Try this recipe the next time you open a can of chickpeas! Deliciously crunchy, light, and airy meringue cookies can be made using aquafaba, which is the water that surrounds chickpeas in their commercially prepared can.
It’s been said -repeatedly- this past month by various cooking sites, blogs, and news outlets – canned chickpeas are having a moment. It’s the shelf-stable food of choice for many during these days of sheltering at home, because they are loaded with nutrients, protein, and they make an excellent replacement for meat in lots of dishes.
I always keep canned chickpeas in my pantry, but I’ve been draining away a useful ingredient every time I made my favorite chickpea dishes! Chickpeas leach starch and protein into the water that surrounds them in their cans, which makes the liquid whippable to voluminous proportions!
Begin by draining the chickpeas into a sieve over a bowl or glass measure. You should have about 6 oz. of aquafaba from one 15.5oz (439g) can. This is just a smidge more than 3/4 cup.
Use an electric hand mixer or a standing mixer to whip the bean water, along with some cream of tartar and powdered sugar. It’s miraculous how billowy this stuff gets! I researched a few recipes that used granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar, but I found the powdered sugar gave the most fluffy end result.
(Side note: If you’re looking for a cheap, powerful hand mixer, is ridiculously strong. Low speed is like high speed. I don’t know how long it will last, but for the past month it has replaced my 5 speed KitchenAid hand mixer for its swift work. Be sure to read all the reviews! They are mixed.)
You can tint the meringue by folding in gel food color. Try to do this quickly, because I found that as the meringue stands it begins to lose volume. I re-whipped some of the mixture that began looking deflated, and it puffed right back up!
I went a little crazy with varying the shapes and colors of the cookies, but I really enjoyed the process. If you don’t have piping tips, you could simply drop the meringues from a spoon on parchment, or use a zip-top bag with the corner snipped to pipe some meringue kiss shapes.
Sprinkles make me happy!
Sprinkle tiny nonpareils over the meringues before baking, if desired. Most any sprinkle will survive well in the oven because they bake at a very low temperature.
I piped a few meringue nests to hold all of the little colorful meringues, which made things feel a little more springy.
I had some passionfruit flavoring on hand (from ) which made these cookies so delicious! A few meringues were dipped in chocolate, or drizzled. I highly recommend doing this.
Aquafaba meringues are even lighter than those made with real egg whites. Chickpea water has less protein in it than egg whites (2.4g for the water versus about 3.6g each white) which could account for its cotton candy-like texture (they practically melt in your mouth!). I also think using the powdered sugar helped keep them super airy.
I encourage you to try making a batch next time you’re planning to use chickpeas (zero waste feels good!). But plan ahead, because like standard egg meringues, these cookies need to bake at a low temperature for a couple of hours.
Yields about 6 dozen
1 can (15.5 oz/439g) chickpeas
1 teaspoon clear extract (do not use oil-based candy flavoring)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (140g) powdered sugar
Gel food coloring
Preheat oven to 200°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Drain the chickpea water into a cup or bowl. Reserve chickpeas for another use.
Pour the chickpea water into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until frothy. Add the clear extract and increase the speed to high. With this mixer running, add the cream of tartar. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time (3-4 additions) while the mixer runs. When the mixture turns opaque and fluffy, turn the mixer off and dip your mixer beater(s) into the meringue. If it holds a peak that stands on its own, it’s ready for baking. If not, continue to whip until this consistency is achieved.
Divide and tint the meringue as desired. Pipe or spoon onto parchment-lined sheets. Add sprinkles if desired. Bake meringues for two hours, rotating the pans on the oven racks mid-bake. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool completely inside the oven. (You can also remove and cool on the stove top, but the cookies are more prone to crack). Peel the meringues from the paper and dip in melted chocolate or drizzle.
Store meringues in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.
Oil-based flavorings will deflate aquafaba meringue. Make sure you use alcohol or water-based extracts. You could also add the seeds of one vanilla bean for flavor.
Deflated meringue can be re-whipped. Pipe or spoon the meringues on the baking sheets soon after it is whipped to avoid them losing shape and becoming flat.