This week, I am featuring Meringue Mushrooms. This is a recipe I found on a website and have been making for a few years now. They never fail to impress, because they look so much like the real thing!
They take a bit of time to make, but are not difficult or finicky.
I have a number of photos to post with the recipe, to make their assembly as clear as I can, so without further ado, here is the recipe.
1/2 cup egg whites (no yolk whatsoever, not even a little smidgeon)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
5 or 6 Hershey Kisses
Preheat oven to 225°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large glass or metal bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites until foamy.
Add cream of tartar, salt, vanilla. Continue whipping until the whites hold soft peaks.
Slowly and gradually, sprinkle in the sugar, so that it does not sink to the bottom. I usually add the sugar a spoonful at a time, sprinkling it over the mixture in the bowl. Continue whipping until the mixture holds stiff, shiny peaks. Do not hurry this step.
If you don't have a pastry bag, a baggie with a hole cut in the corner will work well for piping the meringue.
Start piping the meringue as follows:
Mushroom caps - Squeeze out round mounds of meringue to the desired size. Pull the bag off to the side to avoid making peaks on the tops.
Mushroom stems - Press out a tiny bit of meringue onto the other sheet, then pull the bag straight up. They should resemble Hershey Kisses.
The pieces don't need to look exactly the same, as they will look more natural if the sizes and shapes are varied.
Bake for 1 hour or until the caps are dry enough to easily remove from the cookie sheets. Set aside to cool completely.
The pieces do not brown while in the oven. In order to make them look more natural, dust them very lightly with the cocoa powder, prior to assembly.
Melt the Hershey Kisses in a small microwaveable bowl, stirring until smooth.
Poke a small hole in the bottom of each cap.
Spread a little bit of chocolate over and into the hole, then insert the pointed end of the stem into the hole.
When the chocolate sets, the pieces will hold together.
Repeat until all are done!
They look really good if you serve them in a little container that real mushrooms come in at the supermarket.
You can make over 50 mushrooms per batch. I usually find that I have more meringue than cookie sheet space. Just make sure to make enough stems for the caps. A few extra stems are handy in case one or two break.
Have fun impressing your guests!!