Earl Grey & Lemon Vegan French Macaroons (Gluten Free)
These macaroons are light and fluffy – and taste like a happy tea party!
Liquid from one 15 oz can of chickpeas; chickpeas saved for another use
1/2 c. organic cane sugar
1 c. almond flour, like Bob’s Red Mill
1/2 c. vegan powdered sugar
1/8 c. loose early grey tea, about 6-7 tea bags
1 tsp. vanilla infused bourbon, plus more as needed
In a small saucepan, bring your chickpea liquid to a boil. When it boils, lower the heat slightly and allow it to simmer/reduce for 10 solid minutes – set a timer! This boiling liquid will smell weird, FYI. You want it to reduce to about 1/3 cup.
While that’s reducing, combine the almond flour, powdered sugar, and tea leaves in the food processor. Pulse to combine and run it for a minute or two.
Transfer the powdery mix to the sifter and sift. Some macaroon recipes I’ve used say to sift three times. I only sifted this recipe once. Discard any large chunks that won’t go through the sifter.
Measure out your cane sugar. Set it aside.
Once your chickpea liquid has reduced, pour it into your stand mixer bowl and attach your whisk. Turn the mixer on to a medium-high setting (about a 5-6 setting) and whisk for 2 solid minutes – set a timer! The mixture should get frothy and foamy.
Add your cane sugar. Beat the mixture on high for 5 minutes – again, set a timer! This is the stage where the true magic happens. It’s amazing to watch! When you’re finished, the mixture should look like a meringue with stiff, glossy peaks. After, add your teaspoon of vanilla and beat on high for 1 more minute.
When your meringue is done, fold in the sifted mixture in thirds. (Pour one-third in and fold. Repeat.) At this stage, I found that my batter was a little dry. I added another teaspoon or two of vanilla to the batter. You want it to be a thick, firm batter; but you also want it to be a little shiny. Someone likened it to lava flowing slowly down a mountain, but I’m not sure what sense that makes. This is the stage that you just have to get the knack for. This is why macaroon-making is challenging!
Load the batter into your piping bag with a spatula. Snip a hole, about a half-inch from the end of the bag. If hold the bag upright at a 90 degree angle, the batter should drip out slowly, most likely in small blobs. If it’s runny, you have a problem. If it’s stiff and not moving without help, you have a different problem! This takes finesse.
Pipe cookies the size of a quarter/half dollar onto your Silpat mats. One thing I will recommend – doubling your baking sheets. I’ve read this in numerous macaroon-making articles. It keeps the bottoms from burning. Repeat piping the batter until you run out of batter – or room.
When you’re done piping, smack the cookie sheets on the counter a few times. You want to get the macaroons to smooth out and release any air bubbles inside. Whack them – don’t be afraid to hurt them. My macaroons started with small peaks but once I smacked them a few times, the tops became smoother. That’s how you know the batter is good.
Allow the macaroons to dry on the counter for 45 minutes to 1 hour. They should be dry to the lightest touch – don’t poke them, haha.
As the drying time winds down, preheat the oven to 205° F.
Bake the macaroons for 30 minutes. When the 30 minutes have elapsed, turn the oven off and let the cookies sit in the closed oven for 15 minutes. After those 15 minutes have elapsed, open the oven door and let them cool for another 15 minutes before removing them from the oven.
For the icing
2 T. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
2 1/3 c. vegan powdered sugar
1 T. lemon extract, or more vanilla
a few T. almond milk, as needed
Combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and use a spatula to combine. If you need a little more liquid to get the icing together, add a little almond milk to the mix, about a tablespoon at a time.
Using another piping bag, gently pipe the icing onto one side of a macaroon. Grab another macaroon and sandwich them together. (I like to call it the reverse Oreo method. You know, when you were a kid and you “unscrewed” the Oreo cookies? Well, twist the macaroons to make them go together!) If you have some leftover, save it in the freezer for another use!
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