Just because you’re a vegan, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the finer pleasures in life!
Going vegan is becoming so much easier as more and more people discover the health, ethical and environmental benefits of living this way. Mon Dessert is embracing veganism this week and claims that when it comes to French Patisserie, there’s no need to compromise on quality and taste!
Recipes for macarons - the famously delicious French classic - can be easily adapted to be gluten-free and dairy-free by substituting egg whites for Aquafaba (the cooking liquid of beans and other legumes like chickpeas). So if you’re in a baking mood, give this recipe for decadent dark chocolate & almond macarons a try.
Macaron Shells (makes approximately 30-40 macarons)
Approximately 150 grams aquafaba
90 grams ground almonds
135 grams gluten-free icing sugar (with no added flour)
50 grams caster sugar
5g gluten-free vegan cocoa powder such as Green & Blacks
Dark Chocolate & Almond Ganache
120ml almond milk
80g cup powdered sugar
200g or more non-dairy semi sweet chocolate like dark Green & Blacks
½ tsp almond extract
80g almond butter
Piping Bags with a plain round tip attached
Mon Dessert silicone baking mat/baking paper with 3.5 diameter circle templates underneath
1) The night before you want to make your Macarons, prepare your Aquafaba. In a small saucepan, bring 150 grams of Aquafaba to a simmer. Let this simmer away until it has reduced to 75 grams of Aquafaba. (I pour it out and weigh it on a kitchen scale a few times in-between to check). Once it has reached 75 grams, pour it into a bowl to cool and then refrigerate overnight.
2) Macaron Shells: Sieve your icing sugar into a bowl. With your almond powder check there are no lumps and extra course bits. You want smooth fine powders. Mix these and set aside.
3) With a stand mixer fitted on a clean bowl and with clean beaters, whisk your Aquafaba and caster sugar on low for a couple of minutes, then medium and then high. You should end up with very firm stiff peaks.
4) Tip in your almond/icing sugar mixture into the meringue and fold using a spatula until it has incorporated with the meringue. You don't have to be too gentle with this, but you don't want to go crazy either. You want all the powder incorporated with no sneaky dry bits!
5) After 30 turns, take a teaspoon of the mixture out and drop it back for it to be incorporated back in. If this takes about 20 seconds you have the right consistency. The consistency should be like lava or treacle. Do not over-mix or your batter will be too runny and difficult to pipe. You’ll also end up with flat macarons. If you under-mix the macarons will not be smooth and look lumpy and misshapen!
6) Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle with macaron mixture and pipe into 3.5-4cm rounds (using the template underneath as a guide) on baking paper on a lined mat. This recipe makes enough to make 70 individual macaron shells, so you may need to have a few trays ready.
USE THE FREE TEMPLATE PROVIDED BY CLICKING ON THE BUTTON BELOW. OR TO MAKE IT EVEN EASIER USE THE SILICONE BAKING MATS PROVIDED IN THE MON DESSERT MACARON MAKING KITS. LEARN MORE HERE
7) Once piped, slam the tray down on your kitchen counter several times to eliminate any air bubbles in your piped macaron mixture. Leave your trays to rest in a cool area for 30min -1hr. They are ready to bake when they have turned matt and you are able to gently touch the surface of the shells without anything sticking to your finger.
8) Preheat oven to 125 degrees Celsius. Bake each tray of macarons individually for 20-30 minutes. If you are using a silicone mat the baking can be a little longer. It's all about trial and error with your specific oven! Do not be afraid to put them back in the oven if they are not done. They should have feet and come off relatively easily from the mat.
9) If they still do not come off after 30 minutes, leave the macarons to dry out and turn off your hot oven for a further 15 minutes. Then peel off the macarons slowly and let them dry upside down.
10) Filling: Make this the day before or while your macarons are baking. Heat the non-dairy milk + sugar in a pan over medium heat until it is just about hot. Mix well! Add in the chocolate, mix once and take the pan off heat. Keep mixing until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
11) Add in the vanilla and almond butter or other nut butter. Mix until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes to thicken to desired consistency.
12) Pour into a piping bag with round nozzle*
13) To fill, pipe a 1.5cm blob of ganache onto the underside of a shell. Sandwich with another matching macaron shell and repeat the process until all your shells have been sandwiched.
14) Place macarons into a box and leave in the fridge for ideally 1-3 days to mature and absorb the filling flavours and become really moist. But don’t worry if you can’t resist eating them straight away I often can’t! You could always eat a couple and save the rest to mature…
*All ingredients are weighed in grams for consistency - use an electronic kitchen scale to weigh out ingredients.
* Use a tall glass to prop up your piping bag, this way they will be easier to fill.
* Use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is at the right temperature and check for hot spots.
* Macarons are best served at room temperature or 20 minutes out of the refrigerator.