November 21, 2018
Aquafaba may be the oft-discarded byproduct of canned or cooked chickpeas, but here at Meringueshop, we turn that dynamic on its head. With freshly made aquafaba forming the base of virtually all of the confections we make, it is the chickpeas themselves that become the “unneeded” byproduct, and the aquafaba, the star of the show.
We are often asked, then, what do you do with all those chickpeas? Hummus is, of course, the first solution that comes to mind, but that has limited use in a bakery, and ultimately, there is only so much hummus any human being can eat!
No, we have become much more enamored by an entirely different and much less traditional transformation of those chickpeas: toasted chickpea flour. It has a pleasing hazelnut-like flavor and, unlike raw chickpea flour, does not overpower the recipes in which it is used. Since our kitchen is dedicated peanut and tree nut free, toasted chickpea flour has become a go-to solution for replacing nuts, as well as a high protein component of our gluten free blends.
The method for making the flour is easy. After straining off the aquafaba, we bake the well-cooked chickpeas in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour until dry, shaking the pan every 15 minutes. They will sound hollow as they dry and turn a light golden brown when ready. After they cool, we grind the chickpeas in a high-speed blender to a fine flour.
This dynamic flour is blended with oat flour to form the base of the shortbread recipe below. These cookies taste best lightly sweetened with maple sugar, though coconut sugar can also be used.
For a fancy finish, we like to glaze them with a lavender royal icing or drizzle them with melted white chocolate. Or, if holiday pies are on your mind, try using this recipe as a press-in pie crust - a nice substitute for a graham cracker crust.
TOASTED CHICKPEA SHORTBREAD
Yields: 14 oz for 2 8 inch pie tins or 12 cookies
This recipe works best if all the ingredients are finely ground to a powder in a blender. The result is a fine, crisp shortbread – delicious for snacking or a flavorful crumb crust.
½ cup (120g) earth balance butter or coconut oil
½ cup (60g) maple or coconut palm sugar
1 cup (90g) toasted chickpeas (or ¾ cup toasted chickpea flour )*
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
¼ cup (40g) sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons (28g) aquafaba or plant milk
Preheat oven to 300.
Pulverize the sugar on high speed in a blender to a fine powder. Add powdered sugar to a stand mixer with the earth balance butter or coconut oil. Using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until well emulsified.
Meanwhile, add the toasted chickpeas and rolled oats to the blender and blend on high speed until mixture is ground to a fine powder. Add the rice flour to the blender and pulse to mix dry ingredients together. Pour the dry ingredients into the mixer with the whipped butter mix. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping down the sides. It will get crumbly and start to come together. Mix the vanilla extract into the aquafaba and add to the shortbread mix. Beat 2 more minutes until a soft dough forms. The dough can be made in advance and refrigerated, but easiest to work with if formed right away.
Roll dough into 12 balls and press into ¼ inch thick cookies, or divide dough in half to press into an 8 inch pie pan. (Add more dough if a thicker crust is desired). The dough can also be rolled between plastic wrap to cut into shapes, but it will be a little more delicate to handle than classic shortbread cookies. Just chill after cutting into shapes, before transferring to a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes at 300 until crisp. Allow to cool.
Top with royal icing or melted white chocolate.
*To make the chickpea flour from scratch, start with 2 cups boiled chickpeas. Don’t forget to save the liquid! Toast chickpeas at 300 in the oven for 1 hour until lightly brown. They will be completely dry when ready. Chickpeas can be toasted and stored in a dry place for up to 2 weeks.
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