Do you ever get a hankering for tiny cookies that can be tapped, snapped, cracked and crackled… or is it just me? :) These tiny, eggless and refined sugar-free meringue cookies are very satisfying in that regard ?✨
Aquafaba is now officially on the blog ? I’ve been getting lots of questions about whether I use aquafaba in baking, if I have any recipes, and so on.
Part of those questions stemmed from all kinds of aquafaba-y things I used to share on Instagram — my many experiments and casual baking adventures. So finally, here’s something yummy featuring that magical bean juice — super simple aquafaba meringue cookies.
Before I go any further, in case you’re not familiar with aquafaba, you should probably watch this quick vid to get an idea of all the magical things that can happen with it:
I’ve personally used it in meringue things of all kinds, in whips (it makes delicious whipped cream!), and chocolate mousse. I don’t use it as an egg substitute in baking, because for the most part my brain just completely re-adjusted to baking without eggs and therefore I don’t usually look for “substitutes”. However many of my blogging pals have been making awesome cakes, cookies, macarons and more.. So this salvaged bean “juice” definitely has potential.
Despite the fact the recipe only uses three ingredients and is simple to follow, here’s the kicker — and the main reasons I’ve not been sharing heaps of aquafaba recipes — actually 3 kickers:
Aquafaba and Unrefined Sugar:
It really works best in combination with white sugar. Maple syrup or any of the lovely liquid sweeteners I usually use don’t work for baked aquafaba goodies. You can make good maple-sweetened whipped cream with it (follow the recipe steps, skip the coconut sugar and just fold in a few tbsp maple syrup instead and don’t bake). You can make very good chocolate mousse with it with maple syrup as well. But if you want crispy crunchy meringues, white sugar or something like xylitol (aka my nemesis) are usually the way to go.
For this recipe I made it work with coconut sugar (yay!). All the blogging pals and recipe developers I talked to said it doesn’t really work. But I gave it a go anyways, and found it does. You just have to make sure your coconut sugar is of a fine grind (so use coconut palm sugar, which is naturally finer, or regular coconut sugar ground down to a finer consistency in a coffee grinder / magic bullet).
That said, the stability of this recipe is a bit volatile, so adding more things to the mix might affect how your meringues turn out. I tried this out with flavors, for instance, and sometimes it worked just fine, other times I felt the texture / consistency was better without. I usually make mine plain and they’re yummy au naturel.
Also, on the note of stability, keep your meringues small. I tested this recipe many times throughout the year and found that any larger than the meringues pictured, and you won’t get those little “kisses” peak-shaped cookies.
Also, if you make them too large, the center might not bake through all the way. They’ll still be delicious, but a bit chewy inside. If you’re cool with that, go ahead and make them as giant as you like.
Aquafaba and a Standup Mixer
This is the second kicker. It takes a while to get the meringue to stiffen up to the right consistency. You sort of, kind of need a Kitchenaid to get it going right (unless you’re cool with an intense shoulder/arm workout, that is).
I didn’t own a kitchenaid mixer when the aquafaba trend first kicked in. My kitchen was already filled with equipment of all kind and I preferred to invest in a good processor and blender instead (see this page for what I use, if you’re curious) since I use those all the time. But my mother-in-law gifted me hers last year (yay!!) and of course meringue was the first thing I began making with it. Definitely makes things easier.
I also found that in the past when I made aquafaba things with my hand blender that it just never quite came out right. Having started using the standup mixer, I can totally see a difference. It’ll still work with an electric hand held mixer, but a free-standing mixer makes life easier with recipes like this. Kind of brings up memories of my grandmother whipping up meringue by hand actually — she must have had arms of steel ??
There’s one other thing on this note (who’s with me on this??): you have to listen to a mixer going for 15 mins.. ? Oh well, at least you get rewarded with lots and lots of cookies in the end ? Sweet consolation!
Baking Aquafaba Meringue
It takes a looooooong time to bake. Perfect right now when the weather is cold (I live by the stove). But when you don’t want that big “heater” running, it’s a pickle. That said, at least you don’t have to do anything — just pop them in and pull them out when it’s time.
One last thing I wanted to share is that meringue (even traditional) is very oven / temp sensitive and can be temperamental. It might take you a few trial batches before you nail it so it’s perfectly done on the inside (try adjusting the oven temperature up or down, spooning smaller cookies, baking longer if need be, etc., if it doesn’t come out quite right on your first try). From there it’s a breeze — promise. You’ll be able to make them in your sleep!
And your not-so-perfect trial cookies will make a great addition to an eton mess, or just as a breakfast bowl / nice-cream topper… So fear not, your cookies will not go to waste.
Other than that though.. get ready for some yummy meringue crunching ?
P.S. They need to be kept at a cooler temperature or room temp and either eaten same day or stored in a sealed container. After a few days they’ll begin to soften up, so should ideally be consumed within the first 2 days. If it’s very hot where you are, there’s a chance they’ll begin softening sooner, so store them in a cool place.
- ⅔ cup aquafaba from chickpeas (unsalted)*
- ½ tsp guar gum
- 1¼ cups coconut palm sugar (or 1¼ cups coconut sugar, ground down into a finer consistency)
- Place aquafaba and guar gum into the bowl of a stand-up mixer, and set to whip on high for approx 15 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.
- Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 200F. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper (or two smaller trays). Set aside.
- Once the aquafaba mixture reaches the stiff peaks consistency (it should look glossy and "full", not "foamy"), fold in the coconut sugar just until it mixes in (try to mix as briefly as possible, just until the sugar blends in, or your meringue will settle and collapse; note: that said, it's normal for it to settle back a little bit at this stage). Stop the mixer.
- Immediately dollop roughly 2 tbsp spoonfuls of this mixture onto a the prepared baking sheet(s) (or transfer mixture into a piping bag first and then pipe the meringues out), spacing them 2 inches apart.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 2½ hours. Remove from oven, cool on a rack (they'll firm up a bit more as they cool) and enjoy.