Lately, it seems as if the entire Internet is obsessed with news of a miracle baking and cooking ingredient. What is this ingredient that whips up like egg whites, acts as a binder in baking and is revolutionizing vegan cooking? It’s chickpea juice, also referred to as aquafaba. We have all been fools, ridding ourselves of this treasure with every can of beans we’ve drained. Well, no more!
Slate brought aquafaba to the masses by showing the world how to make meringues with it and directing us to the pioneers of the craze, blogger and baker Goose Wohlt and French chef Joël Roessel. I absolutely had to see what all the fuss was about and share the results with HellaWella readers!
The process for making aquafaba meringues looked simple enough in Slate’s video, but I was still skeptical. Could it really be this easy for me to make vegan meringues with bean juice in my little kitchen?
Readers: it really was just that easy. I was amazed by the transformation this lowly brine undergoes. After adding sugar to it, you really can't taste chickpeas at all. I actually held my tasting spoon aloft and cried, “I have made magic!” when the fluffy, glossy whipped foam developed.
Meringues are just the beginning. According to Katie Higgins, author of the healthy dessert blog Chocolate Covered Katie, this magical mixture also makes a yummy healthy marshmallow fluff. I did note while whipping up the aquafaba that, indeed, takes on a marshmallow-like texture and taste, though it’s not quite as stiff or sticky. This vegan marshmallow fluff recipe from Seitan is My Motor, which is featured on Chef Roessel’s website, adds a few more ingredients that may get you closer to the texture of melted marshmallow and will help the concoction last longer.
Two interesting points arose in the Chocolate Covered Katie recipe comments section. One conversation discusses the possibility of stomach upset, including gas, due to the use of the liquid. I did not notice any stomach upset while testing my goodies, but it’s something to keep in mind as you experiment, particularly if you have a sensitive stomach.
Another conversation involves preservatives in canned beans. This may be a concern for some, especially since draining and rinsing beans before cooking is the norm. Higgins suggests using Eden brand organic beans, while other aquafaba experimenters plan to try using the cooking liquid from dried beans. Check the labels at your local grocery store and see it there are any other brands that may work for you.
Why stop at chickpeas? Apparently, you can use other bean liquids as an egg substitute. Sarah de la Cruz at Fried Dandelions is a genius for creating her aptly named Perfect Brownies recipe. The secret binder here is black bean liquid, so they are essentially black bean brownies without the beans. The resulting vegan brownies are incredibly moist and decadent with not a hint of bean flavor. De la Cruz also includes a brilliant storage method for aquafaba in her recipe.
Aquafaba is new territory for pretty much everyone, including those spearheading the movement. There will be kitchen fails. In fact, Slate reveals that there’s a Facebook community devoted to discussing the triumphs and tribulations of cooking with aquafaba.
The pancakes I tried to make from Everyday Vegan Cooking’s recipe, featuring the pre-cooked whipped aquafaba, were so thin at first that I literally had to scrape them off the pan, then they would burn on the outside but still be undercooked inside. I started to get a better consistency by adding flour, but by that point, there was about one pancake’s worth of batter left. However, I stumbled upon Wohlt’s aquafaba waffle recipe and, using a few of his tips tried again, this time also reducing the amount of aquafaba and omitting the extra sugar called for in the recipe. The results were still more crepe than pancake, but they were delicious! I also attempted to make vegan mayonnaise with aquafaba using Peanut Butter and Vegan’s recipe, along with this eHow tutorial on how to make mayonnaise in the Magic Bullet blender and failed. Twice. However, now that I’ve read Wohlt’s tips for creating vegan mayonnaise, in which he actually references the recipe I used, and perused the comments on the Peanut Butter and Vegan recipe page, I’m eager to try again.
So don’t get discouraged. This is a fairly new ingredient that is still being explored, which is what makes creating with it so exciting!
Tell us: Are you cooking with aquafaba?