During Christmas, I had this bad habit of being at the grocery store and looking at the ingredients of the Italian Christmas cookies hoping some of them would be vegan. Not a chance. I’ve been craving these all season.
After Christmas, I looked up some recipes for this type of cookie. I wasn’t sure what they would actually be called, but it was easy enough to find. I found this recipe, which I knew I could veganize with the magic vegan ingredient, aquafaba.
I was so worried I’d really mess up making these a lot earlier on. The parts I thought would fail were not as difficult as I thought. The hardest part was cutting it after I put the chocolate on top, which ended up crumbling a bit and making it not as pretty as I would have liked. The recipe makes it sound much more complicated and some of the steps are needlessly complicated, so I’m re-writing the recipe in the way I did it with the vegan substitutions.
This recipe also required making vegan almond paste (with aquafaba as well!)
That is the first step to making these babies.
Vegan Aquafaba Almond Paste
- 1.5 cups blanched almonds
- 1.5 cups vegan powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea water/brine from a can)
- 1.5 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a food processor, blend the almonds until smooth and pasty.
- Add the powdered sugar, aquafaba, extract, and salt.
- Process again until smooth and dough-like (it should form into a big ball).
- You may need to scrape the sides down frequently throughout the process.
- When finished, set aside 3/4 cup for your Italian Rainbow cookies. You can save the leftovers, it’s super yummy!
Veganized Italian Rainbow Cookies
- 2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons Earth Balance sticks
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup almond paste (recipe above)
- 3/4 cup vegan sugar plus 2 tablespoons
- 4 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas)
- 12 tablespoons aquafaba
- 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
- food coloring method of choice (red and green)
- 15 oz Apricot Jam (not the kind with clumpy pieces in it, you want it to be smooth)
- 10 oz vegan chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place parchment paper on three jelly roll pans or rimmed cookie sheets and spray parchment with cooking oil.
- In a stand mixer bowl, place the almond paste and 3/4 cup with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix on the medium speed setting until crumbly.
- Cut the Earth Balance into small pieces and place into the the mixture while beating together until all the Earth Balance is in there and the batter is smooth.
- Sift 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Add into the mixer slowly and continue to mix until combined. Do not over mix.
- In a large metal bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, place the 12 tablespoons of aquafaba. Whip until foamy. Slowly add in the 2 tablespoons of sugar while continuing to whip on the highest setting. Stop when you have created firm peaks (if you take out the whisks from the meringue, and place them upside down, it will not drip down).
- Add 1/3 of the meringue into the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula. Add the rest of the meringue and mix until fully incorporated.
- Place the batter evenly into 3 bowls. 1 bowl keep plain, and then add green and red to the other two bowls.
- Transfer the batters onto their respective cookie sheets one at a time with a wet rubber spatula . My sheets were too big to be able to spread out the batter entirely, so I tried my best to make the most even shaped rectangles on each cookie sheet so they’d match up when layered together after baking. Don’t worry too much about it, you’ll cut the edges so they’re prettier when it’s all assembled anyhow. Just worry about making relatively even thickness rectangles for now.
- Bake for 4 minutes, rotate the pans around in the oven so that one pan is not on the bottom rack the whole time, and bake for another 4-6 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Spread a thin layer of apricot jam on top of the red layer.
- Cut any excess parchment paper from around the white layer. Holding the bottom of the cookie with both hands, carefully line up and flip the white layer onto the red.
- Spread another layer of jam. Repeat step 13 with the green layer, but do not place anymore jam on top.
- Cover with plastic wrap. Place a clean cookie sheet on top to press down the layers. Place something heavy and even (like two cans on either side) on top of that, and place into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
- Take off the cans, cookie sheet, and plastic wrap. With a sharp knife, trim the uneven sides into a clean rectangle shape. Let sit for a moment or a few.
- Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave.
- Spread over the top layer and sides with a spatula.
- Allow to set, and then cut into smalls squares.
- Place in a container and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Enjoy! I know I certainly will!
In my honest opinion, peanut butter and chocolate is the best combination of flavors in the world. So, I was looking in one of my mom’s cookbooks recently to veganize a Chinese Chicken Salad recipe, and found a recipe for peanut ice cream. It calls for egg yolks (which I veganized with aquafaba) and cream and all kinds of non vegan stuff, so I adapted it quite a bit. It came out quite good. Here’s the recipe:
Peanut butter ice cream sundaes
(Adapted from a non-vegan recipe in the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook)
For peanut butter ice cream:
- 1 can full fat regular coconut milk
- 1 can Trader Joe’s coconut cream (you can use another can of coconut milk if you don’t have a nearby trader Joe’s, it may not come out as creamy but it will still be good.)
- 1 15 oz can’s worth of drained chickpea liquid (also referred to as aquafaba)
- ½ cup vegan sugar
- 2/3 cup powdered peanut butter
- 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
For fudge sauce:
- ¾ stick Earth Balance (6 tbsp)
- ¼ pound block of dark chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup vegan sugar
- 1 tbsp instant coffee
- 1 cup coconut milk from a can
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
For ice cream:
- Drain the chickpeas and set aside the liquid. Place in a small saucepan and heat on low until fizzy and reduced to 1/3 cup. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Place the chickpea liquid into a ceramic mixing bowl along with the sugar. With an electric mixer, beat for about 5 minutes until peaks form and ribbons fall off the beaters.
- Pour the coconut milk and coconut cream into a large saucepan. Whisk a bit by hand until the clumps come out of the coconut cream and it is smooth. Heat on the stove until hot but not boiling.
- Take off the heat and add in the chickpea liquid/sugar mixture and whisk by hand until combined.
- Place on heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It is ready to go when the liquid coats the back of the spoon.
- Allow to cool for at least a half hour off the heat. Add in the peanut butter and peanut butter powder and transfer to a blender. Blend until combined.
- Place in a container and refrigerate overnight.
- Follow your ice creamer maker directions and then stick in the freezer after it’s ready for at least another hour before serving.
For fudge sauce:
- Melt the Earth Balance in a medium sized saucepan.
- Shut off the heat once melted, and add all ingredients except vanilla.
- Heat over medium heat until boiling while stirring constantly.
- When boiling, turn to low and stir for an additional 5-10 minutes until smooth and thick.
- Take the pan off the heat and add in the vanilla extract.
- Allow to cool briefly and serve while still warm on top of ice cream. You will need to refrigerate and reheat (try steaming with a double boiler) when using again.
What the chickpea liquid and sugar should look like before you add it to the coconut
The ice cream when done
The chocolate sauce when done
Top your ice cream and fudge with peanuts and coconut whipped cream (that is if you can master it! I haven’t been able to for some reason…go figure).
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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour the bean juice, sugar, lemonade, and blueberry juice.
- 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.
- 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.
- When thick yet fluffy with peaks, add in the extracts and give it about 2 minutes of remixing again.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
before going into the oven
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!
This is one of the simplest, easiest, and delicious recipes I like to make. It also has a good amount of turmeric in it, which I have been hearing so much of the benefits of recently. Pairing the almonds with the chickpeas gives it a firmer texture and the apples give it a nice crunch. It’s really good in a wrap or some sprouted rye bread as a sandwich, or even as a topping for a salad.
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup whole almonds
- 1/2 cup vegenaise
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 chopped apple of choice
- Place the chickpeas and almonds in a food processor and chop thoroughly. The almonds give the chickpeas a more chicken like texture.
- Transfer the chickpeas and almonds into a large bowl (bigger is better, I used a bowl that was too small at first that caused some overflow.
- Add the vegenaise, curry powder, turmeric, and nutritional yeast, and stir well, until the ingredients are all combined.
- Fold in the chopped apple.
- Serve in a wrap with lettuce, in regular sandwich bread, or on top of a salad.
Before I went vegan I was obsessed with honey mustard. In fact, I used to be a honey mustard fiend. Luckily for me, it’s easy to make a vegan version. I just mix vegenaise, yellow mustard, and agave and it comes out pretty much the same. Today I made some of it to dip a pretzel into…and then I was like “hmmm this would be amazing on chickpeas” so I whipped this recipe up.
Basically what I did was, well, I will just format it like a recipe. Here it is:
- 15 oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry a bit
- 2 tbsp vegenaise
- 2 tbsp prepared yellow mustard, divided
- 1/2 tbsp agave syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place chickpeas in a shallow baking dish in a single layer.
- Mix 2 tbsp vegenaise, 1 tbsp yellow mustard, and 1/2 tbsp agave into a small bowl and stir until combined.
- Pour over the chickpeas and stir until evenly coated.
- Place in oven for about 25 minutes.
- Take out after 25 minutes, stir, and add the other tbsp of yellow mustard and stir again until incorporated.
- Place back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so. You may want to check after 10 minutes to make sure they’re not burning…but they should not be unless your oven is hotter than mine.
- Let cool for a few minutes and eat while hot, they’re best right then!