Strongly associated with robust savory flavor, AKA umami, mushrooms across the board are prized for their meaty qualities. Not all mushrooms are created equal, much like people, and some stand out as particularly unique. Candy cap mushrooms are the outliers of the fungi kingdom, delicate and fragrant, with a distinctly sweet taste. How is it possible that such earthy edibles could earn the name of “candy”? Mother Nature works in mysterious ways.
What are candy cap mushrooms?
Unless you’re an avid forager on the west coast, you’re unlikely to find fresh candy caps anytime soon. They’re fragile, highly perishable, and very difficult to cultivate. Thus, most people encounter dried candy cap mushrooms sold in specialty or gourmet grocery stores in small quantities. A little bit goes a long way, so even though it feels like a substantial investment upfront, the price constitutes a considerable value for any food explorer.
What do candy cap mushrooms taste like?
Maple syrup is the most common descriptor of the uniquely sweet flavor and aroma; woodsy, subtly nutty and smokey, with an mistakable sugary aftertaste, despite containing no quantifiable sugar content. Other notes you may detect include butterscotch, brown sugar, caramel, and fenugreek.
What’s the best way to cook with candy cap mushrooms?
Unlike their umami brethren, these mushrooms are best suited for desserts. Ice cream and custard are very popular options, since the rich cream base is a great carrier for the flavor, easy to infuse without having large mushroom chunks in the final treat. Some people simply candy the mushrooms themselves in sugar syrup for a self-contained confection. Personally, I have a hard time taking the beaten path, so I had to look farther afield to honor my rare fungi.
Chocolate gravy is a southern staple, so why not take that concept and run with it? Remove the cocoa and use candy caps for both flavor and texture; the result looks alarmingly like sausage gravy while having the unnerving essence of maple pudding.
How can you serve candy cap gravy?
It’s an ideal breakfast companion for smothering all of your favorite comforting staples, such as…
Take a walk on the wild side with foraged flavors that only nature could create.