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Hi Bold Bakers!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Delightful Meringue Mushrooms add the perfect whimsical touch to a Christmas Yule Log (Bûche de Noël). Use these sweet and crunchy treats as a fun garnish for any holiday dessert, or enjoy them on their own.
- Their light and crunchy texture perfectly complements the rich Christmas Yule Log.
- Their creamy color is a gorgeous contrast to the chocolate cake.
Holiday baking usually focuses on the flashy—an extra-special cake, a gorgeously layered trifle—but the smaller special touches, like these Meringue Mushrooms, beautiful Peppermint Candy Spoons, charming Frozen Whipped Cream, or a batch of Homemade Fudge, are the special treats that add sparkle to the holidays.
Table of Contents
- What are Meringue Mushrooms?
- Tools You Need
- Key Ingredients and Why
- How to Make Meringue Mushrooms
- Can I Make Meringue Mushrooms in Advance?
- How to Store Meringue Mushrooms
- Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- More Meringue Recipes
What are Meringue Mushrooms?
- Meringue mushrooms are made from egg whites whipped with sugar and cream of tartar that are piped into mushroom shapes and baked. They’re dusted with cocoa powder for a mushroom-like hue and attached to the cake with melted chocolate.
- These confections are used to evoke a woodland scene and can be used to complete many winter desserts. They’re often paired with sugared cranberries, fondant or gingerbread, herb sprigs, and candy rocks or pebbles.
- In the 1800s, French pastry chefs started using meringue and were enthralled with its moldability and the airy, crisp results. Meringue mushrooms were a natural pairing with the rustic look of the French Bûche de Noel.
Tools You Need
- Two baking sheets and parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- Hand-held electric mixer
- Measuring cups and measuring spoons
- Large piping bag fitted with a ⅜ -inch (9 mm) round tip
- Thin, pointed knife
Key Ingredients and Why
- Egg whites are the main component of meringue.
- Whipping egg whites makes them foamy and aerates the whites. The protein structure in egg whites traps the air and expands the mixture.
Cream of tartar
- Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) is an acid that helps egg whites reach their maximum volume.
- It also helps stabilize the whipped egg whites to make a light, fluffy meringue that holds its shape.
- Sugar sweetens the meringue.
- Sugar also stabilizes the meringue and improves the texture.
- Melted bittersweet chocolate bonds the meringue mushroom caps and stems together deliciously.
- A dusting of cocoa powder gives the mushrooms a more realistic look and a lovely flavor.
How to Make Meringue Mushrooms
- Prepare to bake: Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C), and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Make the meringue: Whip egg whites on high for 30 seconds until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whip until whites reach soft peaks which flop over immediately when the beater is lifted. Continue to whip and add sugar one tablespoon at a time until egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks that stand straight up when the beaters are lifted.
- Pipe the meringue: Scoop egg whites into a piping bag. Pipe 25 mushroom stems onto the prepared baking sheet as directed in the recipe. Then, pipe 25 mushroom caps as directed in the recipe. Continue until you’ve used all of the egg whites.
- Bake: Bake meringues for 90 minutes until they are dry. Let the meringues cool completely.
- Assemble: When ready to assemble, use the knife to make a small hole in the bottom of the caps. Fill with melted chocolate and insert the stems. Let the mushrooms set. Before serving, dust with cocoa powder.
Can I Make Meringue Mushrooms in Advance?
Yes, you can make Meringue Mushrooms in advance.
- Meringue must be kept in a dry environment, or it will get sticky.
- Keep Meringue Mushrooms in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to three days.
- If you layer them in the container, separate the layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
How to Store Meringue Mushrooms
Leftover Meringue Mushrooms will keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature for up to three days.
Can I make these Meringue Mushrooms egg-free?
Yes, you can make these Meringue Mushrooms egg-free. For an eggless version, try making them with Aqua Faba.
How can I make sure my meringue is dry and crisp and doesn’t weep?
- Ensure that the mixing bowl and utensils are completely clean, dry, and free of any grease. Any oil or moisture can adversely affect the meringue.
- Also, separate your eggs carefully, making sure there are no traces of yolk in the egg whites.
What can I use to substitute for cream of tartar?
Cream of tartar is a mild acid that strengthens the egg whites by giving them some elasticity.
- White Vinegar: Substitute twice the amount of white vinegar for cream of tartar.
- Lemon Juice: Use the same amount of lemon juice as you would cream of tartar.
- Baking Powder: In a pinch, you can use baking powder. Use 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder for every 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Keep in mind that baking powder contains additional ingredients (such as baking soda), so this may affect the flavor slightly.
- Note that using a substitute may yield results that differ in taste and texture from those made by following the recipe exactly.
Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips
- Room-temperature egg whites whip up better than cold. To take the chill out of cold whites, place them in a bowl and rest the bowl in a larger bowl of very warm (not boiling) water for a few minutes.
- You can use ¼ teaspoon of vinegar if you don’t have cream of tartar.
- Although Meringue Mushrooms are the classic decoration for a Christmas Yule Log (Bouche de Noel), they are equally sweet on a holiday cookie platter.
- You can use this meringue batter to pipe any other shape you wish.
- You can flavor this meringue by adding a ¼ teaspoon of peppermint or almond extract to the whites once they are whipped to stiff peaks.
- Meringue Mushrooms are fabulous on a cookie platter or a Chocolate Charcuterie Board.
More Meringue Recipes
Meringue Mushrooms Recipe (for Bûche De Noël)
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup (2 oz/57 g) bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, whip the whites on high speed for about 30 seconds, until foamy.
- Add the cream of tartar and continue whipping as the egg whites thicken.
- Once the whites reach soft peaks, start adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and then beat to stiff, glossy peaks.
- Transfer the whites to a large piping bag fitted with a ⅜ -inch (9 mm) round tip.
- Pipe the mushroom stems: hold the piping tip perpendicular to the prepared baking sheet, squeeze a ¾-inch (2 cm) mound onto the parchment paper, then lift straight up and release the pressure to create a long Hershey kiss like shape. Repeat to make 25 stems.
- Pipe the mushroom caps: hold the piping tip perpendicular to the prepared baking sheet, squeeze a 1½ inch (4 cm) mound, then release the pressure on the bag but instead of lifting the tip upward (which will create a peak) detach the tip by making a small circular motion. Repeat to make 25 caps. If you get any peaks, you can gently smooth them out with a slightly damp finger.
- If you have more egg whites, continue piping an equal amount of stems and caps, piping everything about 1-inch (2½ cm) apart on both sheets.
- Bake for about 90 minutes, rotating the pans halfway though, until the meringues are dry to the touch and release easily from the parchment. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.
- When ready to assemble, use a thin pointed knife to poke a small hole in the bottom center of each mushroom cap.
- With a small spoon, fill a few drops of melted chocolate into the hole and insert the tip of a stem.
- Keep the mushrooms on its side for about an hour, or until the chocolate sets.
- Store the mushrooms in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Just before serving, sift a touch of cocoa powder on the caps.