Meringue mushrooms. Simply adorable. This confection caught my fancy while I was watching the short-episode show Rachel Khoo: Cosmopolitan Kitchen, Sweden episode. I don’t often take time to just play in the kitchen, but the season of granddaughter birthdays has begun so fun was on my radar. I suspected that including this sweet craft in a creative kitchen afternoon would be perfect for Felicity’s special day.
Long, long ago in home economics class, I learned to make meringue – an important life skill apparently. Since it consists of egg whites and sugar, I haven’t made it in years, but the thought occurred to me that some inventive cook might have discovered a way to make meringue without the sugar.
Is Keto Meringue Possible?
Could there be such a thing as keto meringue? My research revealed that the answer is yes. I particularly liked a recipe by Katrin Nürnberger whose link I’ve included at the bottom of this page. She uses inulin as one of her two sweeteners because it is gentle and not cloyingly sweet. I tried her recipe and found it perfect.
What about a Piping Bag?
Next was the question of a piping bag. Not something I own. However, my keto meringue mushroom fascination had me researching products online. Then I found out that many cake decorators make their own disposable parchment cones. I’ve included a link at the bottom of this page to a longish but really helpful video that gave me all the information I needed. Having two cones ready to fill might be best since they are a bit small for the amount of meringue to be piped. Refilling isn’t as simple as you might think. Lastly, my always-to-the-rescue neighbour loaned me her professional cloth piping bag and tips, which turned out to be the most satisfactory method of all.
Keto Meringue Mushrooms Recipe
- 4 tbsp inulin
- 3 tbsp Lakanto monkfruit sweetener, powdered
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 tsp real vanilla
- 1 oz chocolate of your choice (used to attach the cap to the stem – it will look like mushroom gills)
Prepare the Meringue
- Preheat your oven to 235°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Measure the two sweeteners into a small bowl and mix well. Separate the eggs. (Cover the yolks and refrigerate for another use.) Whip the egg whites in a metal bowl on high speed until they start to form peaks. Gradually add the sweeteners a little at a time. Then add the vanilla. The meringue is ready when it is thick and glossy.
Bake the Meringue
- Scrape the meringue into your piping bag or parchment cones. Use a 3/8” metal tip or cut the point out of the parchment cone when you’re ready to pipe.
- Pipe twenty caps and twenty stems onto the parchment-lined baking tray. For the caps, hold the tip low and force the meringue into itself to form flattish circles. Dip your finger in a bit of water and smooth away the points. For the stems, squeeze out a base then pull the bag up to complete the stem shape.
- Bake at 235° F for an hour, then without opening the door turn the oven down to 200°F and bake for another hour. By now the meringues will smell amazing. Turn off the oven, but leave them in for another hour. You will find that this combination of sweeteners results in a lovely light tan meringue, the perfect colour for mushrooms.
- If you try to use the meringues right away, they will be too soft and sticky. Let them set until the next day to become crisp. They should release from the parchment paper easily.
Assemble the Mushrooms
- Using a chopstick, make an indent in the centre of the underside of each cap.
- Gently melt a small amount of chocolate, about the equivalent of a heaping tablespoon of chocolate chips. Carefully spread it on the underside of each cap, then push the point of a stem into the indent. Now you just need to let the chocolate harden.
- For extra realism, dab a bit of cocoa or carob powder on the caps of the mushrooms.
Felicity and I had great fun making these sugar-free keto meringue mushrooms. She loved the ooohs and ahhhs of her sisters. But the best moment was when she offered one to her father, who hadn’t quite noticed its true nature. He said he’d wait until morning and chop it up for his breakfast omelet. Giggles all around!
Original Keto Meringue Recipe
Thanks to Katrin Nürnberger for figuring this out!
Parchment Piping Cone Instructions
Thanks to Julia M. Usher for her YouTube video!
Inulin is a valuable prebiotic fibre. The inulin I use is extracted from the tubers of Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus, which has the second highest inulin content. In case you were wondering, chicory root has the highest inulin content. Inulin has a mildly sweet, creamy taste and because it is low glycemic it is often recommended for people dealing with diabetes or candida.
I buy my supply online from Organic Matters in Nelson, BC. Their website states that, “Dietary fibers such as inulin are known to enhance gut health, curb appetite, help maintain heart health by influencing lipid metabolism, and improve bone density by increasing calcium and magnesium absorption.” Inulin is rich in iron, potassium, and vitamins C and B.