Vegan Meringues and Accidental Mousse

meringue  Today I’m playing vegan myth buster! I’m going to confirm or deny a  potentially life changing rumor that’s been making the rounds on the webs. I recently saw an article on Slate stating that the liquid from canned garbanzo beans has the physical properties of egg whites, specifically, that it whips up like them. So naturally, I immediately dropped everything I planned for the day to test it out. I was very skeptical, but as you can tell by the title of this post/huge picture above, things worked out.

Here is what I determined about garbanzo brine:
  • It does indeed whip up, making firm peaks and all!
  • It takes longer than whipping up actual egg whites. Mmm patience.
  • It imitates meringues pretty well, but doesn’t quite hold up flavor wise
  • It makes a delightful mousse/pudding
  • It does not work in place of the whipped egg portion in baked goods – to fluff up a cake for instance
  • It doesn’t work to add extra flavors to the meringues – adding anything messes with the balance of the delicate texture
Meringues

Makes 36 meringues. Total cook + prep time: 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

One 15 oz can’s worth of chickpea brine
3/4 cup fine  terbinado sugar
One TB vanilla extract

With an egg beater on high, whip up the liquid for about 10 minutes before starting to add sugar. Continue adding sugar gradually, for about 20 minutes total.
Add vanilla toward the end. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Spoon 1 TB size scoops onto parchment paper lined baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each one, as they expand in the oven.

Bake for 1.5 hours at 250 degrees.

Let cool for 10 minutes and let meringues harden before taking off the paper.

IMG_5486

About adding flavors:  I tried adding lemon zest and lemon extract to some, and cocoa powder to another batch. It completely botched those cookies. The mounds drooped and conjoined into a big flat mess in the oven. This may also have happened because they were on the lower rack. I can’t tell yet. But for now, I consider it risky to add anything other than the 3 ingredients listed. Also – use a higher oven rack to be safe!

IMG_5707

meringues

Mousse

The leftover chocolate flavored whip made an outrageously good mousse, which I discovered from licking the spoon, although now I wish I hadn’t.  I decided to keep some separate to eat with rasberries or blueberries as a very decadent dessert.  This stuff is super rich, only for the serious sweet tooth-ed. Because I’m such a sugar addict, I usually avoid cooking with sugar, but was making these for a party.  I’m sicking these  sugary little puffnuggets on an unsuspecting crowd. Someone save me from the mousse I strategically left in the fridge!

To make the mousse, gently mix  2 TB cocoa powder into 3 cups of the whipped mix, once it’s already stiff.
Serve immediately (otherwise it loses its firmness if kept in the fridge too long).

IMG_5705

About adding the whip to cakes: I tried the whip in a marble cake. The goal was to get that fluffy light texture. This did not work for me. The cake turned out flat and rubbery, despite my adding egg replacer in addition to the garbanzo whip. I think I’ll  try again – the batch of whip I used had been sitting out before I got a chance to add it to the cake, so it may have lost some of its airiness.
The rubbery cake trend is generally the case with the vegan  and gluten free baking I’ve done, but I’ll keep up the good fight. I’m determined to figure out the magic formula for the perfect fluffy GFV cake!

I just tried my first meringue.  Not bad. But not mind blowing. They get a 6 out of 10 for flavor. And an 8 for texture. The mousse was definitely the winner flavor-wise, and held its firmness pretty well.

meringue close up
Do you see the man in the moon?

So! In conclusion, garbanzo brine is kind of a miracle juice. Doesn’t work as an egg white substitute in every context, but it’s as close as a vegan option gets! I’m going to keep playing with this to see what else I can pull off.

Sweet dreams, you good people out there 😉

 

 

 

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