These adorable meringue mushrooms can easily be mistaken for the real thing, thanks to a light dusting of cocoa powder. Watch cookbook author Alice Medrich bake and assemble these traditional garnishes for a bûche de Noël (Christmas yule log cake) in this CHOW video.
Special equipment: You will need a 12- to 18-inch pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip to form the stems and caps of the mushrooms.
Pipe the stems and caps of the mushrooms: Pipe half of the meringue into pointed “kisses” about 1 inch high to make the stems on one of the prepared baking sheets. (Don’t worry if the tips bend over or sag.) Pipe the remaining meringue into domes to make mushroom caps on the second baking sheet (make sure you have an equal number of stems and caps).
Coffee Meringue Mushrooms: Stir 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder into the portion of sugar that is gradually beaten into the egg whites.
Chestnut Meringue Mushrooms: Mix 3 tablespoons chestnut flour with the 1/4 cup of the sugar that is folded in at the end.