Nov 11, 2015

Mushroom Meringues

This is a treat that my mother always used to make for Christmas, both for the family and to give to friends and neighbors, beautifully packaged in cellophane bags. Mushroom meringues are traditionally associated with the French dessert Bûche de Noël, but we like them on their own. They can be impressive looking yet are quite easy to make. My sister Emily recently demonstrated them for a Relief Society cooking class in our ward, so I thought it would be a good time to put up the recipe as well as a few pictures.

½ cup egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar (I use regular granulated)
Unsweetened cocoa
6 ounces semisweet chocolate

Beat egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla. With mixer set at low to medium speed, add sugar gradually until it is mixed in. Then beat at high speed, 6 to 7 minutes, until stiff.

Place meringue mixture in a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip, at least 3/4-inch in diameter. A disposable pastry bag or gallon-sized Ziploc bag can also be used. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Make mushroom stems first, while meringue is firmest. To shape stems, pipe out the meringue in 3” long strips (they will be cut in half later; each length will create two stems). Pipe out caps in mounds about 1 inch in diameter. Try to keep them high and puffy rather than flat. If caps have points, dampen finger and press points flat before sprinkling with cocoa. Sprinkle stems and caps very lightly with cocoa.

Place cookie sheets in preheated 200 degree oven. Bake for at least 2 hours (humidity can affect the baking time). Check to see if they are dry and not soft at all. Meringues can be left in a warm oven with heat turned off for several hours to completely dry. Try not to open the oven door too frequently during baking.

To assemble tops and stems, cut stems in half with a sharp knife. Melt chocolate and allow it to cool a little. Spread melted chocolate on flat side of mushroom cap with a knife and attach a stem. Allow to cool upside down. If kitchen is warm, cool in freezer until chocolate hardens. Store in airtight container.

Assembling the mushrooms

Waiting for the chocolate to cool