Fairy Ring Mushroom
Order Agaricales, Family Marasmiaceae
CAP LIGHT TAN, WITH CENTRAL KNOB
Cap: 1-5 cm wide, at first bell-shaped with incurved cap edge, becoming convex to almost plane with broad knob; dry, smooth' usually buff to tan, sometimes white to reddish-tan
GILLS WHITE TO PALE TAN
Gills: attached; wide-spaced from one another; broad; white to pale tan
STALK TOUGH AND PLIANT
Stalk: 2-8 cm long, 1.5-6 mm thick; smooth or with twisted ribs; color of cap or paler
DRY SPECIMENS REVIVE WHEN MOISTENED
SPORE PRINT WHITE
Spores 6-10 x 3.5-6 µm, smooth, elliptical
IN LAWNS IN CIRCLES ("FAIRY RINGS")
The sweater (Clitocybe dealbata) -- no umbo, gills crowded, thin, stem not tough
When I was a child, coconut macaroons were my favorite sweet treat. I remember our housekeeper, Alice, tucking the hard, crispy macaroons fresh from the oven into my lunch box. By the time the school bus collected me and I was settled into my seat for the trip to school, the macaroons had softened into a melt in my mouth sensation. I just knew it was magic and justified eating them three hours before lunch by telling myself the cookies would continue to get softer and softer until they turned to liquid and then leaked out of my lunch box.
Of course I know they wouldn't turn to liquid, but I still believed there was some mysterious, magical thing that Alice did to the macaroons to make them soften on their own. Magical cookies for a fairy mushroom.
In addition to complementing the flavor of coconut, the fairy ring mushroom caps are good on their own. They hold their shape when cooked and, in the city, have a long growing season -- as a result of lawn watering. The stems are too tough to eat. .
Fairy Ring Mushroom Macaroons
5 egg whites
2 c powdered sugar
2 ¼ c ground, blanched almonds
1 c finely diced raw fairy ring caps
4 2/3 c shredded coconut
grated peel of ½ lemon
1 ½ T white rum
Preheat oven to 300. Grease two cookie sheets.
Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the sugar and ground almonds. Add the remaining ingredients and work into sticky dough. Put the mixture into a pastry bag and squeeze walnut-sized drops onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake 15-20 minutes. The cookies will be crispy at first but will soften when stored in a closed container. Makes about 30 macaroons.
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