Simple meringue mushrooms made with an easy French method - no heating of hot syrup required. Perfect for decorating dessert tables, cakes and wrapped individually for gifts.
This recipe for French meringue mushrooms came in really handy the last winter holiday season when I was preparing the Christmas table. It is based on the meringue mushrooms that I used to top off the Modern Totoro Yule Log Cake. These little mushrooms are so easy to make with the French meringue method and there are so many uses for them that I really recommend this easy baking project for the winter holidays.
Why You'll Love Making Meringue Mushrooms
- Easy to Make - French method meringue technique requires no heating of sugar syrup.
- Multiple Uses - perfect for topping off holiday tables, cakes, desserts or for gift giving by itself.
- Minimal Ingredients - utilizes simple pantry ingredients that are easy to stock.
- Prepare in Advance - save time by making these holiday goodies up to weeks in advance.
Ingredients You'll Need & Substitutes
- Castor sugar - also known as 'fine granulated sugar' or 'berry sugar'. Can also be substituted with regular granulated sugar but castor sugar is preferable.
- Egg whites - make sure egg whites are at room temperature before whipping for maximum volume.
- Cream of tartar - is an acid that adds more stability to meringue. It can be substituted with double the amount in lemon juice or vinegar.
- Pure vanilla extract - this flavoring can be substituted with a few drops of your favorite extract.
- Optional: cocoa powder for dusting onto the finished meringue mushrooms. This can be substituted with ground cinnamon or gingerbread spice.
Easy French Meringue for Beginners
These meringue mushrooms are made from piping meringue into 2 separate shapes and assembling together after baking. Meringue is made from a mixture of whipped egg whites and sugar, this mixture can be baked or left unbaked. If left unbaked, it's soft and fluffy and is usually reserved as toppings on desserts (Note: for food safety, usually these meringues are prepared by heating the egg whites and sugar to a temperature that can kill any harmful bacteria inside the eggs). If baked, it becomes a wonderful treat all on its own. It's sweet and crispy with a light texture. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
This recipes uses the French method for preparing meringue. In this method, sugar is simultaneously added to egg whites that are being whipped. Whereas in the Italian method, the sugar is first heated with water to create a syrup that is then added to egg whites that are being whipped. The French method is especially suited for beginners and many of you may already have experience making a French meringue from my Best Macaron Tutorial. You find all that practice you had making a strong and healthy meringue for macarons will now come in handy for these meringues cookies. For those of you who are new to making meringues, here are some tips below for mastering this little cookie.
Tips for Making French Meringue
- Meringues don't whip up well when mixed with oil or water. Use a non-plastic bowl like glass or copper and wipe it down with some vinegar or lemon juice to remove leftover oils. (Plastic bowls are porous and may contain leftover traces of oil.)
- Wash and dry hands completely then separate egg whites straight from the fridge. They are easier to separate when cold.
- Make sure no yolks are present in the egg whites. If a trace amount comes into contact with the whites, you can scoop it out with the egg shell.
- Bring egg whites to room temperature before whipping.
- Always start on low speed when whipping egg whites and then gradually increase the speed. This will help the egg whites develop a more stable structure.
- Add cream of tartar or any other acid to stabilize the egg whites. Lemon juice or vinegar in double the amount can be used as substitutes.
- If possible, use castor sugar a.k.a berry sugar or extra fine sugar. This fine sugar will dissolve more readily than regular granulated sugar.
- Add the sugar slowly so it has time to dissolve.
- Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks has been reached. Stiff peaks is characterized by egg whites that have pointed peaks that don't collapse on itself. (See photo below)
- If available, pipe the meringue onto silicone mats instead of paper since it's easier to pull the piping bag away quickly to stop piping without dragging the paper up with the meringue.
- To prevent the meringues from cracking, don't open the oven during the baking time.
- Once the meringues are finished baking, let it stay in the oven for 2 hours or more to let it cool off gradually without collapsing.
How to Serve & Store Meringue Mushrooms
There are so many uses for these meringue mushrooms. They're great for decorating Christmas yule logs, cupcakes, cheesecakes, macarons and desserts. They can be wrapped up individually in a gift box for gift giving. Those with a sweet tooth will really love the sweet crispy texture of these meringue cookies. I've also used them as sustainable and delicious decorations for the Christmas dinner table and place settings. Here are two other version of these simple meringues you might like: Pink Cotton Candy Meringue Kisses, Striped Meringue Candies.
These meringue mushrooms can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and kept in an air-tight container. If you're using them purely as table decorations and not for consumption, they can be kept even longer, up to one month.
French Meringue Mushrooms
- 135 grams castor sugar*
- 60 grams egg whites (room temperature)
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar**
- ⅛ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional: Cocoa powder for dusting
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- water in a spray bottle
Simple French Meringue Mushrooms
- Set egg whites out at room temperature.
- When the egg whites comes to room temperature, whip on low speed. Once it begins to foam, add cream of tartar.
- Increase speed to medium.
- Continue whipping until egg whites become opaque and the whisks starts to leave tracks inside the whites.
- Add the sugar a little at a time until fully incorporated.
- Add vanilla extract and incorporate.
- Continue to whip on med-high speed until stiff peaks are reached.*** You have now made a meringue.
- Transfer the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a coupler and a small round piping tip (e.g. Wilton #10).
- Place parchment paper or Silpat mats onto baking tray. If using paper, dab a bit of meringue onto the bottom of the paper and stick it to the pan to prevent it from shuffling around as you pipe.
- Pre-heat oven to 200F.
- Pipe the stems of the mushroom by holding the piping tip upright while applying even pressure. After reaching ¾" in height, release pressure and pull away quickly to stop piping. There will be a pointed peak on the stem, this can be cut away after baking.
- Change the piping tip to a ½" round one (e.g. Atecco #805). Pipe the caps on the mat by allowing the meringue to flatten out into a 1" circle as you pipe. Release pressure and use a swirling motion to stop piping to prevent pointed tips.
- Bake for 1 hour at 200F. Do not open the doors while baking.
- Meringues are fully baked when they can be pulled cleanly away from the mat without sticking.
- Turn off the oven. Leave meringues inside with the door ajar for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Once meringues have dried, cut off the peaks of the mushroom stems to create a flat surface for applying the mushroom cap.
- Use some royal icing (sugar "glue" recipe below) or melted chocolate to glue the two together.
- Optional: with a tea strainer, dust some cocoa powder on top for a natural speckled look.
- French meringue mushrooms can be kept in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
- Place icing sugar in a small bowl, gently spray the water onto the sugar, stirring after each spray. Stop spraying water when the consistency is thick and sticky for gluing.
* Castor sugar is also known as 'fine granulated sugar' or 'berry sugar'. Can also be substituted with regular granulated sugar but castor sugar is preferable.
** Cream of tartar can be substituted with double the amount in lemon juice or vinegar.
*** Stiff peaks is characterized by egg whites that hold a stiff peak that stands upright without falling over when the whisk is pulled out of the egg whites. Additionally, the egg whites don't slip in the bowl when tipped upside down.
Amount Per Serving Calories 23Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 4mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 0g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although indulgewithmimi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.