Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

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Meringue Mushrooms

December 14th, 2009 · 18 Comments

Christmas Cookies

Continuing in the Christmas Cookie series this post will feature the Meringue Mushrooms, and then the next post in this short series will end with the Bûchettes de Noël.

Meringue Mushrooms

Meringue Mushrooms image Probably the first reference to these delightful treats was from Maida Heatter who is among one of the better-known cookbook authors, especially concerning baking and desserts. These are another fun holiday dessert cookie treat and when dusted with cocoa powder take on an almost perfect mushroom look. This recipe calls for superfine sugar, which is not the same as powdered sugar, but granulated sugar that is of a finer grain than normal sugar. If you cannot find superfine sugar, you can take normal granulated sugar and run in the bowl of a food processor until the finer grain is achieved. This cookie uses two pastry bags for piping, one for forming the caps and stems and the other to “glue” them together.

Meringue Mushrooms image

This recipe makes about 30 1 ½ – inch mushrooms. The ingredients and procedures in this recipe are modified but follow very closely with those found in the cookbook, Rose’s Christmas Cookies, by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Ingredients
Volume Weight Ingredient
¼ Cup 2 Ounces Large Egg whites at room temperature
¼ Tsp - Cream of Tartar
½ Cup + 1 Tbsp 4 Ounces Superfine sugar
Procedure Steps
1. Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites in the bowl until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and continue to beat at medium speed then gradually add 2 tablespoons of the superfine sugar.
2. Continue to beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised, then add 1 tablespoon of superfine sugar and increase the speed to high. When stiff peaks form gradually beat in the remaining superfine sugar and continue to beat until very stiff and glossy.
3. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a #6 tip with most of meringue mixture and a smaller pastry bag fitted with a #3 tip. The larger bag is used to pipe the caps and stems, and the smaller bag is used to “glue” them together.
4. To pipe the caps: Hold the large pastry bag upright with the tube slightly above a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Squeeze a steady even pressure flow of the meringue and raise the tube as the meringue begins to build up, but keep the tip buried in the meringue. When a well-rounded shape is achieved, stop the pressure as you bring the tip out of the meringue, then use the tip to shave off any point that might form, moving clock-wise. On the other hand, to remove any points that form use a moistened fingertip to press them down into the meringue.
5. To pipe the stems: Hold the pastry bag upright with the tube touching the lined baking sheet. Squeeze with a heavy pressure with the tip buried in the meringue until you create a cone about ¾ inch high and wide at the base and tapered toward the top.
6. Allow the caps and stems to air-dry for at least one hour or until set.
7. Pre-heat oven to 200° F and bake the caps and stems for 45 minutes or until the mushrooms are firm enough to be lifted from the lined baking sheets.
8. With a small paring knife, make a small hole in the bottom and center of each cap, then put a small dab of the wet meringue from the smaller pastry bag to “glue” and attach a stem. Do this for all the caps and stems.
9. Place the mushrooms back to the sheet pan and return to the low temperature oven for another 20 minutes or until completely dry.

Quick Tips

  • For better texture use old egg whites
  • Ensure that the bowl, beater and egg whites are free of grease, including even a speck of egg yolk
  • Egg whites can be frozen for up to 1 year
  • Do not open the oven door during the first three quarters of the drying stages, this will cause cracking of the meringue
  • Meringue will stick to wax paper, do not use it
  • Avoid crowding the cookie sheet, spread out the caps and stems to ensure even air space
  • Both volume and weight measurements have been given in this recipe as professional bakers and pastry chefs utilize weighted products and specifications for their recipes and formulas. Weighted ingredients give more control over the product and omit any variation due to storage temperature, humidity and elevation differences

Images courtesy of WebShots.

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Tags: Baking · Desserts · Holidays · Recipes

18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 TrixNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 10:06 am

    That’s so fun! I love food that’s cleverly disguised as something else!

  • 2 ShirleyNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Simply amazing and perfect for the cookie tray!

  • 3 Miriam/The Winter GuestNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 11:13 am

    One of the thousand recipes in my to-do list…

  • 4 Tina MarieNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Very elegant looking. And perfect for a Christmas tray to pass around at parties.

  • 5 Vegetable MatterNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Meringue is actually really tricky to work with. Your mushrooms are perfectly executed.

  • 6 KellyNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Very pretty cookie!–I have one of Maida’s cookie collection cookbooks–and love her! I would love to test this as a vegan alternative with Ener-G Egg Replacer. FYI–Rose was on NPR’s Splendid Table this weekend sharing a recipe from Rose’s Cakes–her new cake cookbook–the lemon cake recipe can be found on ST site. Thanks for sharing this recipe and wonderful cookie making technique!

  • 7 JessieNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    looks very elegant and simple, I bet they taste really good too

  • 8 EmilyNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Oh my goodness! This looks soooo fantastic!

  • 9 Alta (Tasty Eats At Home)No Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    My aunt, who is a very accomplished baker, used to make these quite often! I haven’t seen them since, but you bring back memories of one of my favorite treats!

  • 10 averagebettyNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    These scream yule log!

  • 11 BamboobaileysNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I remember eating meringues as a kid, but they were huge meringue buns that my mom split and filled with whipped cream.
    The mushrooms are very cute and look great, but but I can’t help wondering what that chocolate item is on the plate with meringues??
    Oh I love Christmas LOL!!

  • 12 ninniNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    i like it,i really do ..but i would lie if i say i will try to do it,as old woman i have no patient for this ..i will share this wonderful recipe with my oldest daughter and i am sure she will try to do it!

  • 13 Ryan BoudreauxNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    These are really melt in your mouth delights. Once you get the piping technique down they are really quite easy to make.
    @Bamboobaileys, the chocolate item on the plate is a Bouche de Noel, also known as a Yule Log! They are typically made from a sheet cake that is rolled up in a “jelly-roll” style and decorated in the shape of a log, as in the “yule log”. Tomorrow, the final Christmas cookie will feature the Bûchettes de Noël, or miniature yule logs.

  • 14 penny aka jeroxieNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    How cute! And so creative. Very festive.

  • 15 Conor @ HoldtheBeefNo Gravatar // Dec 14, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    What a great idea :)

  • 16 CheahNo Gravatar // Dec 15, 2009 at 4:27 am

    They’re so cute, resemble so much like the button mushrooms!

  • 17 TaniaNo Gravatar // Dec 15, 2009 at 6:13 am

    Orginal idea, they are so cute!!

  • 18 DrickNo Gravatar // Dec 15, 2009 at 11:09 am

    haven’t thought about these in a long time – thanks and I always enjoy your professional know-how…