What is aquafaba?
I'm sure that was the question on everyone's lips after watching The Great British Bakeoff vegan cake week!
Well aquafaba is a wondrous thing. It literally means "water bean" and is basically the "juice" or water that chick peas are floating around their can in.
Chick peas are a cheap and cheerful ingredient and very versatile in their own right. I'm thinking houmous, falafels, delicious curries.... the list goes on, but, how many of you just drain that marvelous liquid from the chick pea can down the sink? NOOOOOOO! Drain it into a bowl and you can turn it into a whole host of delicious delicacies.
Ok, the water from a chick pea can does not look very appetising I do admit that. It looks a little murky with a gloopy texture but so does egg white! Let's not be put off at this early stage, bear with me and I promise you we will make something delicious.
I am about to show you how to make the easiest ever sweet treats - meringue kisses, using aquafaba. These little beauties are so quick and simple to make and they can be added to cakes as a decorations, are great toppings for ice cream, can be added to fruit as a great desert or can just be eaten on their own.
Once you have drained the chickpeas, pour the liquid into a mixing bowl. Then with either a stand mixer or hand whisk, whisk just as you would with eggs whites. Keep whisking until the mixture turns white and forms peaks. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down without any of the mixture falling out!
Now doesn't that look better. At this stage I really don't think you can tell the difference between whisked aqaufaba and whisked egg white.
Next carefully and slowly add 150 grams of icing sugar and keep whisking. The mixture will become nice and glossy and will hold it's shape. At this point you can add any flavouring you'd like; I added some salted caramel flavouring as I thought it would go well with the autumnal colours that I wanted to use.
I then prepared a piping bag with a star nozzle attached. I took a clean skewer and ran lines of golden yellow and copper gel colour in spaced stripes on the inside of the bag. You could leave the kisses white if you'd prefer or mix a little gel colouring into the mixture if you would like a more marbled effect. I then added the aquafava and sugar mixture to the bag and piped 2cm rounds onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. This recipe will make approximately 80 kisses so prepare 3 or 4 baking sheets.
I preheated the oven to 100 degrees Celsius and baked the kisses for 2 hours. I then let them cool in the oven with the door slightly open until the oven was cold.
The kisses should be crunchy on the outside and should melt in your mouth with a delicious mallow-y finish and should look something like this.
Next time you open a can of chick peas keep that amazing juice and get baking. It is brilliant for vegan cakes and vegan baking or for anyone with an egg allergy. It is economical and makes use of something you would normally dispose of. Give it a whirl you won't be disappointed. Use it to make meringues, birthday cakes, wedding cakes, macarons, pavlovas, swiss meringe buttercream the list goes on, use it when ever you'd normally use egg whites and you can't go wrong.
Happy baking people.
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