I made vegan macarons!!! I’m sorry for using my outside voice but I thought that was pretty cool. Have you ever made macarons, vegan or otherwise? I hadn’t until this weekend, and I had to do it twice before I could post anything about them on the blog because, as I found out, macarons are kind of tricky (duh).
I used this recipe from Morsels and Moonshine (but I left out the amaretto!). It’s for chocolate macarons with a chocolate filling, but I altered the filling to make it strawberry and chocolate flavored instead. I’ll write the altered filling recipe at the bottom of the post, but now, let’s talk details, as I love to do!
The first time I attempted this recipe, I processed my dry ingredients in the food processor and sifted manually through a sieve. This made my finished macarons super silky and smooth, but I didn’t add enough of the dry mixture to my meringue, making them too runny and thin. The second time I made the recipe, I processed my dry ingredients using a blender and… did not sift. I just couldn’t face all that manual sifting! This meant that my macarons were a little more lumpy, but I personally don’t even think that is noticeable once the macarons are baked. Also, on the second go-round, I added all of the dry mixture to the meringue, and the texture was much better.
I used the aquafaba (which is simply the liquid from inside a can of chickpeas) from one can of chickpeas, and reduced it on the stove down to about 1/3 of a cup. To make the meringue, I whip the aquafaba using a stand mixer. I have done this both when the aquafaba was still hot from the stove and when it had cooled for 10 minutes or so, and got the same result each time. First, I whipped the reduced aquafaba on level 6 for 2 minutes. After the first two minutes, I added the granulated sugar and whipped this mixture on level 8 for 5 minutes. Finally, I added a teaspoon of vanilla and whipped for one more minute on level 8. This seriously produced the BEST meringue! It’s super glossy, super thick, and doesn’t even taste or smell like chickpeas.
To make the actual macarons, I put my combined batter (dry mix + meringue) into a piping bag, used a basic circular piping tip, and piped out little circles onto a baking sheet. The recipe recommends a Silpat baking mat, but lacking one of those, I used a sheet of parchment paper (and it worked just fine).
The recipe instructs that the unbaked macarons should sit out on the counter for 45-60 minutes before baking. Each time I made the macarons, I did this. The first time, they never became fully dry to the touch. The second time, they were dry to a very light touch.
I followed the recipe’s instructions for baking, which are as follows: bake at 205º F for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the cookies inside for 15 minutes; and finally to open the oven door but keep the cookies in it for another 15 minutes before taking them out. That seemed to work pretty well, though I’m not sure exactly the reasons for doing so. I’d imagine it’s something to do with easing the temperature transition from hot oven to cool kitchen. Also, I learned by experience (this was very #pinterest, trust me) that you definitely shouldn’t lift the baked macarons off of their cookie sheet until they are completely cool. If you don’t wait long enough, the bottoms won’t come off properly.
Finally, I made my frosting just by stirring together in a bowl. No mixer required! 🙂 I didn’t pipe it onto the cookies, either… I just put a nice blob on one half and twisted the cookies together.
Strawberry and Chocolate Frosting
2 tablespoons vegan shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons seedless strawberry jelly
almond milk as needed (I used about 1 tsp)
pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl with a spoon. You may use a small blender or food processor, but it’s not necessary.
Then, to make the sandwich cookies, I just put a blob of frosting on one cookie, put another on top, and twisted lightly to bind them together.
This was such a cool project to try, especially since I just realized that I’ve made almost zero international baked goods. Now I’m super excited to make cool baked goods from different cultures! I think I’ll try to make vegan Christstollen, and for sure different flavors of macarons. Morsels and Moonshine has a recipe for earl grey + lemon macarons, and that sounds fabulous. What’s your favorite baked good from somewhere other than the US?