Made with aquafaba, these bite sized vegan macaroons are deliciously crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The rich, orange flavoured, vegan chocolate ganache counters beautifully against the sweet macaron making them a 'must try'.
Macarons, specifically vegan macarons, have been on my 'to bake' list for some months now ever since I played around with aquafaba in a few recipes back in the summer when I made Peach Melba Eton Mess and Raspberry & Lemon Sandwiched Meringues. I even used it in my GBBO inspired Triple Chocolate and Mango Tart.
For those who may not have come across aquafaba before, it is the usually disposed of liquid found in cans of pulses. I even believe that the liquid surrounding tofu can be used in much the same way, though the preferred choice in the vegan world seems to be chickpea water. This miraculous liquid, appropriately called aquafaba by the vegan community, can be used to replace egg whites making all manner of vegan food substitutes such as mayonnaise, buttercream, meringues and macarons, and I believe pasta! It does appear, to me, to take longer to whip up into a good meringue than egg white so I really would recommend using an electric whisk for this job rather than a hand held balloon whisk, unless you're wanting to give your arms a good work out of course!
So, having already played around a little with this by-product I knew I wanted to use it to make a patisserie classic, macarons, and what better month is there to make them than Veganuary.
Having had a good read about making macarons with the usual egg whites and of course with the vegan substitute the process seemed to be just the same. Whipping the egg whites / aquafaba to stiff peaks; slowly adding the white sugar; mixing in the icing sugar and ground almonds allowing the meringue to deflate a little; piping the macarons; dropping the tray to allow any large air bubbles to pop; and setting the macarons aside to form a skin before baking them.
Now, I must admit I had a couple of tribulations with this bake. Firstly the aquafaba, which was reduced down on the hob (as recommended by many online aquafaba bakers) went too far resulting in it being almost welded to the pan. It was akin to fudge-gate before I stumbled across making fudge the cheat's way! Though, this time it was nothing to do with burning the sugar it was because I was multi tasking too much and had literally taken my eye off the pan! The second obstacle I had to over come was concerning the actual bake. In one batch feet had developed during the bake (yay!) but they were clown's feet, if you know what I mean, ;-) ! Perhaps I should just explain at this point what I mean by 'feet' in the content of macarons; it is the slight ruffle which develops to the base of the macaron whilst it rises during the bake. The base of the aquafaba mixture had spread out after the initial rise, my instinct suggests this was because my oven temperature was a little too high. Another batch which was baked much more slowly was far more successful, the feet were like kitten heals and not clown's shoes! I used the baking method highlighted by Floral Frosting whereby the macarons are placed into a cold oven before it is heated to a cool 110c fan.
My petite bite sized vegan chocolate orange macarons were seriously delicious, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The rich, orange flavoured, vegan chocolate ganache countered beautifully well against the sweet macaron. I would, ideally, like to have coloured the macaron with an orange shade, but my gel food colourant sadly wasn't marked as being vegan friendly, so naked in colour they were!
So let's get to it and bake!
Vegan Chocolate Orange Macarons Yum
Time: hands on time about 20 - 25 minutes; resting time; bake time 30 minutes (inc cooling time.)
Storage: Store the macarons in an airtight container sat in the fridge.
You will need:Small Pan
Blender / Stick Blender
Stand Mixer or Hand Held Electric Mixer
Spatula / Large Metal Spoon
2 x large Baking Trays (ideally side less)
2 x Piping Bags (no nozzle required)
Skewer (or similar such as tooth pick or pin)
For the macarons400g can unsalted Chick Peas
60g Ground Almonds
100g Icing Sugar
40g Caster Sugar
Gel Food Colourant (optional)
For the chocolate orange ganache100ml Aplro Single Soya 'Cream'
100g Vegan Milk Chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 caps Valencian Orange Extract
How to make them:
1. Reduce the aquafaba liquid. Strain the liquid surrounding the chickpeas through a sieve or colander into a small pan. Place on the hob over a low heat. Bring to a slow slimmer and allow the liquid to reduce by about a third, stirring periodically. The liquid will have slightly thickened by this point. Pour the liquid into a bowl and set aside to cool.
2. Make the chocolate orange ganache. Place the broken chocolate into a small bowl. Pour the vegan 'cream' into a small pan and set over a low heat. Remove the cream from the heat once it has started to steam and is almost simmering. Pour the heated cream over the broken chocolate. Using a teaspoon stir the mixture. Continue stirring until the chocolate has fully melted and the ganache is streak free and rich in colour. Add the orange extract and mix well. Set aside to cool. Once fully cooled, cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge to firm up.
3. Prepare the baking trays. Base line the two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Dab a little margarine into the corners of the trays to help adhere the paper. Avoid getting margarine to the upper surface of the greaseproof paper.
4. Prepare the ground almonds and icing sugar. Either place the ground almonds and icing sugar into a food blender and blitz the ingredients. Or, place the two ingredients into a good size bowl and blend with a stick blender, covering the bowl with a clean tea towel to avoid creating a large dust cloud. Sift the mixture twice. Either way, you're aiming for the mixture to be super fine and lump free.
5. Start making the macarons. Once the aquafaba has fully cooled, measure 60ml of the liquid into a good sized mixing bowl. Whisk the aquafaba with an electric hand held beater or in a stand mixer until it reaches firm peaks, it does take a little longer than using egg whites. Slowly add teaspoon quantities of caster sugar to the mixture, beating well after each addition. Continue until all of the caster sugar has been used. Add some gel food colouring if using. Continue mixing for a further minute to ensure the sugar has been fully absorbed by the meringue (and any added colour is well distributed).
6. Complete the macaron mixture. Using a spatula or large metal spoon fold in half of the ground almonds and icing sugar mixture into the meringue. Add the remaining ground almonds and icing sugar to the mixture and beat together, aiming to knock out some of the air from the meringue. Your goal is for the mixture to be well blended with a consistency which slightly spreads when lifted with a spoon. Avoid over mixing which will result in the loss of too much air.
7. Pipe the macarons. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (no nozzle required). Cut about 1cm from the tip of the piping bag. Pipe blobs of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, directly from above, pushing the mixture down with the piping bag as each circle is formed. The blobs will spread slightly as they are piped. Ours measured about 2cm in diameter. Aim for each macaron to be approximately the same size. Avoid piping the macarons too near to one another.
8. The drop. Once all of the macarons have been piped, lift the tray a foot or two above the work surface and drop it. Repeat twice more. Use a skewer (or similar) to carefully pop any bubbles which you may see under the surface of the macaron.
9. Set aside. Set the macarons aside at room temperature for 1 - 2 hours. This allows a skin to form on the surface of the macaron. They are ready to bake when no residue of the mixture is left on your finger when they are gently touched.
10. Bake. Place the tray of macarons into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 130c / Fan 110c / Gas 1/2. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the tray half way through. They are ready when you are able to gently peel the greaseproof paper away from the base of the macaron. Bake for a further 2 minutes if they do not come away easily. Leaving the macarons in the oven, turn the oven off and open the door slightly (about 2 cm). Once the oven has completely cooled (about 10 - 15 minutes) remove them from the oven and set aside ready to be filled. At this point bake any remaining macarons. Allow them to cool completely before filling them.
11. Sandwich the macarons. Pair each of the macarons with another of equal size / shape. Remove the chocolate ganache from the fridge and stir. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (no nozzle required). Cut about 0.5cm from the tip of the piping bag. Pipe a blob of the ganache onto the centre of a macaron's flat surface. Sandwich with the macaron's matching pair, giving a little twist to the macarons to encourage the chocolate filling to slightly show. Repeat with the remaining macarons.
Notes:a) A side-less tray will help the oven's heat to circulate around the bake more effectively. Trays with sides will be fine but will mean the macarons will need to bake for a few minutes longer.
b) Be aware that aquafaba does take longer to beat into a stiff meringue than egg whites.
c) Avoid over beating the mixture as this will result in the macarons spreading out too far and having no 'feet'.
d) If colouring the macaron mixture use a gel food colourant rather than liquids.
e) Be aware that every oven is different, so if your oven runs particularly warm do consider using a slightly lower temperature (and visa versa).
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Baking Queen 74
Tea Time Treats co-hosted by Janie over at The Hedgecombers and Karen at Lavender and Lovage. This month is hosted by Janie and the theme is open.