Vegan Meringue Cookies (with Aquafaba)
Aquafaba meringues are as easy as “normal” egg white-based meringues – provided you have a can of chickpeas, sugar, cream of tartar, and a stand mixer! Or if you want a serious workout, they can also be made by hand, which is how I make them here in my stand-mixer-less life in Paris.
A few notes about the ingredients: Aquafaba is the surprisingly useful liquid that drains off a can of chickpeas. It’s high in protein, which is why it’s able to mimic egg whites so well and gain volume when you whip it with a sugar. Speaking of sugars, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and demerara sugar will all work. Note that many sugars aren’t naturally vegan because of the way they’re processed, so if this is important to you, be sure to look for one that’s labeled “vegan.” Cream of tartar is a must to make the meringue thick enough to pipe into cookie shapes. I recommend at least a quarter teaspoon per can of chickpea-liquid you’re using, and that’s assuming you’re using a stand mixer. If you’re using a whisk and elbow grease, increase the amount of cream of tartar to at least a half teaspoon, and you may need a full teaspoon. It won’t create any adverse taste effects. Optional flavorings include orange extract, almond, and mint – my favorite is orange. It’s crisp and refreshing, adds a delightfully acidic taste, and is more surprising than mint and almond while still tasting like pure holidays.
- 1 15-oz can of chickpeas (this will yield 2/3 – 3/4 cup aquafaba liquid)
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 – 1/2+ tsp cream of tartar
- Optional: 1/4 tsp orange extract (or mint, or almond)
- Preheat oven to 215F/ 100C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment or silicone mats. Tip: To prevent meringues from sticking, lightly spray parchment or mat with cooking spray.
- Pour aquafaba into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on high speed for about 15 minutes, or until still peaks form. After the first 7 minutes or so, add a quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar. From there, whisk an additional few minutes–you’re looking for stiff peaks. If you’re not quite there, add another quarter teaspoon cream of tartar and keep whisking until stiff peaks form.
- Then with the mixer on the lowest setting, add the sugar a tablespoonful at a time, letting it gradually incorporate. You’ll notice the meringue start to become glossier (the sugar is giving the meringue structure!).
- Add optional flavoring, if using.
- To assemble cookies, you have a few options. The easiest is to simply spoon spoonfuls of meringue onto the prepared cookie sheet. Alternately, you can pipe them: Scoop the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large, star-shaped tip. Pipe into little star shapes, like in the photo at the top of the page. You can also make two-tone, candy cane cookies like I did, by dividing the meringue into two bowls and dying one red. Add the red and white meringue to a prepared pastry bag, trying to keep the colors largely confined to separate halves (ish), and then piping as you desire. And a final note: If your meringue doesn’t stiffen as much as you’d like, don’t fear! Your cookies are just going to spread a little more when you scoop them onto the baking sheet, and frankly, they’ll end up looking like super chic little macaron halves, like in the photo below.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 2 hours or until meringues are firm and nearly dry to the touch.
- Ideally, afterward turn off the oven and leave to dry completely in the still-warm oven as it cools.
- Store in air-tight container and keep for up to 5 days.