Mom’s other specialty was these meringue mushrooms. They would usually accompany the main dessert, but nothing’s to say you can’t just make them by themselves. They’re fussier and more labor-intensive than most of the recipes I post here, but they’re way worth it.
4 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
3 ounces high-quality bittersweet couverture chocolate, melted
You will need two baking sheets, an electric mixer (hand or stand), baking parchment and a pastry bag with a round tip. Oven set at 225 degrees. Try to make these when it’s not too humid out, or they’ll wind up chewy rather than crisp.
1. Beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and the vailla until stiff peaks form.
2. Fill pastry bag with meringue.
3. Pipe 15 1.5 inch tall “stems” and 15 half-round “caps” onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle the tops of the caps with cocoa powder to simuate dirt.
4. Bake in 225-degree oven for an hour, then turn the oven off and let the mushrooms dry out for another hour.
5. Using a small knife, carve a 1/2 inch wide hole in the underside of the caps. Dip the tops of the stems into the melted chocolate and “glue” them into the hole.
6. Refrigerate for a while to cool the chocolate. Serve to awed guests.