Buche de Noel, Part I

Even if I had wanted to reprise last year's peppermint meringue cake, I don't think I would have had time.  It's funny how things change like that.  I mean, not that the cake I made instead was quick or easy, by any standards.  Since when do I do things the easy way?

And apparently, I also can't make a Christmas cake without meringue involved.  At least this time there was no tracing or fear of cracking.  They were mushrooms!

I had always expected meringue mushrooms to be harder to make, but I mean, I am the one who is always saying that meringue is easy.  But, I mean, really the tops are just meringue cookies, and the bottoms are little cones of meringue.  The frosting holding them together, however, kind of wrought havoc.  They got a little squishy.  Maybe the canned frosting from the fridge wasn't a good idea.

The cocoa made them though.  They really looked like mushrooms (or mushmallows, if you prefer).  Thank goodness for strainers . . . they work really well for sifting cocoa over meringues.

Oh, and I was able to just use a ziplock bag with a corner cut off to pipe them.  It was easy -- I just made little circles and then just little dots that I made as tall as possible.
And I used a knife to make the little holes in the bottom.

Meringue Mushrooms
from Betty Crocker's Christmas Cookbook

1 egg white
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 sugar
chocolate frosting

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and heat oven to 200 degrees.  Beat an egg white and cream of tartar until foamy.  Add sugar and beat until stiff and glossy (about 5 minutes).

Put meringue into ziplock bag and cut 1/4-1/3 inch corner off of bag.  Pipe round mushroom caps (1-1 1/4 inches in diameter) and cone-shaped stems alternately onto the two baking sheets.  Sift cocoa over the caps.

Bake caps 45-50 minutes and stems 40-45 minutes, or until firm.

Immediately peel off the caps and make an indentation in the middle of the bottom.

Use frosting to fill the indentations and attach the stems.  Let dry upside down.


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