How to Make Meringue Mushrooms

  • 01 of 10

    Assemble Your Ingredients

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    For easily printable instructions, please refer to the Meringue Mushrooms recipe.

    First, assemble your ingredients. To make the meringue, you will need two egg whites at room temperature, 1/4 tsp cream of tartar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. I prefer to use superfine sugar, as it dissolves quickly and does not produce a grainy texture. If you don't have superfine sugar, you can place regular sugar in a blender and process it for about 20 seconds to create superfine sugar.

    In addition to the ingredients for the meringue, you will need 1/4 cup white chocolate or candy coating, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, two baking sheets covered with parchment paper, and a pastry bag fitted with a coupler or a 1/2-inch round tip.

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  • 02 of 10

    Add the Cream of Tartar to the Egg Whites

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Place room temperature egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. It is important that the bowl and whisk both be very ​clean, so that the egg whites whip properly.

    Begin beating the egg whites on medium speed. Once they are very frothy, stop the mixer and add the cream of tartar. Start the mixer again and continue to beat the egg whites. If you add the cream of tartar while the mixer is running, some might get splashed onto the sides of the mixer and won't be incorporated properly, possibly resulting in a bad taste or texture to your meringue.

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  • 03 of 10

    Slowly Rain in the Sugar

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
    Once the egg whites form soft peaks, increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, a little bit at a time. Beat the whites until they are very shiny and hold stiff peaks, but are not dry or crumbly.
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  • 04 of 10

    Prepare to Pipe the Meringue

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    The egg whites should now be properly glossy and stiff, as in the top photograph. Now you are ready to pipe out your mushrooms stems and caps. Spoon the finished meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip, or the open end of a coupler. It doesn't matter exactly what you use, you just need the pastry bag to have a large round opening.

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  • 05 of 10

    Pipe the Mushroom Caps

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    First, pipe the mushroom caps onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Hold the pastry bag at a 90-degree angle about 1/2 inch from the parchment paper. Using firm and even pressure, squeeze out a round meringue disc about 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. (Top photograph) Stop squeezing, then twist the bag and lift it from the meringue to get a clean “break” from the cap. Repeat in regular intervals on the baking sheet until you have approximately 2 dozen mushroom caps.

    You can smooth out the tops of your mushrooms by wetting your index finger and lightly running it along the caps. (Bottom photograph).

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  • 06 of 10

    Form the Mushroom Stems

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Again position the bag perpendicular about 1/2-inch from a second baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Begin squeezing the bag to form a 1-inch round base. Continue to squeeze as you slowly and evenly draw the bag up, forming a tapering stem about 1.5 inches tall. Try to keep the stems as straight and vertical as possible. Use all the remaining meringue to pipe as many stems as possible—some stems invariably tilt and collapse, so you should always make extras.

    Bake the meringues at 200 degrees for about 90 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking. The meringues should be hard and dry to the touch, and you should be able to easily lift one from the parchment. Once the meringues are done, turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven for several hours or overnight.

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  • 07 of 10

    Make a Hole in the Mushroom Caps

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Once the meringue is baked and fully cool, use a toothpick to carve a small hole in the bottom of a mushroom cap. Poke the toothpick into the center of the bottom of the cap, and rotate it several times to increase the size of the hole. You want the hole to be large enough to fit the tip of the mushroom stem, but not large enough to cause the cap to tilt or fall off the stem.

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  • 08 of 10

    Glue the Mushrooms Together With Chocolate

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
    Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Dip the top quarter-inch of a stem in the white chocolate, and stick the chocolate-covered stem top in the hole of the mushroom cap. Place the mushroom on a baking tray to set, and repeat with the remaining caps and stems.
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Dust the Mushrooms With Cocoa Powder

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Place the cocoa powder in a sifter, and lightly sift cocoa over the tops of the mushrooms for a realistic look.

    Continue to 10 of 10 below.
  • 10 of 10

    Store and Enjoy Your Mushrooms

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    (c) 2007 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Your mushrooms are now finished! Mushrooms can be stored for up to a month in an airtight container in a cool, dry room. They are traditionally used to decorate buche de Noel around Christmas time, but they can also add a whimsical touch to any baked good. (And of course, they taste great on their own!)

    Note that humidity can make the mushroom soft and collapse, so do not place them on a cake or in a refrigerated environment until immediately before serving.