These cookies are so freaking good. Coconutty with hints of almond. A great chewy but delicate, melt-in-your mouth texture. The perfect level of sweetness. And dipped chocolatey perfection. A little trip to paradise with each cookie. They are accidentally gluten free, and magically vegan. Well, it’s not really magic. It just required a secret ingredient…
A friend asked me about a week ago about making vegan macaroons for Passover. I first looked up my favorite (and previous to this, only) coconut macaroon recipe, only to realize they are nowhere near being Passover friendly! They contain flour, tofu (which, depending on what rules you follow, might not be allowed), and a leavener. All of these ingredients had to go.
I went to the drawing board, and researched how traditional macaroons are made. I found recipes of whipped egg white, condensed milk, and shredded coconut. This is not an easy thing to veganize. The cookies depend on the egg white to provide leavening, by means of trapped air, and also to bind, as the protein structure of the egg sets when baked and provides the hold. No one vegan egg replacer can do that alone, especially when you take Passover rules into account.
I turned to the best vegan egg white whipping agent around, the starchy and protein filled liquid that comes from a can of beans. Named aquafaba by one of the early experimenters, this goopy liquid whips into a thick foam similar to egg whites. It doesn’t behave exactly the same way, however, and one significant difference is that it won’t bake into a protein structure the way that egg whites do. For the macaroon recipe, the best I could really hope for was for whipped aquafaba to provide non-chemical leavening, so that the cookies would not be overly dense.
Condensed milk was the second ingredient I had to replace, and for this a simple syrupy coconut milk can be used. Coconut milk simmered with sugar for about half and hour turns into a viscous, sticky liquid. This stickiness would help bind the cookies. On it’s own, however, I found it resulted in a delicate cookie, so I added almond flour to the mixture. This gives a little extra for the condensed coconut milk to stick together, and makes the cookies easier to handle. The almond flavor is boosted with a little almond extract, which can be omitted, but my family likes the extra sweet, nuttiness it brings to the macaroons. We extra-love these cookies when they are dipped in chocolate, but that additional step is up to you. It does look super impressive though.
Now, onto the recipe and method! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, or make these cookies, or tag me on Instagram!
- For the condensed coconut milk, you could probably substitute a raw or less processed sugar, such as turbinado or coconut sugar, but I did not get a chance to test this.
- I recommend using the liquid from chickpeas, as this has been found to be the most consistent and “strongest” aquafaba. But if you want to try this with the liquid from a can of light colored beans, go ahead. If it doesn’t whip up into a thick foam, then don’t use it and grab a back up can of chickpeas!
- When separating the liquid from the can of beans, first shake the can to loosen and distribute the starches that settle on the bottom.
- For whipping your aquafaba into stiff peaks, follow this very helpful video by Zsu Dever.
- Here’s a nice visual also by Zsu Dever of how to fold whipped aquafaba into your coconut almond mixture.
*condensed coconut milk is lightly adapted from a Fran Costigan recipe *amount from one can chickpeas, shake the can of chickpeas before draining the aquafaba to loosen the starches that settle at the bottom
For the condensed coconut milk*
For the whipped aquafaba
For the macaroons
For the chocolate dip
To make the condensed coconut milk
To make the whipped aquafaba
To make the coconut meringues
For chocolate bottomed macaroons
*condensed coconut milk is lightly adapted from a Fran Costigan recipe
*amount from one can chickpeas, shake the can of chickpeas before draining the aquafaba to loosen the starches that settle at the bottom