I wish I could say that we weren’t dubious, but we really were, even after the success of our first aquafaba (bean water) experiment last week. We jumped in feet first with aquafaba meringues, and found, to our surprise, that yes, it really is possible to whip up the water from a can of chickpeas into stiff peaks—and that they really did bake up into meringues. They even tasted like meringues. We were hooked: What else could we make with aquafaba?
Shop the Story
You gave us lots of ideas to run with, and we decided to test out aquafaba chocolate mousse, mayonnaise, and marshmallow fluff. On the way into the office yesterday, I bought (in my enthusiasm) six cans of chickpeas and set to work.
First, I made Catalinalacruz's recipe for aquafaba chocolate mousse: 1/3 cup of aquafaba (catalinalacruz used white beans, but we used chickpeas) whipped to stiff peaks in a stand mixer, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 cup of cooled, melted chocolate (I used one bar of Scharffen Berger dark chocolate, which, for the record, is vegan). I was afraid I might be folding out all of the air when I added the chocolate, but the mousse stood its ground. After it had a spell in the fridge to cool down and firm up, we tremulously lowered our spoons into the bowl. It was pretty good—a little sharp (maybe too much chocolate? Or perhaps the right amount of chocolate, but lacking in mellowing agents due to the lack of fatty whipping cream?) and the texture was very light, though a bit grainy. BUT: Not bad. Definitely not bad. Would eat it again.
We used Simmer to capture the aquafaba aioli magic.
While the mousse chilled, Kenzi (whose love for mayonnaise is undying) and I made vegan aquafaba mayonnaise. We used the same ingredients you might use in any old egg-based mayonnaise, deviating only to replace the egg with 3 tablespoons of bean water. Beyond that, it was just a touch each of mustard, salt, and apple cider vinegar, and about a cup of neutral oil. The method was the same, too: Whip it good, until you feel like your arm might fly off and the mixture starts to come together. (Check out the video above to see what we mean!)
We took turns whisking and whisking and whisking and then, almost simultaneously, we gasped: It was working. The aquafaba mixture and the oil emulsified into something that was a lot like mayonnaise—looser and lighter in texture, but distinctly mayo-y. After it rested in the fridge, I divided the mayo and mixed minced garlic, parsley, and dill into half of it. We set up crudités and sat nearby to observe the Food52 team's reactions. No one seemed to suspect that it had been whipped together not from eggs but from aquafaba. Our verdict: The mayo was the best of aquafaba bunch. We'd even feed it to our friends.
Finally, marshmallow fluff: I followed a recipe I found on Chocolate-Covered Katie. The fluff is essentially the aquafaba meringue, but unbaked: 1/2 cup of honey or sugar (I used the latter), the liquid from one can of chickpeas, and a sizeable pinch of cream of tartar. My arm still recovering from our mayonnaise experiment, I used the stand mixer this time, beating the aquafaba on high until it formed stiff peaks. When peaks began to form, I added the sugar and the cream of tartar. It was glossy and bright and full when I scooped it from the bowl; the cream of tartar added significant stability to the fluff, eliminating some of the fragility I encountered when I was folding the chocolate into the whipped aquafaba for mousse. We sampled the fluff alongside the mousse—and it received poor reviews. It tasted pretty beany, far beanier than either the mayonnaise or the mousse, neither of which had any bean flavor at all. I'd save this to make meringues with. Maybe.
Are we ready to give up eggs, to sub in bean water in all our future baking endeavors? Not quite. (Admittedly, we’re both purists and huge egg fans—the first thing I thought to do with our aquafaba mayo was to make egg salad with it. Oops.) But if you’re experimenting, or have an egg allergy, or have a spare can of chickpeas lying around, it’s worth a shot—especially the mayonnaise. Seeing that aquafaba whip up really is a kind of magic.
What have you made with aquafaba? Have you used beans besides chickpeas? What recipes would you like to try? Tell us in the comments!
The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).