Nov 13 2010
I love cute notions – especially edible ones – so when I saw meringue mushrooms on Sweetapolita, I knew I just had to make them.
I had never made meringue mushrooms until a week ago. At first it was very frustrating. I had great directions, but still found myself lost and not knowing, for example, what stiff peaks were supposed to look like despite endlessly staring at Google Images.
My first batch was a flop and took 7 hours of baking to get the meringue to harden, and it deflated beyond salvage when I added the cocoa powder to make chocolate ones. With my second batch I tried a whole knew recipe, but it came out so very hard that it wasn’t really fun to eat – crunch, crunch. My third batch looked promising, but after some egg yolk slipped into the egg white, I had to beat it for 30 minutes to get soft peaks and bake 5 hours to get it to harden. And, somehow – I’m not the kind of person who gives up easily – I decided to try a fourth time, and, even though I used the same recipe as the first and third times, I was able to pull it off perfectly without a hitch…even when I mixed into cocoa powder and matcha green tea powder.
The mushrooms are ever so light and fluffy, but still rich and chocolaty.
I think it wouldn’t have taken 4 times to perfect had I had some visual guidance. And, I would like to share my hard earned knowledge with you in this video that I made with my husband’s cell phone for this week’s Project Foodblog Challenge:
Comeback next week to find out what I did with my meringue mushrooms. And, yes, it has to do with this mushroom and walnut forest.
And, for those of you, like myself, who like a quick reference text version of the recipe:
4 Egg Whites, at room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 pinch Cream of Tartar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
100 grams Dark Chocolate, broken into chunks
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
1 pot filled 1/4 with Water
Heat-proof bowl for electric mixer
Frosting Piping Bad with 1/2-inch round Tip
2 Baking Sheets or 2 cookie sheets
A small Sieve
2 small Spoons
A small bowl
A small bowl with water
Tuperware for storage
for the Meringue:
Preheat oven to 93°C (200°F).
Bring the pot of water to a boil.
In the meant time, in a heat proof electric mixer bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. Whisk by hand, constantly, while holding over, but not touching, the pot of boiling water for 3 minutes.
Transfer to your electric mixer, add the vanilla extract, and start whisking by slowly increasing the speed every minute (jump a few speeds at a time) until you reach high speed. Whip on high speed for 10 minutes, or until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Use a spatula to scoop the meringue into your piping bag until it’s 3/4th full, and fully close the bag at the top using your hand.
Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pipe mushrooms caps by holding the tip close to the baking sheet so that they spread out and then pull up to finish. Pipe the mushroom stems by starting close to the baking sheet and pulling up steadily to create a tube. Stop squeezing when you have reached the desired hight. Make one stem for every cap you make.
Smooth out the mushroom caps with a wet finger. And, slightly flatten the tops of the stems.
Place once baking sheet in the bottom third of the oven and the other in the top third. Bake for 1 hour.
Lower the oven temperature to 83°C (175°F).
Switch sheet locations (top goes to bottom and bottom goes to top), and bake for another 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes – or until they feel cool. Place in a large tuperware, or other air-tight container, immediately.
Place the chocolate chunks in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix around and mash a bit, and return to the microwave for another 30 seconds. Mix until all chocolate has melted.
Rub some melted chocolate onto the back of a small spoon and swirl a thin coat onto the bottom (flat side) of the mushroom caps. Repeat with all caps. Set aside to dry. And, while you wait, match mushrooms stems to caps for the next step.
Once the chocolate on the caps has mostly re-hardened, use the small spoon to swirl a thicker amount of chocolate onto the bottom of the cap. Take the stem you wish to attach, dip the tip into the melted chocolate, and attach by placing the stem into the chocolate part of the cap. Set on a plate and let harden enough to move to an air tight container where they can continue to dry/harden.
Place a few mushrooms in a bowl, standing up. Hold a sieve over them, and spoon cocoa powder through the sieve and sprinkle over mushrooms.
Hold a mushroom by the stem and shake off excess cocoa powder and tap off any further excess on the side of the bowl. Repeat with all mushrooms.
Return to an airtight container until ready to consume.
Makes 40-70 mushrooms depending on size of the mushrooms.
Tips & Suggestions:
- It Must Be Yolk Free: the slightest amount of egg yolk will ruin the mixture.
- When do I know that my sugar has melted: when you rub the mixture between your fingers and it feels smooth and grain/sugar free.
- When do I have stiff peaks: when your egg white mixture is glossy; when you wave the whisk in the air vigorously and it doesn’t move even the slightest bit; when you pull the whisk up and the egg white stay straight up and don’t flop over at all.
- The need for airtight containers: If you leave meringue out for any amount of time it starts to absorb humidity and will eventually become sticky and chewy – kind of like an old marshmallow. To avoid this, keep them unrefrigerated and in an airtight container until ready to eat. They should hold for about 3 months like this.
- Standing Mushrooms: You can achieve a perfect standing mushroom even more frequently by poking multiple holes in a circular pattern on the bottom of the mushroom cap once it has been coated with chocolate the first time and the chocolate has dried. Then, coat with a second thicker layer of chocolate and press the cap into the toothpick-made hole.