Tag Archive for aquafaba meringue

What Kinds of Sugars Work with Aquafaba Meringue?

A few months back, while I was working on my cookbook, I spent a day playing with different kinds of sugars.

There are lots of folks out there (especially in the vegan community) that are trying to avoid sugar, or at least cut down on it.

An additional note to make is that most people assume that granulated sugar (which is what I primarily use to make Aquafaba meringue) is vegan. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

Different Sugars and Aquafaba

But it turns out that some sugar is processed by filtering it through bone char, which would render it non-vegan for most, given that the sugar has come into contact with an animal product (despite the fact that it contains no animal products). If you live here in BC, our main supplier of sugar is Roger’s, and their sugar is indeed filtered through bone char.

Again, it all just depends on whether or not you are vegan–there are certainly lots of people who may use aquafaba for other reasons.

But let’s go with this–let’s say you are vegan and you’re trying to avoid granulated sugar–which, let’s face it, is the worst kind for you, anyway.

You have lots of options! Basically any sugar that is unrefined, organic or raw, will not be filtered through bone char (here’s a list of vegan sugars). BUT if you’re making aquafaba meringue, will these sugars work?

Sugar is important to the process. When you’re making a meringue, sugar helps to stabilize the aquafaba, and of course, if you’re adding it to desserts, it adds sweetness. I’ve made aquafaba meringue without sugar (just some stabilizer like cream of tartar) and it worked fine for non-sweet recipes, but most of the time, I’m using it in sweeter interpretations, so I do add sugar.

I was curious to see what sugars worked best with aquafaba, so I did a little experiment.

I tried making meringue with aquafaba and 6 different kinds of sugars.

For these, I used the ratio:

  • 3 tbsp aquafaba
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

I then fired all of that in my KitchenAid stand mixer and let it go for about 6-10 minutes.

Organic: Organic sugar is less processed than white sugar. First off, it comes from organic sugarcane, and secondly, there are no chemical processes done to the sugarcane. So it’s a much purer result.

Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar has a lower GI (about 30-35) than regular sugar, which is why it’s becoming so popular right now. I actually like this one quite a bit.

Turbinado: this is “Sugar in the Raw” or raw sugar. It’s a coarser grain and a darker colour.

Brown Sugar: So, while it might seem less refined than white sugar (and to some degree it is), brown sugar is mostly white sugar with molasses added back in for flavor and colour. So, again, ideally buy the organic version of this to ensure it’s vegan, if that’s your deal.

Xylitol: made from the bark of birch trees (I know, sounds weird, right?) Xylitol is as sweet as sugar, so you can use it cup-for-cup, but it’s natural, and doesn’t have an aftertaste like stevia does. It’s also basically zero on the GI scale, so it’s kind of like sugar free sugar.

Monkfruit: It’s made from a tropical melon, and it’s pretty sweet, though it has a GI of zero. I’ve been using it for about a year. You have to be careful not to use too much. I put some in my coffee the other day and couldn’t drink it. Monkfruit was the only sweetener that did not work at all with the Aquafaba.

Conclusion: they all worked with aquafaba to some degree. Some formed better peaks than others. Surprisingly, Xylitol worked really well. The browner sugars changed the colour of the meringue, so if that’s an issue for you, stick to to organic white sugar.

 

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Rhubarb Dream Bars (Vegan)

You guys, it’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!

It’s May. Last week the farmer’s markets started opening, and the first signs of spring in the kitchen, which include fiddleheads, ramps and rhubarb, are available for sale there.

I know, I know, you must think me a crazy person. To be so excited about the opening of the markets and the first fresh, locally-grown produce of the year.

But I am! I’m just not a winter person. I left Eastern Canada 20 years ago because I couldn’t handle the winters any more, and this past winter has been especially brutal for the West Coast–cold, rainy, snowy. I live for the summer. I’m counting down the weeks until it’s the end of June and I can take time off and hang at the pool with my son.

A big part of my love of summer is all the amazing, fresh ingredients. I love to get inspired by what I find at the farmer’s markets and roadside stands.

Rhubarb Dream Bars

And rhubarb is the harbinger of it all. So let’s party!

I have two rhubarb recipes for you this week: today’s is a dessert bar made with rhubarb and aquafaba. It’s a meringue base, so I’m calling these Rhubarb Dream Bars, because they are dreamy like clouds, baked atop a shortbread crust.

The second is a recipe for the easiest jam you’ll ever make. It’s like the laziest jam recipe ever. But it tastes awesome, so there’s no shame. No one needs to know.

Onward with our spring celebration!

Rhubarb Meringue Bars Vegan Aquafaba

Rhubarb Dream Bars

Ingredients for the crust

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter

Ingredients for the filling

  • 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla beans
  • 2 stalks diced rhubarb

Method

To make the crust:

  • Place the flour and icing sugar together in a bowl, and stir. Make a little well in the centre of the bowl, and pour the coconut oil or melted vegan butter into it. Mix well until the wet is incorporated into the dry. It will be crumby. Press this mixture into the bottom of a greased 8″x8″ pan, and set aside.

To make the filling:

  1. Place the aquafaba, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of your stand mixer and begin beating it at a low speed, just to incorporate. Then turn up the speed as high as it will go for about 6-10 minutes, until it is fluffy, smooth, thick and glossy, similar to the texture of melted marshmallows. You can also do this with a hand-held mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer.
  2. Carefully fold about half of the rhubarb into the meringue mixture with a spatula, then scrap it into the pan on top of the crust. Smooth over the top with your spatula, then sprinkle the remaining rhubarb over top.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing into squares. Best enjoyed same day, as the meringue won’t keep well over the long term.

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