Making vegan Macarons for the first time!

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French macarons (not to be confused with coconut macaroons) are a meringue based sandwich cookie with almond flour. They are quite popular and come in all different kinds of flavor combinations. They are supposedly difficult to make even when not vegan. Vegan macarons were once believed to be impossible to make, because there was no good vegan alternative to meringues. But now there is!

You may recall my post about magical bean juice (also referred to as aquafaba in vegan circles) for making meringue cookies. You can do the same thing with these! I didn’t make up my own recipe since I’ve never made these before, but I still want to share the recipe I used and my results.

This is the recipe I used but I changed the flavors, colors, and frosting recipe. It worked perfectly for me, even on my first try. I personally feel like it it might have had a lot to do with the weather, it was a great sunny day. I found this recipe from a group all all about making vegan meringue and using aquafaba.

I chose to make lavender agave frosting and used a super fruit jelly in the middle from Trader Joe’s.

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The texture came out so great. The frosting I made was a little runny, so the recipe I am including here is changed to account for it to be better.

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The recipe for the frosting is as follows:

  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lavender extract
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

You just need to mix everything together.

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in the oven almost done

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out of the oven

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close up of the feet

I absolutely loved these, and the best part is they are automatically gluten free!

I’m deep in the midst of making food for volunteers at Girls Rock RI this week, stay tuned for a post about that soon!

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Magic Bean juice for lavender vegan meringues

Okay, so I had been aware that vegans all over the internet had discovered that it was possible to make meringue out of the juice inside a can of chickpeas (drained from the chickpeas). However, I was a bit skeptical. I didn’t think it was easy. But I finally got the courage to try. It was a beautiful day out, and though I’m not sure it’s the same for vegan meringue, I remember as a kid when my mom would make my grandmother’s famous real meringues, they wouldn’t come out well if it was rainy or humid. Apparently that’s an actual thing. So, thinking to myself that it was the perfect day, I decided to make them.

Meringue was seriously one thing I never thought would be successfully veganized, but I was so wrong. To me, this just proves “anything you can eat I can eat vegan!” It’s like the last frontier of veganizing…

So behold! the magical vegan bean juice. I can’t wait to try to veganize my mom’s meringue frosting, macarons, and more, never mind explore other flavors for these ones. I think I will try some peppermint chocolate chip ones next…

I took a bit of artistic license to this recipe. That recipe uses white beans instead of chickpeas and doesn’t have a flavor. I personally cannot taste the chickpeas in the recipe I created, but it’s probably because I added stuff to it.

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Ingredients:

  • The strained juice of a 15 oz can of chickpeas minus one tablespoon. 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp vegan sugar
  • 1/2 tsp lemonade (I used organic bottled strawberry lemonade)
  • 1 tbsp blueberry juice (I took the juice of some frozen blueberries that I microwaved for a bit)–this doesn’t add flavor, it’s just for the effect of the color, so this is essentially optional
  • 2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp lavender extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, pour the bean juice, sugar, lemonade, and blueberry juice.
  3. With an electric handheld mixer or whisk attachment on a stand mixer, begin to whisk together the ingredients in circles around the sides of the mixing bowl.
  4. Continue to mix until thick and fluffy. The time varies a lot. It took mine 10 minutes to get to the perfect point, but I had my handheld mixer on the highest setting (5) and I’m not sure how other brand mixers may work. See picture for reference.
  5. When thick yet fluffy with peaks, add in the extracts and give it about 2 minutes of remixing again.
  6. Lay some parchment paper on several baking sheets. Take a spoon and add dollops of the meringue onto the sheet, like cookies only with a more liquid batter. They will come out looking prettiest if you try to make them look like chocolate kisses. You know what I mean I hope…I can’t describe it any other way, haha.
  7. Place in the oven for an hour. After an hour, check them. The baking sheet that was on the bottom rack was done at this point. If you poke them with your finger they should be stiff and not make a print.
  8. It took about an hour and 15 minutes for the rest of my meringues to be done. If they’re not done after an hour and 15, check in another ten minutes, and then more frequently after that if they’re still not ready.
  9. Allow to cool on the sheets for at least 15 minutes. You’ll want to eat them, and you can enjoy almost as many as you want, I calculated that they are only about 10 calories each…depending on how big you make them (I made 34).
  10. Store them (if you have any left) in a sealed container to try to prevent them from getting too moist. I personally like them a bit soggier and chewy, though!
what it should look like when ready

what it should look like when ready

before going into the oven

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Meringues were big in my family growing up, as I mentioned above. Check out more childhood favorite recipes that I veganized in my zine, on etsy! 

Last day of Vegan Mofo 2014, I’m sad! Here are some too-good baked goods-Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes

Ugh, I’m so sad Vegan MoFo is over. This was a great month for me and my blog. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, as I started a new college program at the same time. I did it though! And my blog got featured on the Vegan MoFo Roundup, mid way through. I had met all the success markers I had set for myself in participating in this, including over 500 views. I actually doubled that amount! This was my most successful month of blogging to date, which is not surprising as MoFo provides a lot of the ability to be successful by participating in it. The trick is to a stress-free MoFo while being quite busy, I found, is to plan it out early. I made a calendar of recipes in advance, tested them, photographed them and did not stray too much from that!

I met and interacted with a lot of great bloggers that I haven’t been able to before, which was really nice. I have a bunch of new vegan blogs to follow now full of awesome people!

I have a lot of exciting things planned in the coming month as well, so don’t stop checking out my blog! Tonight I am going to be testing out a recipe for spinach raviolis with butternut squash and sage filling which I hope to post soon. I may even be doing a cooking demo for them in RI. October is my Birthday month, and I have a birthday cake waffle recipe I’ll be sharing soon! There will be other posts too that relate to my vegan education project for new vegans or people interested in becoming vegan, in which I’ll be addressing common concerns and how to deal with them. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see me cover, be sure to comment here or in the future.

Now, without further ado, let’s get the final Vegan MoFo recipe for Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes out!

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Makes a dozen regular sized cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tea bag worth of chamomile tea opened up, contents removed
  • 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted not solid
  • 1 cup unflavored (plain) almond milk
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp and a few drops coconut creamer
  • a couple drops of lavender extract (optional)
  • vegan red and blue food coloring to make a lavender hue (optional)

Decoration (optional):

  • Dried Chamomile flowers

Directions for the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with twelve cupcake liners.
  2. In a food processor, blend the sugar, chamomile tea and lavender until ground well and very fragrant. Be careful upon opening the food processor, as there will be powder coming out…don’t inhale!
  3. Melt the coconut oil.
  4. Whisk the sugar and herb mix, almond milk, and coconut oil in a medium large size mixing bowl.
  5. Mix in the baking soda and powder.
  6. Incorporate the flour in.
  7. Add vanilla extract and stir until everything is mostly smooth. The batter will be a bit clumpy with the coconut oil and that’s okay.
  8. Place about 2 tbsp of the batter in each muffin tin.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cupcake.
  10. Wait 5 minutes and then place on cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before decorating with the icing.

Directions for the icing:

  1. With a small whisk, mix up the coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small bowl until large crumbs form.
  2. Add the coconut creamer and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the optional extract and food coloring and mix until satisfied.

For assembly:

  1. Use a frosting spatula and place a thin layer of the icing on each cupcake.
  2. Decorate with dried chamomile flowers.

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Bye, Vegan Month of Food 2014! See you next year in 2015! I already cannot wait!

Summertime Strawberry Lavender Lemonade Cooler

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 lemons worth of lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • Liquid stevia, to taste
  • Lavender extract, to taste (can find on Amazon, I bought mine at Sur la Table)

Directions:

Blend together, enjoy.

 

 

 

Laura’s first ever original recipe: Baked “Honey” and Lavender Donuts!

Wow, so just yesterday I debuted this blog on the internet, and it’s already motivating me and inspiring my cooking in amazing ways!

I was in the mall after school and decided to purchase a donut pan and some lavender extract, two things that have been in my amazon wishlist for awhile, but haven’t bought yet because of my need for instant gratification…so there they were in my shopping bag, and my mind was going wild with different things I could do with both items together.

These donuts were born from the initial brainstorm:

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Baked “Honey” and Lavender Glazed Donuts!

I’ve never created my own recipe until now…I had to do lots of research on a basic donut recipe and then veganized it and tweaked that a bit…I wanted my donuts to have a lavender like color, but did not want to use artificial colors, so I added some smushed up blueberries to give it the color. I am not a fan of the taste of blueberries except for the occasional good muffin, but these I can barely taste the blueberries in, which is fine by me. The glaze was really tasty in my opinion, but I might try to find a more icing type of frosting to make next time because I think it’ll look nicer. My family who tried them also said the amount of lavender I put in the glaze was a bit overpowering, so I changed the recipe a bit.

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A cartoon I drew of my cat, Neko!

My cat Neko is a kindred scent spirit to me apparently, and shares my love of all things lavender. While the kitchen was scented with it’s essence, his nose was working hard trying to find the source of the smell, and he just hung out on the kitchen counter for a while looking quite relaxed.

Before I get to the recipe for these babies, I want to also share a review of what I use for the “honey.” It’s kind of awesome, because I don’t really like agave (I think it’s too much like high fructose syrup). It’s called Bee Free Honee and I think more vegans should try it! It’s made of apples and I can’t believe how close it comes to the taste of real honey from my memory of it. I give it:

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Okay, okay, here’s the recipe:

Baked “Honey” and Lavender Donuts

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time to make the donuts!

Makes 6 donuts

Ingredients:

1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxmeal and 3 tbsp water, whisked–let sit for a bit)

1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk (sweetened or unsweetened is fine, I used sweetened)

1/2 cup blueberries

2 tbsp bee free honee or agave (or even maple syrup)

2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup vegan sugar

1 tsp lavender extract (I got mine at Sur La Table…you can probably get it at any good specialty cooking store or even Amazon where I originally saw it. This is the brand I bought there)

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose white flour

Glaze:

2 tbsp almond milk

a couple drops (if possible) of lavender extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup organic powdered sugar

Dried lavender flowers or vegan sprinkles, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Make flax egg, whisk, and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. In a measuring cup, pour the apple cider vinegar, and then fill up with the almond milk. Whisk and then set aside 5-10 minutes. This creates a vegan buttermilk substitute!
  4. Mash blueberries with a potato masher in a bowl, or roughly in a food processor or blender. You don’t want them to be too liquid, but enough so they’re smooth and no longer resemble berries.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, add flax egg, almond milk/apple cider vinegar mixture, “honey,” apple sauce, sugar, and lavender extract. Stir until combined.
  6. Mix baking soda, baking powder, and flour together in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Stir the powders and flour until combined and then add the wet ingredients into the bowl.
  8. Fold in the blueberries.
  9. Spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  10. Spoon donut batter into pan cavities.
  11. Put into the oven. Make sure you have the pan on top of a regular cookie sheet in case there’s any spill over for any reason!
  12. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be somewhat of a golden color.
  13. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  14. Place on a cooling rack to completely cool.

To make the glaze: 

  1. Heat almond milk with extracts in a small saucepan on low heat until warm, whisking occasionally so it doesn’t scorch.
  2. Slowly add powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.
  3. Dip donuts into glaze.
  4. Quickly add vegan sprinkles or dried lavender flowers before glaze sets!
  5. Om nom nom on them!

Some extra tips:

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blueberries

These are how my blueberries looked before I folded them in.

If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes! You can always contact me or comment about troubleshooting anything or getting some ideas how to tweak something (though I don’t guarantee they’ll work perfectly all the time). And if you make them for someone or something, or whatever, be sure to tell people where you found the recipe and about my blog 🙂 !!!