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!
Vegan Aquafaba Gluten Free Italian Meringue MacaronsChocolate Raspberry Ganache
Finally, a way for Vegans to enjoy French Macarons. Aquafaba takes the place of egg whites.
8 hr, 30 Prep Time
18 minCook Time
- 1/2 cup (divided) (3.5 ounces/100g) Reduced Aquafaba liquid from can of chickpeas – you’ll need 2 – 15.5 ounce cans)
- 1 cup (4.9 ounces/140g) ground almonds, I prefer blanched
- 1 and 1/4 cup (4.9 ounces/140g) Confectioner’s Sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Gel Food Coloring – I used Wilton’s Pink Icing Color
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/100g) Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 cup (1.6 ounces/45g) Water
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Coconut Milk
- 10 ounces dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tablespoons red raspberry preserves – your choice with or without seeds
- The night before you plan on making these Macarons, place 1 cup of aquafaba in a small saucepan and over medium heat, heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Cool and place in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight.
- In a food processor, combine the ground almonds with the confectioner’s sugar and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute to combine and ensure that all large pieces are reduced,.
- Sift the almond/confectioner’s sugar mixture two times into a large bowl.
- Add 1/4 cup of reduced aquafaba to the almond/confectioner’s mixture and mix thoroughly. You now have almond paste.
- This is where I prefer to add food coloring. Be sure to use gel colors or powdered. Just don’t use the ones they sell in the grocery store to color Easter eggs. Stir until completely combined.
- Prepare two cookie sheets – line with parchment or use a silpat.
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- In the bowl of electric mixer, place 1/4 cup of reduced aquafaba with cream of tartar.
- Start whipping on medium high speed. For me, it took 8 minutes to get to stiff peaks, but it could take anywhere from 8 to 20 minutes to achieve stiff peaks.
- In the meantime, place sugar and water in a small saucepan.
- Before I start the sugar, I make sure the aquafaba is whipped to stiff peaks first. You can’t overwhip aquafaba and, if needed, you can rewhip it to stiff peaks.
- Then, I start my sugar syrup. I always use a candy thermometer and I think it’s truly important to have one of these. You could do the test in cold water, where you drop a bit of the cooked sugar into the water and if it forms a firm ball, then you’re there, however, this is such a small amount of sugar and by the time that you would conduct that test, your sugar would be way past the 244F that you need to make this work. So, please, please, please buy a thermometer.
- You can pour the sugar onto the whipped aquafaba slowly, but I choose to stop the mixer, pour half the syrup and immediately put the mixer on high and repeat. Whip on high for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture is cooled.
- Place the Italian meringue in the bowl with the almond paste and gently stir to combine, pulling the spatula toward the side of the bowl and around – probably no more than 35 strokes. You don’t want to overmix here but be sure to incorporate everything.
- Fill a piping bag using a small round tip – I used a Wilton 8 or 10 here.
- Pipe onto parchment. Hold the bag completely upright and deposit a small round disc of batter. It will spread so be sure to space at least a 1/2″ to 1″ apart. Probably 30 will fit on one cookie sheet. I found a great, downloadable, template that was created by Southern Fatty here. .
- After piping, rap the cookie sheet on the counter 2 or 3 good times to eliminate any air. This will also get rid of the peak on top.
- Let the macarons dry for, at least 20 minutes and up to an hour. The top should be matte looking and if touched lightly, no longer sticky.
- Bake on the middle rack 15 to 18 minutes. If your oven has hot spots, turn the cookie sheet half way through. Check at 15 minutes, and if the cookie still moves a bit when you gently move the top, leave it in for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before trying to move.
- While the macarons are cooling, you can make the filling of your choice. Please see Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Filling Recipe below.
- I pipe filling about the same thickness as that of one macaron. Seems to work for me.
- And, unfortunately, you are going to need to have to place these filled macarons in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight. You see – these need to absorb some humidity which delivers that beautiful chewy texture that you love in macarons. Doesn’t mean I didn’t have one immediately though.
- Place chocolate. chips in medium sized microwave-safe bowl.
- Place coconut milk in small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
- Pour over chocolate and let stand about 20 seconds.
- Whisk, slowly at first, until mixture starts to come together. You can get a little more aggressive with the whisk now to create a homogeneous mixture. If you see that the chips are not melting, place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 10 seconds and whisk again until chips are melted. Add in raspberry preserves and whisk until smooth.
- Refrigerate for about 15 to 20 minutes until mixture is firm enough to pipe into macarons.
- This can be used as a cake filling or glaze for outside of cake or chocolate truffles…