MERINGUE MUSHROOMS

Meringue Mushrooms

This delightful and fun sweet that looks like a mushroom is made of meringue and semisweet chocolate.
From Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts, Maida Heatter, Alfred A. Knopf, 1984, p 401.
Course: Desserts - Cookies, Desserts - Other
Servings: 36 cookies
Author: Catherine Christiano

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup egg whites room temperature, usually from 3 - 4 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces chocolate semisweet chocolate chips are fine, roughly chop

Instructions

Meringues

  • Place oven racks to divide in thirds and preheat to 225 °F. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
  • Using stand mixer, at slow speed beat egg whited until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Increase speed to moderate and beat until they begin to hold a soft shape. While continuing to beat, add sugar one rounded tablespoonful at a time, allowing about 30 seconds between additions. Once sugar has been added, mix in vanilla. Increase speed to high, beating about 7 - 8 minutes, until meringue is very stiff and sugar is dissolved when tested by rubbing between two fingers.
  • To prevent aluminum foil from shifting while working, place a dot of meringue between foil and cookie sheet at each corner. Fit a large pastry bag with a plain round tube, size #8 (5/8" diameter. Transfer all meringue to pastry bag; close top by rolling or twisting.
  • To shape mushroom stems, a small sharp knife in a glass of water is needed. Using first baking sheet, form stems by gently squeezing bag while raising it straight up. Form stem a bit wider for support and try to keep stem as straight as possible. Stems should be about 1 - 1 3/4" high. Take knife, shake off excess water (don't dry), and cut meringue away from tube. Place stems about 1/2 - 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Some will fall over, so make extras to have enough.
  • Using second baking sheet, create mushroom caps by holding pastry bag straight up and close to foil. Space 1/2" apart. They should be about 1½- 1¾" wide and ¾" high. Sharply twist, release pressure on bag, and slowly move bag off to side of cap to avoid leaving a peak and make cap as smooth as possible.
  • Strain cocoa lightly over stems and caps.
  • Bake stems on top rack of oven and caps on bottom rack for about 1 hour, longer for larger meringue, until they may be easily lifted from foil and bottoms are firm to touch. Do not allow to brown. Turn off oven and prop door open slightly to dry out more.
  • Remove meringues from foil. If tops of stems are not flat, immediately use finely serrated knife to saw off tops creating a flat surface parallel with base. Store in a dry environment until ready to glue together with chocolate.

Assembling with Chocolate

  • Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over warm/hot but not boiling water to melt slowly on low heat. Remove when almost melted and stir until smooth.
  • To assemble, hold mushroom cap upside down. Spoon a small amount of chocolate over bottom and spread just to edge, to form a thin layer (not too thin). Place a stem upside down in center of chocolate. Keep in upside down position, until chocolate completely hardens. Empty egg cartons may be helpful for this. Place in freezer or refrigerator just until chocolate is firm. Then remove and store at room temperature.
  • If you live in a dry environment, mushrooms may be stored in open basket or bowl. However, a humid environment will cause them to lose their crispness and turn marshmallow-like. In that case, store in an air tight container.