These little cookies melt in your mouth like a peanut-butter cup meringue. This winning recipe started as a failed recipe for chocolate meringues. Cocoa caused the peaked meringues to sink into disks while baking. The disks looked pretty sad on their own, but make perfect tops and bottoms for sandwich cookies. The combination of salty, creamy peanut butter with crisp, airy cocoa meringue makes for a dessert everyone will ask for. Get the recipe below.
Active time: 30 minutes. Total time: 2 hours. Makes about 30 cookies.
- 1/2 cup home-made aquafaba from dried black beans or liquid from a BPA-free can of organic chickpeas, chilled
- 2/3 cup sugar (133 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- Heat oven to 250°F with racks in the center positions. Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Put strained and chilled aquafaba into a mixing bowl and whip on high using a whisk attachment if you have one until stiff peaks form. This will take about 6 minutes with rich home-made aquafaba and up to 15 minutes with thinner aquafaba. It looks crazy, but I wear hearing-protection earmuffs while the mixer is running at high speed. Use them if you have them.
- Add sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue whisking. Add vanilla and whisk until combined. Taste the fluff (it's safe -- no eggs!). If you feel any grittiness, whisk more. Gently whisk in cocoa powder just until color is even. The more you whisk, the more volume will be lost.
- Drop globs of cocoa aquafaba on the cookie sheets. I get the right size from with a dining teaspoon. They may spread a little, so leave an inch between blobs.
- If you have a convection oven, bake at 225°F for 68 minutes using the convection setting. Otherwise, bake at 250°F for 90 minutes, rotating cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back after an hour. Meringues will become hard, with small bubbles on the outside. Turn off oven, crack the door, and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Use a thin metal spatula to remove meringue disks from cookie sheets to an air-tight container unless serving immediately. Just before serving, take two disks of approximately the same size, spread the bottom of one with a little peanut butter, and press it gently to the bottom of another one. If some of bottoms have bubbles or tears in them, don't worry. Just spread of peanut butter thinly without letting it fill up the airy space inside the disks. Repeat with remaining disks.
- Serve immediately. The disks will keep in an air-tight container for months in very dry climates and for at least a few days here in humid North Carolina.
- You can also use a pastry bag or a heavy plastic bag with a corner cut off to pipe numbers, letters, and shapes. Here's the "2016" I did for a New Year's Day party. Pipe fragil forms onto silicone baking mats for easy removal.
- This recipe was inspired by the original vegan meringue recipe by Goose Wohlt. He bakes them at 100°C/250°F. I started with a variation by someone else (sorry, I've lost that link) and have had good success with the higher temperature in a convection oven.
- If you are cooking for someone with allergy issues, try using sunflower-seed butter instead of peanut butter. Jam filling was too sweet and bland for me and even for my sweet-toothed Taster.
- Of course, you don't have to fill them. Try a disk on its own to see what you think.
- I use a stand mixer, but you could use a hand mixer or even a hand whisk if you have patience and strong arms. That's how the bakers for Marie Antoinette did it and possibly even Marie herself.