Aquafaba!! Have you heard of it? This amazing vegan substitute for egg whites comes from the brine that all of us normally throw down the drain – from beans. In this case, it’s from chickpeas – the more neutrally flavored of the bunch.
I was introduced to this by my youngest son several months ago. Since he brought it to my attention, aquafaba (from Latin for water and bean) has been everywhere. Maybe it’s been there all along, but now I’m paying attention. I’m not too far behind the curve here though. Looks like it was a relatively recent discovery (2015) by an American software engineer (Goose Wohlt) who whipped up some meringue out of sugar and aquafaba and posted it to Facebook. His discovery came from some research done in 2014 by a French tenor – Joel Roessel.
But, oh, what a discovery for those of you that are Vegan or have food allergies. You had other substitutes up to now for eggs, however, when it came to whipped egg whites, there really wasn’t a solution. All in the past NOW. The world is your oyster – divinity, meringues, macarons. I’ll stop now – I don’t want to overwhelm you.
So, what did I choose to start with – why macarons, of course. Couldn’t be something easy. No, I wanted to choose something that, made with real egg whites, presents challenges to the most talented of pastry chefs and home cooks. Some say – leave it to the French. But, this confection is so…delicious it needs to be shared by all – and vegans can now partake.
I just got done making my 5th batch of aquafaba macarons and I believe I made some headway today. Here’s what I learned in my aquafaba macaron journey (besides the fact that I crash pretty good after eating my bodyweight in sugar):
- Use the brine from chickpeas. Although other bean brine works, this is the most neutral in flavor, it whips up the quickest and it whips up white.
- It could take anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes to whip to stiff peaks.
- You should get 1/2 cup of aquafaba from a 15.5 ounce can of chickpeas.
- Reduce the chickpea brine by heating over the stove and boiling until reduced by half. This makes the texture more like eqq whites. This took me about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Refrigerate aquafaba in a sealed container overnight before using. Not sure why it works better, but believe me it’s worth the wait.
- Use reduced aquafaba as a one-to-one replacement for egg whites.
- Aquafaba will keep in the refrigerator 5 to 7 days and freezes well.
- Use ground almonds, not almond flour. Almond flour seems to be a bit too fine and absorbs liquid differently than the ground almonds. I prefer my almonds to be blanched, but it’s up to you.
- I prefer the Italian Meringue method versus the traditional French Meringue method.
- A silpat worked better for me than parchment.
- Don’t try to take pictures outside in 90 degree heat of raspberry chocolate ganache – melting occurs quickly.
- Making these takes something – your time – your patience – your perseverance – your love. But, so absolutely worth it.
My first several attempts were pure disaster. I was going to share a picture here but my recipe program keeps pulling this lovely photo to feature??? But, even professionals have complete fails.
I started with the aquafaba right from the can. And, I used almond flour instead of grinding my almonds. Didn’t work. I then switched to ground almonds and reduced the aquafaba and tried that. Also didn’t work. Then I reduced the aquafaba and refrigerated overnight and, although better, that wasn’t so great. In all of those I used the standard French Macaron technique: make meringue by whipping aquafaba and then combining with ground almonds and confectioner’s sugar.
But, then I remembered another method I had read about: making an Italian meringue and mixing that with the ground almonds and confectioner’s sugar. Much, much better results. I really want to make these about a gazillion more times so I can perfect the whole process, but, for now, this is pretty darn good. And, just think of the flavor combination possibilities. This could be my go to post when I’m at a loss to what to write about.
What your whipped Italian Meringue Aquafaba should look like:
I like to add the color into the almond paste – just make it slightly darker than you want your final color. I know it looks red, here but it was really pink.
Once mixed, place the pastry bag in a tall glass so the batter doesn’t run out while you’re filling.,
And, here are the ‘feet’ that you’re looking for. The drying of the piped macaron is what forms these.
And, now you ask, what in the world am I to do with all those leftover chickpeas. Funny you should ask. You could, of course, eat them right out of the can, or put them on your salad, or toast them in the oven with your favorite seasonings for a great snack, but I chose to make Chickpea Gnocchi with Lemon Hazelnut Butter Sauce, which will be up on my site next week. Pretty great by-product of making Aquafaba Macarons. Yay!
Can’t go wrong with Chocolate and Raspberry!!! Thanks to the reader that pointed out that I originally posted a chocolate raspberry ganache recipe that wasn’t vegan. Here’s the updated version that IS. Sorry about that.
And, a Happy Mother’s Day to all, especially my beautiful, 85 year old mom. She is an amazing woman who can still run circles around me. Love you with all my heart!!! xoxo…
linens by Dot & Army