Creative Sunday baking: meringue mushrooms

These cute little treats are so simple and yet will wow kids and grown-ups alike.

 

Meringue Mushrooms

PREP approx 15 minutes (with meringue already made)
BAKING 1-2 hours
DECORATING 20 minutes

Makes approx 15 mushrooms

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Ingredients
1 recipe Basic Meringue (see below)
20g Dutch cocoa
100g chopped dark chocolate

Method
Preheat your oven to 90°C/gas mark ¼ and prep two baking trays with pre-cut baking paper.

Fill a piping bag with your meringue (no need for a nozzle), and snip about 4cm off the point of the piping bag with scissors. Use a small blob of meringue under each corner of your baking paper to stick it to each baking tray. Meringue is super-sticky, and nothing makes me twitch more than when you’re trying to pipe meringues and the baking paper keeps pulling up. So this little trick will help the paper stay stuck to the trays.

Pipe random-sized dollops of meringue onto the paper: squeeze your piping bag close to the paper and keep squeezing as you pull up, then release the pressure and keep pulling up to create a little tail. These will be the bases of the mushrooms; pipe about 15 of them.

Pipe the tops onto the second tray: squeeze your piping bag about 1cm off the baking paper, and keep squeezing at that height so the meringue stays flatter and spreads out. Then stop squeezing and flick the piping bag in a semicircle while pulling away at the same time. Dust the tops of your mushroom meringues with a small amount of cocoa before putting them in the oven.

Bake for 1-2 hours; they will be done when the meringues come cleanly away from the baking paper. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To decorate, put your dark chocolate in a suitable bowl and melt in the microwave in 20-second bursts, stirring between each burst. When the chocolate is ready, dip each mushroom top in chocolate so just the base is coated, and sit it on top of a mushroom base. Push down slightly so that the pointy tip pushes into the underside of the top – the chocolate will set and secure it in place.

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Store in an airtight container for up to 7-10 days.

Basic Meringue

PREP 5 minutes
MIXING 20ish minutes

Ingredients
100g egg white
200g caster sugar

Method
Put the egg white and sugar in a heatproof bowl (I do this in my metal stand mixer bowl). Grab a pot that is smaller than your bowl. Fill the pot halfway with water, bring it to the boil then turn down to a simmer.

Rest your bowl on top of the pot, and put a large spoon in the pot so that the steam can escape between the bowl and the pot. Stir the meringue-to-be until the sugar has dissolved into the egg white. To test this, dunk your thumb and pointer finger in and rub them together (this is gross and feels like snot, but it’s the best way to test). You shouldn’t feel any gritty bits of sugar.

Once the sugar is dissolved, transfer to your stand mixer bowl (if you’re not already using it). Using the whisk attachment, mix on high until stiff peaks are achieved, like super-stiff. You want the bowl to have cooled and your meringue to be super-stiff – did I mention you want them stiff?!

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Decide what you want to do with your meringue – Giant Meringues, Meringue Kisses, Meringue Mushrooms – and see the next recipes for how to make them.

Extracted from Magnolia Kitchen by Bernadette Gee (Murdoch Books, approx €22.50). Photography by Lottie Hedley.

 

 

 

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