What The Fuck Is Aquafaba?
Just when people were starting to get a handle on pronouncing seitan, a new revolution in the vegan culinary scene has come along to confuse the masses. It’s called aquafaba, and it’s just about the coolest use of food waste I’ve ever seen. You know the gooey, thick film of watery liquid that hugs canned beans? That, which we have been taught to furiously strain and scrub off of our precious legumes, is aquafaba.
A couple of food-wizards, Joel Roessel and Goose Wohlt, thought “hey, I’d like to ingest that amniotic-like fluid everyone is always tossing away,” and thus, a brand new egg replacement was born. If the word “amniotic” gives you the heebie jeebies, I will remind you that that’s the actual thing aquafaba is replacing. Moving on.
Rather than arguing over the appropriate flax seed to water ratios, or pretending that banana-taste can be masked, this fabulous-water (the loose latin translation of aquafaba) is swooping in to improve egg-free foods worldwide. Approximately three tablespoons can replace a single egg in some of the most non-vegan dishes like meringues, macarons, and my personal fave – marshmallows. Savoury treats need not be ignored, I’ve heard it can be used to make challah, or give a great glaze to “roasts.” You’re probably going to make a chilli or stew with beans in it in the next few days, so save it, and get to making these:
Vegan Marshmallow Fluff Stuffed PB Cookies
For Marshmallow Fluff (approx 2 cups)
1/2 cup chickpea brine, drained from a 14oz can
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsps vanilla
Peanut Butter Cookies (approx 40)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup natural, smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
To make cookies: In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, maple syrup, applesauce, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Then, dump the wet mix in to the dry, and fold together until well combined. Using a tablespoon, scoop dough on to parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Don’t overload your pan – leave space for the cookies to spread slightly. Gently flatten them with the back of your spoon, and use a fork to get that classic peanut butter cookie cross-hatch (not essential). Allow the cookies to rest in the fridge while you preheat your oven to 350ºF. Then, bake for four minutes, rotate your pans, and bake for another four. You’re looking for a toasty brown colour! Then, allow cookies to sit on the hot pans for another two minutes before sliding the parchment paper off and on to the counter to cool. Allow to cool completely before stuffing – I made them the day before I wanted to serve them.
To make fluff: Disclaimer – only make the fluff when you’re ready to serve the cookies. This is best when freshly fluffed, but also does well after a night of refrigeration.
Combine the chickpea brine, guar gum, and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Whip with a handheld mixer (or in my case, one of those soup immersion blenders). Give two minutes of energy until it looks like frothy egg whites. Then, add sugar and vanilla and beat again until stiff. I used a stand mixer for this part and it took about five minutes. Spread a generous teaspoon of fluff to one cooled cookie and top with another. Then go spread the good word of aquafaba! Or don’t share, your choice.
I know we might not be well acquainted yet, but you can trust me when I tell you that’s there’s no beany taste here at all. And when you consider that there are people out there who are willingly eating chicken ovulation, salty brine from beans doesn’t seem that repulsive. If your brain is still reeling at the possibility of how this stuff works, sit tight, because the team at aquafaba.com are hoping to get some lab testing done to uncover the science behind it. For now, join me in revelling in this magic voodoo! I can’t wait to see what the vegan chefs of the world concoct with aquafaba on their team.
Have you experimented with aquafaba before? Share your favourite uses below!