In advance planning for a buche de noel and a foresty Christmas dessert theme this year, I made some meringue mushrooms, inspired by this recipe that I used a few years ago when I made my first but de noel (see the blog post about that extravaganza here).
2 large egg whites
2 pinches cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup water
10 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring water and sugar to simmer over medium heat, swirling to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until syrup reaches soft ball stage, 236 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, whip egg whites until frothy, then add cream of tartar and salt. Increase speed to high until soft peaks form, about 30 seconds. Keeping mixer on high, slowly pour in sugar syrup and continue to beat until peaks are shiny and eggs are room temperature, about 10 minutes. Mix in vanilla.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe bases and caps. Use a wet finger to smooth tops of bases and tops of caps.
Bake for 1.5 hours then turn off oven and leave in over to dry for another hour. Melt semi-sweet chocolate to attach bases to caps and sprinkle with cocoa.
Meringues will stay fresh in a sealed container for two weeks.
One more recipe tomorrow!