This recipe turns out the best when made on a sunny day and the humidity in the house is low.
4 egg whites at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup of sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
Grease and flour jelly roll pans or cookie sheets
In a medium bowl beat egg whites on high. Add the cream of tartar. Then slowly add the sugar. As the egg whites thicken, add the almond extract. Beat the egg whites until they are very firm.
Place the whites in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in one corner. Pipe the meringue onto the pans. For the caps, squeeze with the bag opening about ½ inch from pan until the cap is the size you want. For the stem, slowly pull back as you squeeze until the stem is as tall as you want.
The number of mushrooms you get from this recipe depends on how large you make the mushroom caps. I get 65 to 80.
To make the mushrooms appear to have toadstool freckles, I sprinkle a little cinnamon and nutmeg on the caps.
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place pans in oven and leave them there for 1 ¾ hours. Turn off the oven and leave the pans in the oven until they are cool.
Carefully remove the meringues from the pans. If the pans weren’t oiled and floured right, they might be hard to remove/or will break. (One year I heated the bottoms of the pans to get the meringues off!!)
Take a small knife and scrape shiny flour/oil off bottoms of caps. (One year I didn’t and the chocolate ‘gills’ fell off.) As you clean the caps, make a small hole in the middle of the cap underside.
Melt chocolate and spread it on the bottom of the caps, then before it hardens, take a stem and gently push it into the chocolate covered hole. The mushroom candy will stand upright when you set it down.