Meringue mushrooms are a whimsical addition to a yule log or cookie plate. Alice Medrich, author of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, shows how to create realistic mushrooms from a basic meringue recipe.
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Meringue mushrooms look like something only a skilled pastry chef can make, but they’re actually quite easy to do at home. Start with a classic recipe for meringue, the kind that makes a dry crunchy cookie, not the kind for a soft pie topping. Scrape all of the meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip that’s about a half an inch in diameter. The trick to making the stems is to hold the pastry bag vertical and very close to the baking sheet. Squeeze without lifting for a couple of seconds and then pull up and away. To pipe the caps, hold the pastry bag as high above the baking sheet as you want the mushroom cap to be. Don’t move the bag as you squeeze and then move aside with a short, circular motion. To give them a really natural look, as though they came off a dirty forest floor, I like to sprinkle them with a little cocoa powder and either blow on them or fan them with a file folder and then they go into a 200 degree oven for two hours to dry out and crisp up. When they’re done, turn over the caps and spread them with a little bit of melted chocolate. Trim off the pointy end of the stem and adhere to the caps. These mushrooms are great to decorate the traditional Christmas Yule Log Cake, but they also make terrific little cookies.