Meringue Mushrooms~

Adapted from Martha Stewart and Allrecipes

1/2 cup egg whites at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

dash of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup superfine sugar (whiz regular sugar in food processor for one minute)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 225º.  Line baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Use an electric mixer to whip egg whites till foamy.  Add cream of tartar, salt and vanilla.  Continue whipping till egg whites form soft peaks (if you make a peak with the meringue, the tip will not stay upright).

Slowly add the sugar while continuing to whip on high...a tablespoon or so at a time...till the whites form stiff peaks (the peaks will stay upright).

Place the meringue in a pastry bag fit with a large plain tip.  Or do what I do and use a ziplock bag fit with a large plain tip.  For stems, press out a bit of meringue onto the baking sheet and lift the tip straight up.  For caps, squeeze out round mounds of meringue.  I just used a teaspoon dough scoop to form my rounds. You can use a wet finger to gently pat down any major imperfections.

Bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

To make mushrooms, melt semi-sweet chocolate in microwave...stopping and stirring at 30 second increments till melted.  Add vegetable oil and stir.  Use a tooth pick to make a hole in the bottom of the cap...just large enough to insert one of the stems.  Spread a small amount of chocolate on the underside of the cap and connect stem to cap.  It may take a bit of fiddling to make the holes the correct size and to get the mushrooms to stand alone.  You should have plenty of caps and stems with which to practice.  Dust mushrooms with cocoa powder to finish.