My three sisters and I are all creative, which makes it fun to see what we all come up with - especially around the holidays.
My oldest sister has 3 kids, and apparently last week was bake-sale week. So she needed some good ideas.
In browsing some of the cookbooks handed down from our mom, she found a recipe for meringue mushrooms and knew she had to try them. I think the results are pretty darn adorable. Didn't she do a great job? They're about 2-3 inches tall each.
I don't have the exact recipe she used, but found some similar to what we've done in the past.
- This one at Joy of Baking even has a video! But it also details some great tips about meringue cookies, which fall in line with what I've experienced as well.
- This recipe at AllRecipes.com calls for a 300 degree oven, which sounds too hot to me. I'm used to around 250 or so.
- And hey, I just found this recipe also at AllRecipes for meringue mushrooms! These look much more realistic, but the same principles apply. I love the idea of dusting them with cocoa powder. Obviously there's lots of room for creativity.
- separate out the ingredients for your different colors (she kept the stems white/uncolored, and did green and pink tops)
- pipe out the stems - just go straight up. They'll hold their shape
- pipe out the tops as well - first pipe out a nice round shape without moving the bag, then move the bag up slowly while piping from the center. It'll look pointy, so use a spoon (greased makes it easier!) to smooth the top over.
- add little white dots to the tops with a smaller piping tip
- Bake, making sure not to open the oven during the baking. Let the meringues rest for at least an hour and a half before removing from the oven.
- Use royal icing (uncolored) to attach the tops to the stems.
Hers came out great, and she kept them unflavored (their pure sugary goodness). Meringues are easy to add any flavored extract to - peppermint was a favorite in our house growing up, as well as plain with mini chocolate chips (my personal all-time favorite!).
I think the mini chocolate chips would look very cute in the tops instead of the white dots, or make a smaller version and use those pastel-colored pastilles as the tops. Lots of options! Perfect for Easter, or anytime really. Just remember that it does require a while in the oven and a while for resting time, so you might want to plan to cook them the day before and let them rest overnight in the oven.
As always, have fun and let me know if you try them yourself!