Meringue Mushrooms

Meringue Mushrooms are a special treat at Christmas time. I’ve used
them to decorate Buche du Noels but I like to make them to give as gifts because they’re different from the regular holiday cookies. They present nicely in a small decorative basket, a mushroom basket from the store or even wrapped up in a cello bag tied with a festive ribbon.

Things needed~
1/2 c. egg whites, room temp. (3 to 4 large eggs)
1/8 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz. semi-sweet coating chocolate

parchment paper
baking sheets
pastry bag
1/2″ plain round decorating tip
small sieve

Prep ~

Adjust 2 oven racks; place one in the highest position and the other in the lowest. Pre-heat oven to 225 F. Line the baking sheets with parchment. Secure the corners with a dab of butter.

Using a large clean bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on low speed until they get foamy. Add salt and cream of tarter; beat on medium speed until whites begin to form soft peaks. Start adding sugar 1 Tbl. at a time beating 30 seconds between additions. When all the sugar has been added, add vanilla; increase speed to high and beat for an additional 8 minutes. This will insure all the sugar has been dissolved. There should be no grittiness in the mixture.

Use a 1/2″ to 3/4″ plain round tip.
Fill pastry bag with meringue; start by piping stems on one of the baking sheets.

Set out a small glass of water and a small sharp knife. This will help cut the stems from the decorating tip.

Hold the bag straight up from the baking sheet, gently squeeze out a stem about 1″ high, slowly raising the bag as the meringue is pushed out.

Use a small knife that has been dipped in water to cut meringue from the pastry tip. You can pipe with one hand and cut with the other. It takes some getting used to but it’s more efficient. I wish somehow I could show you but I know you’ll figure it out. 🙂

Place the stems about 1 1/2″ apart.

Next, pipe out the caps. Hold the pastry bag in an upright position, close to but not touching the baking sheet and squeeze out “kisses” raising the bag slightly as the meringue comes out. If you have little pointy tops smooth them out with a moistened finger.

Oh, and make sure you pipe the same number of stems to caps!

Dust with cocoa powder using a very fine sieve.
I like Dutch Process because it’s not bitter but you can use whatever you have.

Bake ~
Place stems on upper rack and caps on the lower. The amount of time depends on your oven and the humidity factor. Check them after 1 hour. The meringue should easily peel away from the parchment without any sticking and the bottoms should be firm. If your meringues are not this way continue to bake them checking every 2o minutes. This could take a couple hours or more. When they are ready, turn off the oven and open the door slightly and allow them to cool in the oven.

At this point the dry meringues can be stored loosely in a basket or a bowl uncovered in a cool, dry location at room temp for up to 3 weeks. If your kitchen is more humid I would place them in a ziplock bag.

Assemble ~
Melt coating chocolate. I prefer to do this in the microwave, 50% power for 30 seconds until melted perfectly. I use coating chocolate because it doesn’t need tempering and it hardens fast without having to refrigerate it. Meringues don’t like moisture so placing them in the frig is not a good idea.

If your stem is sliding off the cap, egg cartons make great holders until the chocolate is set. Place the mushrooms upside down in the egg cup of an empty carton.

Better make extras because once you have one melt in your mouth it’ll be hard to save them for gifts!

I’m making sparkly meringue stars later this week.
I hope you’ll come back then!

Have a great week!