Yes, it can be done, and that’s not all. Vegan Meringue Cookies can happen in your kitchen with ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard! So what’s the secret ingredient? Aquafaba is what it’s called. Now let’s break that down a little.
Aqua = water. Faba = bean.
So what does that make? Bean water!! I know, you are totally drooling right now. Bean water cookies. Yum? It’s true, you can make a meringue out of the water that’s leftover in a can of beans, and it’s basically exactly the same result as if you were to use egg whites, except totally vegan! Celebrate, yay, exciting, hands to the sky, woot woot!
I am not the brilliant genius who figured this out, in fact there is a whole site dedicated to the genius: aquafaba.com here you can learn about the history of aquafaba, the science, and you can even buy an aquafaba t-shirt if that’s something you need in your closet. It’s a pretty amazing discovery and the vegan community is going wild. I see lemon meringue pies, macaroons, and fluffy batters in the future… and all with an ingredient that I was throwing out. Pure brilliance.
After a few experiments I discovered the key is to buy chickpeas that are unsalted or no salt added. When I tried making meringues with a can of chickpeas that had salt added (check the ingredients), they were still pretty darn good, but they did have a slight smell and taste of bean. Not terrible, but not what I was aiming for. When I used the water from a can of unsalted chickpeas, that bean taste disappeared and all you can taste is perfect meringue heaven. Scrumptious. Some serious meringue connoisseurs (aka friends) tried these, and they actually preferred them to egg white meringues. Win for the vegans!
How do we make these delights? Take a 19oz can of no salt added chickpeas, and pour out all of the liquid. It should make about a cup of liquid. Save the chickpeas to do whatever you like with later on.
Add the chickpea liquid to a mixer bowl along with the vanilla and cream of tartar.
Start blending on high and slowly add in the sugar as it beats. You may need to stop and scrap down the sides to get any of the sugar that is stuck to the sides of the bowl.
Keep beating, and it should start to get fluffy. The goal is to achieve stiff peaks. Not there yet…
…Still too soft, keep beating.
Ah, just right. When you lift the beater the meringue should hold a stiff peak, even if you jiggle the bowl, the peak should stay as is. It took me about 6 to 6 1/2 minutes to reach this stage in my mom’s Kitchen Aid Mixer.
Now line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. You can stick down the corners of the parchment by adding a small dot of the meringue, to help hold the parchment in place.
Use a pastry bag or a spoon to dollop the meringues on the baking sheet.
When you are done you will have a whole bunch of pretty little meringues, ready to go into the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours, rotating the pans half way through. Now it’s a little difficult to tell exactly when they are done, and I really racked my brain on how to share this information, but there is not much of a visual cue, so you are going to have to go with your gut a little on this one. If the meringues are small or you want a chewy center, opt for less time. If they are large or you prefer a meringue that is crunchy all the way through, opt for more time. It’s not very easy to tell when they are ready just by look, so the best way is if you are able to take one out of the oven, (carefully tear a piece of parchment off with a meringue on it) let it cool, and see if it’s are the correct texture, and if it is, take the rest out of the oven. If not, bake longer.
When you take them out of the oven, let them cool and enjoy! Store in a dry place so they maintain their shape.
- 1 cup aquafaba (the liquid from a 19oz can of unsalted chickpeas)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
Preheat the oven to 200F (100C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add the aquafaba to a mixer bowl along with the vanilla extract and the cream of tartar. Start beating on high, and very slowly as it whips, add in the the sugar one spoonful at a time. You may need to stop and scrape off any sugar that stuck to the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat, stopping every now and then to check the meringue. When stiff peaks hold in the meringue without it collapsing, they are ready. It took me about 6 to 6 1/2 minutes to reach the stiff peaks.
Use a pastry bag, or a spoon to dollop on the meringue into even mounds onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours, rotating the pans half way through. Now it's a little difficult to tell exactly when they are done, and I really racked my brain on how to share this information, but there is not much of a visual cue, so you are going to have to go with your gut a little on this one. If the meringues are small or you want a chewy center, opt for less time. If they are large or you prefer a meringue that is crunchy all the way through, opt for more time. It's not very easy to tell when they are ready just by look, so the best way is if you are able to take one out of the oven, (carefully tear a piece of parchment off with a meringue on it) let it cool, and see if it's the correct texture. If it is, take the rest out of the oven. If not, bake longer. When they are ready let them cook and enjoy!
- Store in a cool dry place. They are best eaten that day, but if your environment is very dry (not humid), they can last a few days.
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