Staff Appreciation Cookie Exchange

Vegan "aquafaba" meringues

A teacher and staff cookie exchange is something I would totally volunteer to help with. They had it last year too but we were away in Hawaii at the time. I was so bummed. I love baking, especially for others. I get in all sorts of trouble if I have to eat all of the sweets I make. No amount of running or exercise would undo that.

I don't know what the turnout was like last year for volunteers but this year's list looked rather bleak. 25 volunteer slots were open and only 15 signed up. I ended up signing up for three and another volunteer signed up for two. So only 12 people signed up. I would have preferred to sign up for one or two and concentrate on making those nicer but I felt like they needed more variety. We had to provide two dozen of each kind of cookie. Since I had to bake 72 treats, I had to split up my time over two days. Times like this, I wish I had two ovens.

Rosemary lemon sugar cookies

Here are the three treats that I made:
  1. Rosemary lemon sugar cookies
  2. Lime meltaways
  3. Vegan aquafaba meringues
I waited until most people signed up and then I chose cookies that weren't there. I wanted a decorative cookie but I made it a bit different with the addition of rosemary. Thanks Sugar Rush for the idea! Then it made all the sense in the world to cut out christmas trees as the shape for the cookies. Lime meltaways were thrown in there since no one was making anything similar and they were so easy to do. The vegan aquafaba meringues were something I have always wanted to make and this was my chance. Plus, I didn't think anyone would sign up for any of the vegan treats. I don't particularly like the taste of meringues so it was the perfect thing for me to play with and then give away.

I painted them and then used a toothpick to draw lines. Like?

Lime meltaways

After doing the vegan meringues, I sort of feel like I have mastered meringue making. It's really not that hard if you follow the instructions. Lol. And aquafaba meringues do not taste like chickpea at all! My family liked them. I had to test these out the first time and they turned out as well. However, I tried doing them with almond extract to make them more Christmasy but they just tasted weird. On my second attempt for school, I just went with vanilla extract with a squeeze of lemon. My family liked that more. I love the way they look in blue with the streaks and rainbow pixie dust on them. So whimsical and pretty. I would totally do them again just for decoration pieces. The liquid from one can of chickpeas will make around 30 medium size meringues.

Here are things I discovered when I made my vegan meringues:
  • Cooking two cookie sheets of meringues (~24) in 250F for 50 mins and leaving them in the oven for 1+ hours after you turn off the oven works best. This also depends on the size of your meringues.
  • If meringues are sticky after they are cool, you didn't cook them long enough. You can stick them back in the oven at 200F for another 10-15 mins and then turn the oven off and leave them in there again to dry up.
  • Once they are cool, pack them away in an airtight container. They will be less sticky as a result. If you leave them out, they will be stickier since they will draw in moisture from the air.
  • Piping large meringues will most definitely lose some definition once they are baked. Smaller meringues retain more definition and they are so adorable!
  • Drain your can of chickpeas over your stand mixer in the fridge for an hour or so. I had no problem whipping this up when I did this.

Meringues are so pretty. And so easy to make. Now I have a reason to save my canned chickpea liquid! It's science at work in the kitchen. Kind of mindblowing when you first make them. Whoever came up with this is a genius.


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