Have you heard about the magic of aquafaba?
The mystical blend of proteins and starches that make up the reserved liquid from cooking chickpeas shares several qualities with the incredible egg. Most importantly: its ability to whip up into meringue.
And so is born the most perfect version of a vegan meringue cookie.
Don’t let its origins scare you – this sweet treat tastes nothing like beans. In fact, once whipped, you would never know that you’re not actually working with eggs.
To make this tasty alternative, you’ll first need to acquire some aquafaba. You can do this by purchasing a can of cooked chickpeas (I recommend searching for a low-salt variety) or by making it yourself.
The process is no different from working with egg-= whites – whip the liquid with a touch of cream of tartar, slowly add your sugar, and bake slowly at a low temperature.
Just like its non-vegan counterpart, the smallest hint of fat will hinder aeration, so make sure your bowl is completely clean and avoid using plastic if you can.
Think that meringue is the only substitute you can make with this magic? Guess again! Try our eggless, completely vegan homemade mayonnaise recipe that also calls upon aquafaba’s powers.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – You Must Whip It
Start by preheating your oven to 300°F. In the base of a clean bowl, use a stand mixer to whisk together the aquafaba, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla on medium speed.
Make sure your bowl is completely clean – any hint of fat will hinder the liquid from whipping.
Step Two – Gimme Some Sugar
Once the liquid begins to foam, turn the speed up to high and slowly add in your sugar.
You want to be sure to add the sweetener just a little bit at a time so that it has a chance to dissolve – otherwise you’ll end up with grainy cookies.
Step Three – Just Keep Whipping
Let the batter whip at high speed until it becomes glossy and forms firm peaks. When you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk, the peaks should hold their shape.
Step Four – Mmmm, Chocolate
Gently fold in your chocolate chips. While full-size chocolate chips could work just fine, I prefer the miniature ones for a touch of chocolate in every bite.
Be careful to do this gently, so you don’t deflate all of the air you so carefully incorporated.
Step Five – Bake It Off
To form your cookies, you can either spoon or scoop them onto a tray, or you can transfer your batter into a piping bag.
When using aquafaba, smaller cookies tend to perform better. Try to keep them about one ounce in volume each, or the size of a half dollar.
I prefer to bake on a silicone baking mat so that the cookies can easily be peeled off once they’re cool. Parchment will work as well.
Bake for 40 minutes. They will turn slightly brown and crispy.
Let the vegan meringues cool completely before eating. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep for up to a week.
Are you ready to give this bean-based alternative ingredient a go? You’ll be amazed at its wonderful qualities! If you need ideas for how to use your leftover chickpeas, we’ve got lots of great recipes for you to try, like this delicious salad.
Let us know in the comments how these cookies worked out for you!
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.