Meringue Ghosts

meringue ghosties

I saw a picture of these adorable meringue ghosts at the Food Network and decided that they would be the perfect dessert to bring to a Halloween party! These happy haunters are easy to make, but be prepared to let them set for a few hours (or even overnight) to fully dry. This recipe makes about 24 yummy little meringue ghosts. They will last several days at room temperature so you can eat some now and save some for later!
Happy Halloween!

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How to make meringue ghosts:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  Cream of Tartar
  • 1 Cup of superfine baker’s sugar (if you can’t find this you can run regular sugar through a food processor for about 30 seconds to give the grains a finer consistency. This is important so your ghosts don’t finish with a gritty texture.)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Candy Eyes (You can use miniature chocolate chips, pre-made decorator eyes, shaped sprinkles, or edible silver dragees for eyes)

ingredients for meringue ghosts

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees and set your baking rack in the center.
  2. Prepare a pastry bag by adding a plain cone tip with a 1/2 inch (large) opening.
  3. Line a baking sheet (I needed two) with parchment paper.
  4. Break your egg whites into a large mixing bowl and let them sit until they are room temperature (about a half hour). Be sure that you are using a clean, dry bowl and that you don’t get any egg yolk into the mixture or your meringue won’t thicken.
  5. Add the cream of tartar and, using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat the egg mixture for about a minute until it is opaque and foamy.
  6. Slowly, a little at a time, add the sugar and increase your mixer speed. Continue beating for about 5-6 minutes, or until your meringue has a thick, glossy texture and can hold peaks when you remove the mixer.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating for about 30 seconds more until it is completely blended in.
  8. Transfer the meringue mixture to a pastry bag and, holding the bag perpendicular to your cookie sheet, pipe 8-10 swirls to create a 2 inch meringue ghost.
  9. Once all your ghosts are piped, add your candy eyes.
  10. Place the ghosts in the oven and bake for about an hour to an hour and a half, until they are dry and crisp to the touch, but not browned.  Then turn off the oven and open the door,  allowing the ghosts to dry for several more hours or overnight. (You could also remove them from the oven and have them dry on a baking rack.)
  11. Your meringue ghosts can be stored at room temperature.

meringue ghosts

Oktoberfest Pretzel Bites

Easy Oktoberfest pretzel bitesIt’s Oktoberfest time, and at our house that means it’s time to enjoy the crisp fall days with a stein of beer and some Oktoberfest pretzel bites!

One of the best things about September is the celebration of Oktoberfest. Because I am always on the lookout for yummy recipes for any party or celebration, especially those that are ridiculously easy, I was super excited to find this one in Good Housekeeping Magazine. Seriously, it only involves about five ingredients, and even I can handle that. Then, if you are looking for more inspirations on ways to celebrate Oktoberfest, we have lots of amazing Oktoberfest party ideas for you to check out!

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Here’s how to make your own Oktoberfest pretzel bites:

  • Start with pre-made pizza dough (Pillsbury makes some in the refrigerated section of your grocery). Roll dough into cherry-size balls.
  • Drop these dough pieces into a small pot holding 5 cups of boiling water and 1/3 cup of baking soda.
  • Cook for about one minute or until they appear slightly puffed, and then using a slotted spoon, pull them out and rest them on a paper towel.
  • Transfer the pretzel bites to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush the dough with 1 beaten egg and sprinkle each piece with coarse sea salt.
  • Bake the pretzel bites for 12-15 minutes until they appear golden.
  • Serve with your favorite mustard or cheese dip!

** Want a sweet option? Leave off the salt and coat the dough with cinnamon sugar before baking.

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Be sure to take a look at our Oktoberfest party page for more fun ideas!




It’s Oktoberfest Time!

Beer, Brats, and Ooompah Bands…It must be Oktoberfest!

oktoberfest celebration

It’s that glorious time of year again; the days are crisp, the colors are bright, and it’s time to enjoy some great food and fun music at Oktoberfest.  Munich’s Oktoberfest takes place between September 16th and October 3rd, so that makes it the perfect time to start thinking of how you might have your own Oktoberfest celebration! Last year our family joined some friends out in Mt. Angel for their annual city-wide Oktoberfest and we can’t wait for the festivities to come again! If youOktoberfest decorations have never celebrated Oktoberfest, you can expect lots of traditional German foods and drinks (brats and beer being the most time-honored traditions). You will also be treated to bands playing polkas and the good old chicken dance, weiner dog races, and lots of folks dressed up in their finest lederhosen. It is a super treat that we look forward to every year.

Last year we branched out a little when choosing our dinner.  At the recommendation of our friends, we tried the pelmeni. Wow! These were amazing. Although technically they are a Russian food, they are a tradition at Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. What are pelmeni? They are a type of meat ravioli that are cooked in butter and served with sour cream and vinegar. Although they sound a little different, trust me, they were great, especially when accompanied by some Oktoberfest beers.  If you are curious, and would like to try making these at home, here is a recipe we found at cookeatshare.com.

Pelmeni Recipe:

1 1/2 cups flourRussian pelmeni
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
garlic to taste

Directions

  1. To make the dough, combine the flour, eggs, water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Knead mixture. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix the ground beef, ground pork, onions, 1 tsp. salt, pepper and garlic together.
  3. Cut the dough into three equally sized pieces and roll each one into a cylinder the diameter of a finger. Cut each cylinder into pieces the size of a walnut, then roll each piece into a very thin flat cake with a diameter of about 2 inches.
  4. Put some of the ground meat mixture in the center of each flat cake (quite a lot, but not so much that you can’t then seal up the dough). Then fold the dough in half and join up the edges to seal them. Pinch the corners together: you should now have a ravioli-shaped “flying saucer.”
  5. Boil the pelmeni in salted water for seven minutes, or until they float to the surface.
  6. Serve in soup bowls. I like to offer three dipping sauces: sour cream, creamy horseradish, and white wine vinegar. YUMMMMM!

oktoberfest partyThere are bound to be lots of Oktoberfest celebrations going on, but if you can’t find something nearby you can always host your own party! Take a look at our complete Oktoberfest Party Ideas page for lots of suggestions for food, drinks, decorations, and activities.  Have fun!




Tomato Tart Recipes

great tomato recipes

Finally a summer in Oregon that produced a bountiful crop of tomatoes! There is nothing better than a fresh summer tomato. Here is my latest harvest from my garden.  I have been giving away tomatoes and dahlias to all my friends and neighbors. In looking for new ways to use my tomatoes I found and tried two tomato tart recipes that were yummy and easy to make.

cherry tomatoes

Tomato Tart

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrostedtomato tart recipe
  •  cherry tomatoes, cored and sliced
  • fresh thyme or basil
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • pepper
  • 3-4  pinches of Sea Salt

 Preparation

  • 1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Place the puff pastry on the lined baking sheet and lightly score a 1/2″ border around the edge with a sharp knife. Use fork tines to prick the pastry inside the border all over. This will prevent the pastry from puffing up too much when baking.
  •  Place the tomato slices in a single layer on the puff pastry. Sprinkle fresh thyme or chopped basil leaves on top of the tomatoes, then drizzle with olive oil, a few cranks of  pepper and sea salt.
  •  Baked for 30-40 minutes or until pastry is crispy and deeply browned. Serve warm.

 **I think some great variations would be to add kalamata olives, feta, or goat cheese.

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Tomato and Fontina Cheese Tart

Ingredientstomato and cheese tart recipe

  • 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese, divided
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

  • Press refrigerated piecrust on bottom and up sides of a square 9-inch tart pan. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes or until piecrust is lightly browned; set aside.
  • Cut off pointed end of garlic bulb; place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle with olive oil. Fold foil to seal.
  • Bake garlic at 425° for 30 minutes; cool. Squeeze pulp from garlic cloves into bottom of baked piecrust.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup fontina cheese over the garlic.
  • Slice tomatoes, and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Place on folded paper towels, and let stand 10 minutes. Arrange tomato slices over shredded cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
  • Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until tart is lightly browned.

Southern Living
JULY 2003




 creative party bee

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