Recipe: Eggless Cinnamon Macarons with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Macarons. Something I used to eat often and have been hoping to find a vegan version of. For week 8 of the 52 Weeks of Baking sub on Reddit the challenge was gluten free. In the challenge intro there was a link to a classic french macaron recipe and I decided to Google “vegan macaron recipe” and I was surprised to actually find something. A test of the recipe I found was Attempt 1. This attempt did not go well.

2 weeks later and it’s time for the first Cake Liberation Front picnic of the year which also happened to coincide with the french challenge on the 52 Weeks of Vegan Cooking sub so I decided to try again. Attempt 2 went much better.

Attempt 1.

This recipe was problematic. I basically ended up with a sticky almond paste that was unusable. See below.

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The failed mix

The reason for this is simple. The recipe asked for what amounts to 4 1/2 cups of dry ingredients to be added to the equivalent of 3 eggs; a normal macaron recipe only has 1 1/2 + 2/3 cups of dry ingredient.

Attempt 2.

I used the recipe that was linked on the 52 Weeks of Baking intro and altered it to vegan.

Ingredients: Macaron.

Note: This recipe is not perfect and while it tasted quite good, it still needs a little work. See my Verdict at the end for more information.

1/4 Cup of Powdered Egg Replacer (I used Organ No Egg).
1/2 a Cup + 2 Tablespoons of Water.
2/3 Cup of Almond Meal (also known as Almond Flour).
1 1/2 Cups of Icing Sugar (also known as Powdered Sugar or Confectioners Sugar).
5 Tablespoons of Caster Sugar (Granulated Sugar).
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon Powder.

Method:

Preheat oven to 140C (280F). Line baking tray(s) with baking paper and if you can be bothered draw circles on the back of the paper as guides for your piping. Circles should be about 1 inch and 1/2 inch apart.

Sift the Almond Meal and Icing Sugar into a bowl and combine. If your Almond Meal coarse you may need to put it through a food processor first.

Place Egg Replacer and Water into mixer with whisk attachment (beaters are also fine) and turn onto fastest setting, you may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. When the mix starts to get frothy add the Caster Sugar on tablespoon at a time.

The mixture should expand and when it looks like the picture below slow the mixer to the lowest setting and add the Vanilla Extract and Cinnamon Powder.

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The “egg” mix

Add  half the Almond Meal and Icing Sugar mixture and when combined add the rest.

Remove the bowl from the mixture and combine any remaining mixture. Be careful not to work the mixture too much as you want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

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Put the mixture into a piping bag (if you don’t have one use a sandwich bag and cut off the corner once filled). Pipe 1 inch circles onto the baking paper.

Lightly tap the tray on the bench to break up any larger air bubbles. With a traditional macaron mixture you are meant to let the trays sit for 15+ minutes until the mixture is no longer sticky to the touch and has formed a skin. I have no idea if this would even work/matter with the eggless mix but I did it anyway.

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Place trays in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. After the first 2 minutes open the over to release any steam.

With mine it took nearly double the time to cook the macarons; this may be because the mixture was wetter than it should have been or the fact that the oven is weird and I don’t entirely know how to use it or because my piping was terrible (in my defense it was my first time using a piping bag). Probably all three.

The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Take care to not underbake (insides will still be mushy) or overbake (tops will begin to brown).

Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.

Ingredients: Salted Caramel Buttercream.

1 Cup of Vegan Margarine (I used Nuttalex), at room temperature.
1/3 Cup of Salted Caramel Sauce, at cool room temperature.
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.
1 1/2 Cups of Icing Sugar (also known as Powdered Sugar or Confectioners Sugar).
Salt to taste.

Method:

Clean your mixing bowl and attach the scraper (again a beater is also fine).

Beat the Margarine on a medium speed for 1 minute.

Add Salted Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Extract and beat on medium for 2 minutes.

Add Icing Sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Increase speed to medium, mix for 2 or 3 minutes until smooth.

Taste and add Salt if needed. (I forgot to taste and just added the salt).

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Note: this make a LOT of buttercream, way more than you need for the macarons. Fortunately you can freeze it.

When the macarons are cooled pick 2 of equal size, spread or pipe some buttercream on the bottom of one and stick them together, Repeat as until you have no more macarons.

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Verdict: The macaron were overly sweet and the butter cream was a bit too salty but together they worked. The macarons had the right chewy texture, but they were not quite correct, they cracked easily and had hollow bits. As I mentioned before they also took longer to cook as they were quite wet.

I think that the ratio of Egg Replacer to Water was correct, but there was too much in comparison to the Icing Sugar and Almond Meal mixture. Now you could use less Egg Replacer and Water (keeping the same ratio) however as I mentioned the macaron was too sweet so I would alter the Icing Sugar and Almond Meal mixture by adding more Almond Meal.

Lastly the Cinnamon flavor was strong when raw but less noticeable when baked.

I took the finished macarons to the Cake Liberation Front picnic (and a few for a friend who is always stuck at work on picnic days) and they were very well received,

Recipe: Cauliflower Bread

So I’ve decided to add to my cooking by taking on some more challenges via reddit. This weeks challenge on the 52 Weeks of Baking subreddit is bread. I’ve made a few breads in my time with some success and I was originally just going to attempt focaccia, which is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, but the something turned up in my facebook feed. A recipe for Cauliflower Bread from Coach Shannon Lee’s page. The recipe was attached to a request from a fellow vegan to veganize the recipe so I decided to try it out.

Ingredients:

1 Head of Cauliflower.
1/2 a Cup of Vegan Cheeze. I used Scheese Gouda Style.
1/4 of a Cup of Silken Tofu, drained and pressed. I used 1/2 a Cup but I think it was too much.
1 Teaspoon of Dried Parsley or Oregano or Basil. I used Oregano.
2 Cloves of Garlc, minced.
1 Tablespoon of Nutritional (Saboury) Yeast (optional).
Onion Powder, Salt and Pepper to taste.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 230C (450F).

Steam the Cauliflower florets and stems (not the core) until soft.

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The cauliflower – pre cooking

Combine the other ingredients in a bowl.

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The other ingredients

Press the cooked Cauliflower in a tea towel / cloth to remove as much water as possible.

Put Cauliflower in a food processor and process until it is a mashed potato consistency.

Combine Cauliflower with other ingredients, then place mixture evenly on a large greased tray.

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In the oven

Baked for 15 – 20 minutes until the top begins to brown. This too nearly 40 minutes for me as a) I think my mixture was too wet and b) I have no idea how the use the fancy convection oven in my new place.

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Out of the oven

Cut up and enjoy.

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On the plate

Verdict: Quite simple despite the fact that I don’t have a proper food processor and I have to steam the Cauliflower in the microwave. My mix was too wet so next time I will try and remove more water from the Cauliflower and add less tofu. I also over did it with the Pepper and the Onion Powder so my finished product has a very strong flavor. Other than that it’s a good recipe. I was concerned that the Cauliflower would make it too sweet but I was wrong. It tastes nice though I’m not sure this is actually a bread.