A whimsical dessert or decoration sure to wow your entire adventuring party!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Rest time: 3 hours
Assembly: 30 minutes
There is a short video tutorial at the bottom of this post if you'd like some visuals!
5 egg whites (150g)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
2 cups chocolate (high quality is best, but chips will work!)
2 sheet pans
2 piping bags, one large round tip, one smaller round tip (1/2 inch and 1/4 inch tips work great)
Prepare pans and bags: place parchment on two sheet pans and put your piping tips inside your piping bags.
Whisk together the egg white and sugar in a bain marie (or use a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of water to make a double boiler).
Cook over medium-low heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is very hot to touch. You can pinch the mixture between your fingers and feel if the sugar has dissolved. If you have a thermometer, cook mixture until it is 160°F.
Put in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip using the whisk attachment until the bowl is no longer warm to touch and the meringue is glossy and stiff. Add in the vanilla extract and salt and whip until combined.
Pre-heat oven to 225°F.
Fill your piping bags with the meringue and pipe the mushroom caps: using the larger piping tip, keep the tip close to the parchment and allow the meringue to spread wide. You can experiment with flat and wide, or smaller and rounded caps. Get creative!
Pipe the stems: using the smaller tip, gradually lift the piping bag away from the parchment as you pipe to create the stems.
Dip your finger in water and gently press down on the tops of the caps and stems to remove the meringue tail.
Put the pans into the oven and bake and dry out for 3 hours.
Turn the oven off and allow the meringue to continue drying out and the oven to cool, and additional 2-4 hours. You want to make sure at the end of this period that the meringue is completely dry and not tacky to touch. If you're attempting this on a humid or rainy day, that can be very difficult! You can leave the meringue in the oven overnight, or you can plow ahead! The assembly will be a little more difficult but it's absolutely possible to make beautiful mushrooms, even if they're a little soft.
Sift cocoa powder onto your meringue and gently rub it into the caps and stems, darkening them as much as you'd like to create the perfect mushroom visage.
Melt your chocolate, and temper it if possible (a quick way to temper is to melt 2/3 of the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments. Once you can stir it smooth, toss in the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate and continue stirring until smooth. If you have a thermometer, you want it to register between 88°F and 91°F. Tempered chocolate will set within minutes).
Dip your stems into the melted chocolate and attach to the caps, allow to cry cap-side down.
Once dry, you can use immediately or store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks!