Am I a little late jumping on the aquafaba train? Sure. But macarons are intimidating. There are a million different bloggers writing a million different things about the incredibly precise, finicky tricks you need to do to ensure that the cookies turn out as they should, and everyone is equally convinced that their way is the only way of guaranteeing a perfect product. (All that being said, I recommend reading Crazy Vegan Kitchen's full post on it, because she is an actual macaron expert, and I am a macaron tourist.)
I avoided it because macarons seemed too temperamental, too technical. But after finding myself with an excess of aquafaba, the thick, briny liquid that you usually toss out from a can of chickpeas, I decided to go for it.
Aquafaba took the internet by storm last year, and I'm certainly not the first person to think of using it to make macarons. But after sorting through many (many) recipes on Pinterest, I finally settled on tweaking a few different ones to make something that hadn't been done yet: hot buttered bourbon aquafaba macarons. Warm and spicy, with a rich vegan buttercream spiked with cinnamon and cloves, the cookies turned out far better than I was expecting. They have just the right amount of crunch to the outer shell, giving way to the soft insides and perfect icing.
I baked two trays, one with a silicone liner and one with parchment paper, and actually found the tray without the silicone liner baked more evenly, but it depends on your baking sheets and oven. This recipe can be tweaked infinitely, so just consider it a blueprint for any macaron flavors you can dream up. I have a few in mind for next time...
Vegan Hot Buttered Bourbon Macarons
Adapted from here.
For the macarons:
- Liquid from one can of chickpeas
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp bourbon
- Pinch of salt
In a small saucepan, bring chickpea liquid to a boil; turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the mixture reduces to about 1/3 cup.
Combine almond flour and powdered sugar and sift into a bowl. Set aside.
Pour reduced aquafaba into a stand mixer and add salt and cream of tartar.. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until the mixture foams. Gradually add the sugar until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Add bourbon and beat for one more minute.
Fold the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture into your meringue one half at a time. Continue gently folding the batter over itself until it becomes thick but still pliable, like lava.
Fill a piping bag with the meringue mixture, either using a piping tip or cutting the end off the bag. Pipe small rounds, slightly larger than a quarter, onto your lined baking sheets. Once all your cookies have been piped, firmly smack the tray on the counter several times to remove any air bubbles.
Allow the macarons to dry on the counter for at least an hour, until they are dry to a very light touch.
Preheat the oven to 205 degrees. Bake dry macarons for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the macarons to sit inside for another 15 minutes. Open the oven door and allow them to sit for an additional 15 minutes before removing them from the oven. Allow to cool thoroughly on the counter before filling.
For the filling:
- 6 oz softened vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- 2 tbsp honey (omit if vegan)
Beat all ingredients together in an electric mixer on high for at least 5 minutes, until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe onto one macaron at a time, using a second shell to sandwich the filling.