I’ll show you how to make meringue mushrooms ~ these easy meringue cookies look just like cute little woodland funghi. You can use them as a decorative element on cakes and other desserts, enjoy them as is, with a cup of coffee, or give them as gifts.
Meringue mushrooms are a classic component of a Bûche de Nöel cake.
These adorable ‘cookies’ are surprisingly easy to make. You don’t need special skills or fancy equipment. They look perfect on a yule log cake for Christmas, but are just as cute packaged up in a little basket to give as a homemade gift from your kitchen. They’re crisp on the outside, with a soft chewy center, just like a macaron cookie.
These cute little meringue cookies start with a batch of…meringue!
Whipped meringue is an incredibly silky sweet ~ and stable ~ confection that can be spooned onto the top of a pie, spread out into disks for pavlova, or piped into macaron cookies. Once you’ve made meringue, you’ll be hooked once you realize how easy it is and how many possibilities there are for flavoring it and making all kinds of confections.
meringue requires just 4 simple ingredients:
- egg whites
- cream of tartar
- vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- You’ll need a stand mixer or electric beaters to beat the meringue to stiff glossy peaks.
- And a piping bag with a large tip to form the mushrooms. In a pinch you can use a baggie with the corner snipped off.
First we pipe the stems.
The fun here is that there are no hard and fast rules. Your stems can be fat or thin, straight or bent. The more variation, the more natural your mushrooms will look, so don’t be too fussy about it. I tried to make several different sizes. The only caveat is that you don’t want your stems so thin or so tall that they flop over. You want them to stand up…more or less 😉
When you pipe with meringue you’ll tend to get pointy little tips at the top, but don’t worry, those natural points on the tip of your ‘stems’ will help when you construct your mushrooms later.
Next pipe round caps for your mushrooms.
In this case we don’t want a point, we want a smooth mound for the mushroom tops, so after piping, take a damp finger and smooth the surface of your mushroom caps. Again, don’t worry about being precise, the caps will puff up a bit in the oven and look just perfect.
Make a variety of sizes for the best effect.
Meringue bakes low and slow
You’re basically going to be drying out the meringue in a low oven, so bake the trays in a 250F oven for 90 minutes. The pieces should remove easily from the parchment and feel light and dry.
To assemble the mushroom cookies
Once cooked and cooled, I’ll take the point of a small sharp knife to gently carve out a small hole in the bottom of each mushroom cap. This is easy because the meringues are soft. A little melted chocolate will ‘glue’ the stem to the cap. Just insert the point of the stem into the hole you’ve made.
Once assembled allow the chocolate to harden (it’s best to keep the mushrooms upside-down until the chocolate has hardened so it doesn’t drip down the stem) and then you’ve got some very cute, very sturdy little cookies.
If you like you can spread a little of the chocolate out across the bottom of the cap to resemble the gills on the underside of a mushroom.
Dust the tops with a little sifted cocoa powder for the finishing touch.
How to serve mushroom meringues
- Serve the mushrooms in a little basket or on a plate with after dinner coffee
- Use them to decorate another dessert, like a Bûche de Noël.
- Or package them up to give as a gift ~ perfect for the holidays, and gluten free friends.
- Piping bags
- large plain piping tip (I used Wilton 1A)
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar (for stability)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract (optional)
- 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- cocoa powder, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 250F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the (clean and grease free) bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until they start to get foamy.
- Then, with the mixer running on medium-high speed, slowly add the sugar, about a spoonful at a time, allowing each spoonful to get mixed in for 30 seconds or so before adding more.
- Continue whipping on high speed until the meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form (about 5-7 minutes)
- Scoop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large, plain piping tip. I used a Wilton 1A tip.
- Pipe "stems" by slowly lifting up the piping tip and releasing so that you have a short cylinder, pointy tips are ok.
- Pipe "mushroom caps" by piping small circles and gently flattening down any tips that form with your finger.
- Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The meringues should release from the paper easily and be firm to the touch. Allow to cool before assembling.
- To assemble the mushrooms, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave using short bursts. Stir until smooth.
- With a small knife, gently carve a small hole into the underside of the meringue mushroom caps, being careful not to poke all the way through the caps.
- Place a little bit of melted chocolate in the hole on the underside of the mushroom caps, and gently spread a little more chocolate over the whole flat underside of the mushroom caps, if desired. Insert the stems into the little holes to create your mushrooms.
- Set the finished cookies upside-down until the chocolate has hardened.
- Finally, lightly dust the mushroom caps with a little bit of cocoa powder.
- Serve on a plate with tea or after dinner coffee, or carefully place in a basket for gift giving. Be careful, the cookies are fragile.