Meringue Mushrooms

Stems and caps

I had wanted to make these for Christmas, but didn’t get a chance.  My chance came yesterday when I made my daughter’s Lemon-Strawberry Jellyroll birthday cake.  What better to decorate a log than mushrooms?  So here is the recipe; I’ll add the birthday cake recipes soon.

Meringue Mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert Garnish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Many
 
Piping little mushroom decorations for cakes is fun and will bring you great admiration from your family and friends! And they are so good to eat, too!
Ingredients
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature and with no bits of yolk in them
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup superfine sugar (if you don't have it, you can use regular white, or blend white sugar up a bit in a blender)
Instructions
  1. Oven to 200 degrees F., and place the two oven racks to upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (don't use waxed paper; the 'shrooms will stick)
  2. Fit a large pastry bag with a number 6 (1/2 inch diameter) (1¼ cm) round plain tip.
  3. In a mixer bowl beat the egg whites on moderate speed until they are foamy, a minute or so.
  4. Up the speed a little and add the cream of tartar, beating until soft peaks form.
  5. Turn the speed to high and add sugar slowly.
  6. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved (you can rub a little between your fingers to make sure it isn't gritty). Reserve about an eighth of a cup of meringue for later.
  7. With a spatula, spoon the meringue into the pastry bag.
  8. Piping
  9. To make caps: Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a round about 2 inches wide and one inch high, giving the bag a twist to separate. Make the caps as close to the same size as possible for even baking.
  10. Leave a good two inches between caps. Use your finger or a toothpick to smooth any points on the caps.
  11. To make stems: Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a cone about one inch high straight up, making the base a little larger than the top. Some may fall over during baking, so leave good space between.
  12. Make as many stems as there are caps.
  13. Bake both sheets for an hour, rotating the sheets up and down, front to back about halfway through the baking time.
  14. The 'shrooms should be firm enough to be lifted from the sheets without sticking. Using a knife, make a little hole in the underside of the caps.
  15. Pipe a little of the reserved meringue into the hole, and stick in a stem, bottoms up. Return upside-down mushrooms to parchment paper, and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes until dry. (I found that some were still sticky, so I turned off the oven and let the pan sit in there for awhile to dry, like you do with traditional meringue cookies. It worked fine).
  16. Stand mushrooms up.
  17. Some might lean, some stand, some lie down... it all looks natural.
  18. Take about a teaspoonful of cocoa powder and very carefully shake a little over the caps.
  19. Using your finger or a kitchen paintbrush, smudge the cocoa just a little to make it look natural.
  20. Store these cute little devils in an airtight container for a week or so.
  21. Any exposure to moisture will make them sticky, so if using to adorn a cake put them on at the last minute.
  22. Makes about 25 little shroomies.

 

 

Piping

To make caps: Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a round about 2 inches wide and one inch high, giving the bag a twist to separate.  Make the caps as close to the same size as possible for even baking.  Leave a good two inches between caps (I put them too close together and the baking was uneven).  Use your finger or a toothpick to smooth any points on the caps.

To make stems:  Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a cone about one inch high straight up, making the base a little larger than the top.  Some may fall over during baking, so leave good space between.  Make as many stems as there are caps.

Space them farther apart!

Bake both sheets for an hour, rotating the sheets up and down, front to back about halfway through the baking time.  The ‘shrooms should be firm enough to be lifted from the sheets without sticking.  Using a knife, make a little hole in the underside of the caps.  Pipe a little of the reserved meringue into the hole, and stick in a stem, bottoms up.  Return upside-down mushrooms to parchment paper, and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes until dry.  (I found that some were still sticky, so I turned off the oven and let the pan sit in there for awhile to dry, like you do with traditional meringue cookies.  It worked fine).

Turn the mushrooms right-side-up.  Some might lean, some stand, some lie down… it all looks natural.  Take about a teaspoonful of cocoa powder and very carefully shake a little over the caps.  Using your finger or a kitchen paintbrush, smudge the cocoa just a little to make it look natural.  Store these cute little devils in an airtight container for a week or so.  Any exposure to moisture will make them sticky, so if using to adorn a cake put them on at the last minute.  Makes about 25 little shroomies.

Sift cocoa powder onto shrooms

An option for putting the dried stems and caps together is to dip the end of the stem in chocolate ganache (see recipe for Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake) or frosting, and using that as glue.  Don’t do the additonal baking.  With even a little ganache, the chocolate flavor overwhelms the meringue flavor, but that isn’t all that bad, is it?

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