Chocolate Meringue

Cocoa powder not only changes Classic Meringue’s flavor but makes it less sweet. Chocolate Meringue Mushrooms make wonderful gifts at Christmas. They are used to decorate Cranberry-Chocolate Eistorte. You can also pipe shells to serve with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

This is the foundation for Chambéry Lemon Torte.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) plus ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (75 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • cup (40 grams) unsifted cocoa powder
  • cup (about 5 large) egg whites, room temperature

Baking Equipment

Two 12-x-15 ½-x-½-inch baking sheets, 16-inch pastry bag, ½-inch (#6) round decorating tip

Method

Preparations

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. After placing the granulated sugar in separate bowls, pour the powdered sugar, remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar and cocoa powder in that order into a triple sifter over a third bowl, and sift; set aside until whipping the whites.

Making Meringue Disks

Pipe as directed.

Making Meringue Mushrooms

Fill the pastry bag, fitted with the decorating tip, with the meringue mixture and pipe a small dot under a corner of the parchment paper to anchor it to each baking sheet. Pipe out cap shapes, holding the bag at a 30-degree angle to the baking sheet and slightly above it.

Pipe an assortment of cap sizes, ½ inch to 1 ½ inches in diameter for variety, spacing them about ½ inch apart. Squeeze on the pastry bag, allowing the meringue to flow into a round shape, without moving the tip’s position, then stopping pressure when the desired width is reached. To release the meringue and avoid a point, rotate the tip in a clockwise motion and lift the bag away.

To pipe out the stems, hold the pastry bag perpendicular to the parchment-lined baking sheet with the tip about ¼ inch above. Squeeze and hold this position to build a small base of meringue; then lift the pastry tip up about 1 inch, still applying pressure on the bag. Stop when you achieve the desired height. The stem sizes depend upon the amount of pressure you exert on the bag. Do not worry if caps and stems are not perfectly shaped.

Bake in the preheated 225-degree oven for 50 to 65 minutes, or until the caps and stems can be removed without sticking to the parchment. Remove the baking sheets to cooling racks. If you are not using the mushrooms the day they are baked, store the pieces in an airtight metal container for up to 1 week.

Make the meringue as for Classic Meringue, with the following differences:

Decorating and Storing the Mushrooms

With the tip of a small paring knife, gently bore a small hole in the underside of each cap. Set upright on a baking sheet.

Make a small paper cone. Then prepare Classic Royal Icing. Fill the paper cone with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the icing and decorate many of the mushroom caps with dots, giving a whimsical polka-dot effect. Dry the icing for about 30 to 60 minutes. (To speed the drying, place the baking sheet of decorated caps in a preheated 200-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.) Cover the remaining icing with plastic wrap to prevent its drying.

To attach the stems to the caps, pipe a dot of icing into the hole; then press the stem tip to fit. Place the assembled mushrooms on a baking sheet until the icing has dried.

If you are not serving the mushrooms right away, store them in airtight metal containers at room temperature.

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