I'm totally fascinated by aquafaba, a new egg white substitute that has been getting popular in the last year or two. Aquafaba is something I have been unknowingly throwing away for years, and before I saw it in action, I couldn't really believe that it was actually going to work. Aquafaba is chickpea brine, the water that I have been tipping out of canned beans and pouring away down the drain! But it has a secret power to become an uncanny egg white replacer. It makes very fluffy, glossy meringues indistinguishable from egg white meringue. Uncooked aquafaba meringue has the faintest beany smell, but sugar and a bit of vanilla takes that away, and cooked, the stuff is an incredibly convincing egg white mimic.
To make it work, it helps to reduce the aqua faba by about 25% to thicken it slightly, so 1 cup becomes 3/4 cup. To reduce, heat over medium heat in a small pan for around 10-15 minutes, checking the volume frequently until you get 3/4 the original volume.Now, every time I eat chickpeas I save the liquid in a jar in the freezer for later. I can be frozen and then reduced after, or reduced and then frozen.
These cookies are soft and chewy, with a molten, caramelly little jam puddle through the centre.
jammy walnut cookies:
Adapted from The New York TImes
1 ¾ cups blanched almonds, toasted
1 ½ cups walnuts, toasted
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup aqua faba, reduced by 25%
½ cup raspberry jam
Grind almonds and walnuts in a food processor until mostly finely ground, a few bigger pieces are ok. Combine nuts with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix aqua faba with the whisk attachment on medium speed until very frothy, about 3 minutes. Fold into nut mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, overnight if you like.
Heat oven to 325°. Scoop golf ball sized cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for a couple minutes and then carefully make in an indentation in the centre of each cookie. Drop a teaspoon of jam in each and then bake 10 more minutes, until the bottom edges of the cookies are golden brown and jam is bubbling.