wishing everyone a safe and happy halloween!


  1. Wow! Perfect for all of us. Looks great & yummy.
    Have a Safe Halloween to you too....

  2. These are adorable! David Lebowitz recipes are always great, he's so clear! I hope you'll consider submitting this and any other Halloween recipes to my Halloween blog hop!

  3. Love the cookies! Such a great idea!!! and that little "Boo!" :)


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