Aquafaba, translated from Latin, means bean water. Aquafaba is the liquid in a can of chickpeas–the water that they were cooked in. It has been popularized in cooking circles as the ultimate egg white replacer. According to Wikipedia, 2 Tablespoons of aquafaba are a replacement for a medium egg white and 3 Tablespoons for an entire medium egg. Aquafaba contains the necessary proteins & carbohydrates to foam, emulsify, and thicken into a successful egg substitute.
I used the liquid from a can of chickpeas to create meringues. I first got the idea from a post on aquafaba marshmallow fluff and then stumbled upon a recipe from the Food Network for vegan meringues. Chickpeas are the recommended legume and I agree! I first experimented with butter beans & honey and their aquafaba separated from the rest of the mixture once in the oven flattened out and were inedible.
Butter bean liquid does not work…
Meringues are a dessert traditionally made from whipped egg whites and sugar. They are sweet, light, & airy. My meringues came out with a delicate crisp texture throughout. I used both superfine sugar and raw honey in my batches. The sugar produces a very sweet taste that melts in your mouth and the honey had an ever-so-slightly firmer texture, a caramelized flavor, and a more amber tone. Using aquafaba was a success. It whips up just like egg whites and after adding the sugar it formed stiff, glossy peaks. The aquafaba mixture was excellent as cookies but it would also be terrific left out of the oven, as a frosting!
Aquafaba Meringues Recipes
Ingredients I used:
- 1/2 cup of aquafaba–liquid from a can of chickpeas
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar or 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (stabilizer)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt (binder)
- To a stand mixer, add the aquafaba, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt
- With the whisk attachment, beat on high for 12-14 minutes
- With the mixer still on, add your superfine sugar or honey (a spoonful at a time) and continue beating for an additional 4-6 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees (F) and line two baking sheets **I found that parchment paper worked best**
- Transfer your meringue to a piping bag or using a spoon, place the mixture onto your lined baking sheet 2 inches apart
- Place the baking sheets into the oven for 50 minutes, rotate the sheets, and bake for an additional 50 minutes (total of 100 minutes bake time)
- Turn the oven off and let the meringues sit in the closed oven until they have dried out (I left them for an hour)
- Transfer to an airtight container (keeps 3-7 days)
I found a lot of good advice online and there is even a Facebook group devoted to vegan meringues. What I learned from scouring the comments on the Hits & Misses page was: Cocoa is not a good additive to use as it deflates the meringue, powdered sugar does not work well–it can have additives like corn starch, and that you really, really need the cream of tartar. After my complete fail with the butter bean liquid, I was delighted at how easy it was to create quality meringues with chickpea aquafaba. The biggest inconvenience is the time it takes to make them, but if you are a fan of meringue cookies, you will not mind the wait & you will love these aquafaba meringues!