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Vegan? How the liquid from a tin of chickpeas will change your baking life

Ever tried to make vegan royal icing? Here's your chance to wow the non-egg eaters in your midst!

by: Katelyn Williams | 29 Nov 2018
tin of chickpeas

(image: iStock)

You know aquafaba is making waves when it makes its way into the Scrabble dictionary. Yup, you can now spell ‘aquafaba’ and get a 22 letter score! It’s way more useful than that, though. If you’re a vegan it will make a lot of your dessert dreams come true and if you’re just obsessed with baking science, well then it will get you geeking out! 

ALSO READ: How to win at Scrabble - 6 food words you need to memorise

What is aquafaba?

You know the smelly brine leftover in a tin of chickpeas? That’s aquafaba and it’s one of the best egg white substitutes in the baking world. And it was discovered as recently as 2014! In December 2014, vegan French musician, Joël Roessel, discovered that water from canned beans and other vegetables can be made to form foams. The proteins from the chickpeas migrate to the liquid during the canning process and this is what makes it foam so beautifully. 

How do I use aquafaba?

Simply drain the tin of chickpeas, pour the aquafaba or brine into a clean bowl and whip! It will take a little longer than egg whites to reach soft peak stage and it will create a slightly denser foam.  You can use it in just about any way you would whipped egg white; to make meringue for pavlova or even sponge cakes, to make marshmallows, macarons or chocolate mousse. It even makes a really great vegan royal icing!

How to make a basic aquafaba meringue

Whip 180g chickpea water to soft peaks then gradually beat in 1 cup (250ml) castor sugar and a drop of vanilla. Dry out in a 120°C oven.

Substituting egg whites for aquafaba Generally speaking, 1 egg white = 2 Tbsp aquafaba. Obviously, stick to the specified use of the egg whites in the recipe, so if it asks for the egg whites to be softly whipped, then do the same with the aquafaba. 

Vegan Royal Icing

50g icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp aquafaba

Few drops of lemon juice

For the vegan royal icing, whisk the sifted icing sugar, aquafaba and lemon juice together until a smooth paste forms. If you like, you can colour it with gel food colouring at this point. Transfer the icing to a small piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle and use to frost cookies or cakes. Allow to set for 1 hour until dry. 

piping bag

ALSO READ: Baking hacks: How to get those perfectly sharp edges when icing a cake

Read more on: icing  |  chickpeas  |  vegan  |  baking

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