I LOVE macarons. They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The filling is rich and decadent. Each bite is like a mini vacation to Paris. 🥰 I’ve also been a bit enthralled lately with finding vegan alternatives to my favorite recipes. So on my journey to becoming more plant-based, I set out to learn how to develop a vegan recipe from an egg-based classic. Join me in recalling the failures and successes to create a vegan macaron! And we’ll also explore how to turn nearly any of your favorite recipes into a vegan-friendly version.
Attempt No. 1 at Vegan Cookie Dough Macarons
As you can see below, these macarons came out of the oven with holes through their tops! There was a LOT that went wrong with this first attempt. Let’s take a little stroll through memory lane to see what caused this monstrous mayhem.
I didn’t know the proper amount of cream of tartar to add to the aquafaba, so I just guessed it’d take about two teaspoons. That was a wrong guess. 😅 Cream of tartar helps stabilize the whipped aquafaba. As the macarons sit out to dry and then bake in the oven, cream of tartar helps the cookies maintain their shape and rise in the oven. However, it also is acidic. So using too much cream of tartar gave my macarons a weird and unpleasant lemon taste… 🍋
This first batch of macarons rose beautifully in the oven. You can see the “feet” on the bottom of each cookie, meaning they rose quite a bit. But sprinkling chopped chocolate chips on top before baking them was a big no-no. I thought the chocolate would give these pastries a cute aesthetic, but the weight of the chocolate tore holes through the tops of each cookie…
Wrong Cookie Dough
In addition to the wrong flavor and the wrong texture of the macaron cookie shells, the cookie dough filling was all wrong. The recipe I followed for vegan chickpea cookie dough is made with a mashed banana. On its own or topped onto a rich and fudgy brownie, it’s delicious. But it was too squishy and when I took the first bite, all the filling slopped out of the macaron sandwich. Hence, it was back to the drawing board.
Attempt No. 2 at Vegan Cookie Dough Macarons
Right off the bat, this second attempt gave me hope that I was on the right track! The color and taste of the macaron cookies was perfect. But the texture was still off, since these came out of the oven as thin as crackers.
I decided after my first attempt to make the macarons chocolate-flavored. I added cocoa powder in this second batch, making them sweet, chocolatey and delicious. This gave a gorgeous color contrast between the macaron cookie shells and the cookie dough filling. It also meant I didn’t need to add chocolate pieces on top, preventing holes and cave-ins on my cookies. 🍫
And to make sure my macarons didn’t taste acidic, I decreased the amount of cream of tartar from 2 teaspoons to ½ teaspoon.
When learning how to develop a vegan recipe, it’s important to not just look at what went wrong but dive into how to fix it. To prevent the giant holes, I refrained from adding the chocolate pieces on top. However, they didn’t rise at all in the oven, and actually flattened to become sweet chocolatey chips or crisps.
I think over-compensated from the first batch to the second with the meringue. I used far too much aquafaba and the meringue batter was too liquidy. After piping out the batter onto baking sheets, I set them out for nearly a whole day and they still weren’t completely dry! Batter that is too thin and macarons that sit out too long can result in flat macarons.
When life gives you flat macarons though, you dip them in the vegan cookie dough and make the most out of it. 💘
Right Cookie Dough
On a positive note, the vegan chickpea cookie dough was on point this time! The flavor was perfect and the texture was soft and creamy, but firm enough to keeps the macaron sandwich’s shape with each bite. I left out the mashed banana and added some brown sugar for a chewier, firmer texture.
Attempt No. 3 at Vegan Cookie Dough Macarons
Voila! Eureka! Success! Sound the alarm! Light off the fireworks! Throw the confetti in the air! 🎊🎆
The third batch turned out amazing! The macaron cookies were rich, chocolatey, light and airy. I dare say, these were gone in less than a day, because they were irresistibly decadent! The cookie dough added a creamy luxurious texture to each bite. And it held its sandwich form at all angles. 💙
Right Flavor and Right Texture
I used the same quantities of dry ingredients (almond flour, cocoa powder, powder sugar, etc.) in the macaron batter as the second batch. But I decreased the amount of aquafaba to prevent them from being too runny and taking too long to dry out. The perfect balance of dry ingredients to the wet and fluffy aquafaba meringue is critical to perfecting your vegan macaron texture.
These third batch of macarons were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with perfect feet. I’m telling you, I almost cried tears of aquafaba when I pulled these out of the oven. The tops were smooth and unblemished. The insides weren’t too hollow. The texture was perfect, just like egg-based macarons.
The recipe here is from my third batch of vegan cookie dough macarons, which I am deeming a triumphant success. Let me know if you bake these delicious vegan French macarons, or if you veganize your own classic recipe! 😋
How to Develop Your Own Vegan Recipe
Hopefully this journey through my arduous quest of learning how to develop a vegan recipe for macarons was helpful – or at least entertaining! The key to developing a recipe is never 👏 give 👏 up 👏.
I suggest to do some research first on what the non-plant-based ingredients in your recipe do. For example, the egg whites in macarons provide lift and an airy texture. Aquafaba is the best alternative because it performs the same function when whipped into a vegan meringue. Also, the egg whites don’t provide much flavor, and since aquafaba also has a neutral flavor, the replacement makes sense in vegan macarons.
Then you just have to play around with the quantity and ratio of ingredients until you perfect your dish.
I also recommend taking notes and writing down every quantity of ingredient you use in each batch. This helps you look back at your notes and find what could be adjusted. It also provides a record of your trials, so you can avoid making the same mistake twice.
Above all, have fun! It’s a learning experiment that you can eat (hopefully!) Just like when my second batch turned into macaron chips, I didn’t toss them in the trash bin. I just dipped them into the cookie dough like dessert-style nachos! Which, is something I’d recreate on purpose. 😉