Monday, 23 November 2015

Tamari chickpeas, a picnic and more aquafaba experiments

Yesterday Sylvia told me that when I use chickpeas, I must not tip the water off them down the sink because it is a waste.  When the 6 year old in the house understands the value of aquafaba, it is a sign I have been experimenting with it quite a lot lately.  Indeed I had high hopes of making Nigella's "macaroons" for a celebrity chef picnic on the weekend but the tamari chickpeas from Dreena Burton were actually far more successful.

Firstly let me say that I am far more comfortable with macaroons (which remind me of my grandfather) than macrons (which seem fiddly and trendy).  So I liked the idea of veganising the macaroons in How to Be a Domestic Goddess for a vegan picnic.  The more I looked the more they seemed like macrons.

Having never made this sort of recipe before vegan or not, I decided to trial them the previous day because I was going to a family meal in Geelong.  They flopped.  I wondered if they were affected by using almonds rather than pistachios or if the almond meal was not fine enough.  However I suspect the main problem was rushing around trying to get ready to make pancakes and getting Sylvia ready for gymnastics while having an oven timer that is being unreliable.  You can see in the above photo that they had potential.  They tasted good but were not worth sandwiching together with passionfruit frosting as I had planned.

So the next morning when I tried making the chocolate macaroons, I had hope.  I was more careful in sifting and preparing and watching the timer.  But even before the timer rang, I knew that the mixture was much less firm.  I had to work quickly to pipe them out.  (To spoon the mixture into the piping bag I put sticky tape over the nozzle to stop it running straight through.)

I had found that they baked too quickly in the first (vanilla) batch.  My oven needs baking to be turned midway through but I had got too distracted to turn them in time.  When I turned the chocolate macaroons midway, they did not look promising.

They came out so flat that I almost curled them like brandy snaps.  So much for doing my trial run.  The second batch were far worse than the first.  I almost threw out the remaining mixture and then decided to bake it anyway and just embrace the crisp flat macaroons.

There was still some skill to bake them long enough that they weren't so sticky in the middle that they were impossible to get off the paper, and not bake them so long that they were going to break a tooth.

When I left some in a tub for E who was not at the picnic, he looked at the shards and asked if I was going to bring home proper chocolate biscuits from the picnic.  Poor man is used to always being given the worst of the batch and expected there must be better versions somewhere.  As it was he decided they were too sweet.
I took them along to the picnic as sweet morsels but not expecting to impress.  Cindy commented that they would made attractive garnishes on a fancy dessert.  (Such as Faye's Mousse Your Own Adventure Cake that I enjoyed with chocolate cake in it.)

As I had quite a lot of chickpeas leftover after using the chickpea brine for aquafaba, and not a lot of energy for anything else, I made Dreena's Tamari Chickpeas.  They were a really nice snack and great to for lunches today.

And because it seemed mean-spirited to take a failed dessert and a simple baked chickpeas, and because I had left my sourdough starter out overnight by mistake, and because I had pizza sauce in the freezer and love making vegan mozzarella, I made a pizza to take along.  It was very relaxing to sit in the Edinburgh Gardens with good food and good company.  And there were so many delicious desserts that I didn't really mind that my attempt to mix Nigella and aquafaba had failed.  Yet more experiments will follow.

You can read more about the picnic from fellow bloggers Faye at Veganopoulous and Where's the Beef.

More aquafaba in recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Chocolate banana swiss roll
Marshmallow frosting
Tahini stew with feta and dill dumplings
Vegan meringues
Vegan mozzarella

Tamari chickpeas
Adapted from Plant Powered Kitchen

2 x 400ml tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly balsamic vinegar (I used plum)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 200 C and line a large roasting tin with baking paper. Mix all ingredients in the tin and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring once or twice.  They will still be soft and tender rather than crunchy.  Eat hot or room temperature.  Can be kept in container in the fridge for a 2 to 3 days.

Chocolate macaroons/crisps - work in progress
Adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess

250g icing sugar
30g cocoa
125g almond meal
3/4 cup aquafaba (I used chickpea brine)
25g castor sugar

Preheat oven to180 C.  Line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa.  Set aside and have almond meal and castor weighed and ready.

Beat aquafaba for about 2-3 minutes until white and fluffy.  Sprinkle castor sugar over the mixture and continue beating for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks but not dry.

Very gently, using a metal spoon, fold in icing sugar, cocoa and almond meal.

Pipe mixture into 5cm diameter rounds on baking paper leaving 5-10 cm space between each circle of mixture.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until bubbly and slightly dried.

Cool on baking paper for 10-15 minutes and then gently peel off and keep in an airtight container for a few days.

NOTES: This is what I did.  I thought it might make macarons but even when I left them to sit for 15 minutes they just were flat.  Perhaps another time I will try and see if I can get them to rise.  Meanwhile, they have some merit as crisp chocolate lacy rounds.

On the stereo:
Talking with the Taxman about Poetry: Billy Bragg


  1. I think putting up experiments that don't work is just as important as those that do (although in my case twice as ugly). I love macaroons - I haven't much experience with aquafaba to make a contribution, alas, but looking forward to seeing the final recipe!

    1. Thanks Joey - I don't know that I have enough enthusiasms for macarons to experiment a lot more but I like to post failures sometimes because if I do come back to try a recipe again I have some notes to help me know what not to do

  2. I'm yet to cook with the leftover water from a can of chickpeas. How incredible that Sylvia is so knowledgeable. I do love the look of your brandy snaps xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - it is so amazing to see that it works and it is one of the few opportunities for sylvia to lick the beaters so I think she has taken notice :-)

  3. I can't stop laughing to myself at your line "Poor man is used to always being given the worst of the batch and expected there must be better versions somewhere." Food blogger husband woes :P

    More seriously, I am impressed at your perseverance with the biscuits but sorry they didn't work as intended. The savoury contributions you made sound delicious though.

    1. Thanks Kari - food blogger husbands know their place :-) I think we have eaten all the chocolate snaps now but they were a bit slower to be eaten then the tamari chickpeas

  4. I have enough trouble with macarons let alone trying an aqua faba one. Also I can't stand the idea of sifting all that almond meal and sugar for it to not work. I loathe sifting!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - it probably would help me to do vegan macarons if I had made them with eggs before. My almond meal was too coarse to sift and I wasn't sure if that was a problem but it would have been hard to grind it finer

  5. Haha I too laughed at the immediate thought that the better food versions were hidden away somewhere.

    I love the experiments... I always think it's important to document what didn't work just as much as what did. I love crispy savoury chickpeas... I haven't ever made my own as I fear they'd be eaten far too fast!!

    1. Thanks Lisa - if only there were successes hidden somewhere :-) Experiments with aquafaba are such fun. The chickpeas weren't crispy but they were still great for snacking and lunchboxes and if they didn't go so quickly, I would have used them in stews and salads

  6. I like reading about your acquafaba experiments. These cookies look like brandy snaps.

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - they reminded me of brandy snaps

  7. i find putting the AF in the freezer for a couple of hours helps. I also need a painfully low, slow oven, so i actually have to leave the door of mine open on its lowest temperature.

    1. Thanks Cate - Great tips! interesting to hear the aquafaba works well when in the freezer as I had some leftover and had wondered if it was better at room temp or in the fridge. My oven is not terribly reliable which might have had an impact on the first batch but I think the second never had enough air to start with.

  8. I ate more than my fair share of both pizza and 'brandy snaps'!

    1. Thanks Faye - it's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it :-)

  9. "When the 6 year old in the house understands the value of aquafaba, it is a sign I have been experimenting with it quite a lot lately."
    Sylvia sounds like such a cute child =) Very wise.
    You have so much more patience than me in the baking department. I can appreciate your failed attempts - mine happen pretty well every time I try baking ;p
    The tamari chickpeas sound very tasty. A perfect snack and great potluck food.

    1. Thanks Kimmy - Sylvia probably knows lots of cooking stuff other kids do and yet she is not learning what is considered standards like how to scramble eggs or fry bacon :-) I am not sure I am overly patient as I am not sure I have the patience to perfect the recipe but might return to it some time


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