I’m not vegan.
I love dairy and I adore eggs. In any form. But I don’t particularly like Meringue Kisses.
I love Pavlovas. Especially with a whole load of fruit. But these vegan ones, after two tries have converted me. They actually taste good. I never thought they would though. But I’m a believer now. Believer?? No a vegan-liever💞.
And all this needs is three basic ingredients and whatever colors you’d like in them. Additions like sprinkles, edible lustre dust or glitter ,whatever…..even shaved nuts…. They go very well with them.
Fortunately,these vegan kisses aren’t gagging in their sweetness. I dusted some with urbanplatter strawberry powder, raspberry powder , sprinkles, confetti, glitter and some shaved nuts.
A few things you need to remember before you start out.
- Preparation- You need to wash, soak and boil 1 cup chickpeas in water that has no salt or spices at least a day before you want to make the meringue kisses. You can pressure cook them or boil them.in a covered pan.
- Texture of the aquafaba- once the chickpeas are mushy, you must strain the liquid and cool it. The total amount will be approximately 150 mils and have a texture or slime like egg whites. Any thinner, please reduce over low heat. You’ll be able to observe the texture only when the aquafaba chills.
- Storage- You need to store the aquafaba in a glass container, covered in the fridge. If you’ve got a large batch to make, freeze it. Remember, the aquafaba is pure protein.
- Electric Beater- Don’t attempt to whisk the aquafaba with a wire whisk. Unless of course you need a Tricep work out. It takes more than 10 minutes in a stand mixer and approximately 13 -16 minutes with an electric beater.
- Clean- Clean , clean ,clean. Bowl, beaters ,whisk…A trace of fat will break the protein chains.
- Weighing Scale- weigh out the aquafaba and weigh out an equal amount of caster sugar. Volume doesn’t work with this.
- Piping bags- A simple kiss doesn’t need nozzles. But fill 3-4 piping bags with the meringue for variety.
- Parchment paper-the baking trays or cookie sheets must be lined with parchment paper. It’s easy to get them off.
- Humidity – don’t attempt these if it’s very humid . If it is, bring them out if the oven into an air conditioned room, and only then remove them from the paper. They get sticky and messy otherwise. I store these in an airtight jar with a few sachets of dehumidifier .
- Usage- of course as guilt free bites …you can also add them on desserts, sandwich them.like macarons, place them over cakes… Endless possibilities.
That was the hard part.
Now the easy part…. making them.
Line three cookie sheets with fresh parchment paper. Wipe the beater blades and bowl well .
Weigh out the ingredients.
Bring the decorations out. Lay out the piping bags ,nozzles and colours.
Vegan Meringue kisses
140 mils aquafaba -chilled
140 GM’s caster sugar or regular sugar ground in a mixer.
1 tsp cream of tartar
Start with placing the aquafaba in the bowl of your stand mixer or a plain steel /glass bowl. Begin the beater and whisk at medium speed till foam is formed. Whisk for another 5 minutes and then and one third of the sugar.
You may rest your machine for half a minute. Begin whisking the sugar in ,the aquafaba peaks will still be very soft.
After about 2 more minutes add in the second part of the sugar.
Whisk on high now and beat for a further 3 to 4 minutes until the peaks look almost stiff.
Stop the mixer and pour in the remaining sugar. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes until the sugar is blended in. You should have whisked the aquafaba for at least 12 to 15 minutes by now. Stop the mixer and Sprinkle over the cream of tartar.
Now wish for a further 3 to 4 minutes until the peaks are stiff. You can take out the blades and overturn to see if the peak moves. Alternatively you can over turn the bowl and the entire meringue should stay put. Once you achieve this stage turn on your oven to 100 degrees centigrade and get your piping bags ready.
Remember, better to over beat meringue than under beat it.
For star kisses, fit a star nozzle. With a satay stick dipped in the food colour of your choice colour streaks within the piping bag.
Less or more colour will determine what the kisses look like. You can of course use more colour, like I did for my blue kisses or tiny bit of pink and purple like me.
With a spatula ,spoon in the meringue half way into the piping bag.
Holding the piping bag vertically at an angle of 90 degrees pipe blops of Meringue on to the parchment sheet. How much pressure you put on the piping bag will determine the size of your meringue kisses.
I got 138 small sized meringue kisses. Yes I counted. And a few hearts.
Once you are through with the meringue Sprinkle whatever decorations you want. Fruit powder is an option but it did not look very pretty after the meringues baked. I sifted some fruit powder.
Glitter and sprinkles looked the best. Do your wildest on the meringue kisses.
My oven is a 40 litre Morphy Richards and I was able to place 3 cookie sheets in one go.
The meringue kisses need to go into the oven for a minimum 70 to 90 minutes ,essentially to dry out and not bake. You need to leave them within the oven to cool or they absorb moisture very soon.
Remove the trays from the oven only when the oven is cool.
Use a palette knife to remove the meringue kisses from the parchment paper if they do not come off on their own. Just quickly slide the knife under the kisses.
Store them, like previously stated in an airtight container.
There is absolutely no smell or taste of chickpeas. I did not miss any vanilla and the slight tang from the cream of tartar is the best thing that could happen to these kisses.
The best ones were the ones with the shavings of almond….almost like nougat.
So vegan nougat is on the list next.
Go boil chickpeas and start stashing aquafaba in your fridge. These are so easy to make and you wonder why you never made the effort before. You may be eating chana/ chole for breakfast lunch and dinner for the next month,but believe me these kisses and the other stuff we will be making with aquafaba is so totally worth it.
Finally something eggless that I absolutely adore. Adore is the operative word.
Till next time….