Lighter-than-air, egg-free meringues made with aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas.Every now and then, we stumble over some ingredient or procedure that seems to allow actual magic to take place. When I started reading that, in certain cases, the liquid left over from canned garbanzo beans can be whipped and used as a replacement for egg whites, I loudly exclaimed, “Balderdash … poppycock … malarkey! Wait a minute, that could actually work.” Want proof? Try one of these meringue cookies. When the young daughter of my director of culinary ops tried one, she looked up and said, “It tastes like a cloud.” She’s wrong, of course. Clouds are nearly this good.If you’re looking for a little variety, you could add 2 teaspoons instant coffee crystals and 6 drops of chocolate bitters to the batter before baking. Or, you could dip the final product into tempered chocolate and cool to room temperature before devouring. This recipe first appeared on altonbrown.com.
3/4cupaquafaba, the liquid from one (15.5- to 16-ounce) can of low-sodium chickpeas, at room temperature
1/4teaspooncream of tartar
ACTIVE TIME: 35 minutesminutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hourhour5 minutesminutes
Yield: 96quarter-sized cookies
Heat the oven to 200°F with the racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
Combine the chickpea liquid and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With the mixer still on medium, gradually pour in the sugar, followed by the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and continue to beat until the mixture forms stiff peaks, about 5 more minutes.
Scoop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (#806) tip and pipe into quarter-sized rounds on the prepared sheet pans. You should be able to fit 48 rounds on each sheet pan. Bake until the cookies are dry and crisp, about 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the sheet pans to wire racks and let the cookies cool completely before serving or storing in airtight containment for up to 1 week.
Mocha: In step 2, add 2 teaspoons (3 grams) instant espresso powder and 6 drops chocolate bitters to the meringue after the sugar and vanilla are added. Continue with the recipe as directed. For an extra flourish, dip the bottoms of the cooled cookies in tempered milk chocolate and let set before serving.
Strawberry-Vanilla Bean: Reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon. Scrape the seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean pod and add to the sugar. Rub the beans into the sugar using your fingertips. Use the vanilla sugar as directed in the recipe. In step 2, fold in 1 tablespoon (4 grams) of finely ground dehydrated strawberries into the meringue before transferring it to the piping bag. For an extra flourish, dip the bottoms o fthe cooled cookies in tempered white chocolate and let set before serving.