Snowman Meringue Cookies (Vegan & Gluten-free)
Airy and crisp, these vegan snowman meringues are super easy to make, and you’ll need less than 6 ingredients. These festive meringue cookies are delicious on their own or you can use them to decorate other desserts.
If you’re craving some sweet and crispy meringues, but you’re vegan or allergic to eggs, you must try this recipe! These meringues are made with just a few basic ingredients, most of which you probably already have at home, and you’ll be surprised just how easy they are to make. To make this recipe even more festive, I’ve shaped and decorated the meringues like little snowmen, but you can shape and decorate them however you wish.
How does vegan meringue taste?
The result of this recipe is the same as egg meringues, with a crispy and airy texture and deliciously sweet taste. You might feel a little sceptical when using chickpea brine because of the strong chickpea smell, but I assure you that once the meringues have baked, they won’t taste or smell like chickpeas.
What is Aquafaba?
If you’ve canned legumes in your cooking, you will have already come across aquafaba. Aquafaba is basically the viscous water in which legumes such as chickpeas and cannellini beans have been cooked. Over the last few years, this amazing liquid has found its way into vegan cooking as its properties make it the perfect plant-based replacement for egg whites. Meringues are made by beating the egg whites until the the protein breaks, binds with air, and transforms into a thick foam, and aquafaba's foaming properties are the same.
What type of aquafaba is best of making meringues?
The best aquafaba for making meringues is chickpea brine. You can use canned chickpeas, chickpeas in glass jars, or chickpeas in a carton box, whichever one you use, make sure that the water is not salted. The consistency for chickpea brine varies quite a bit, so if you find your chickpea brine is looking a little too watery, you need to reduce it to get rid of the excess water content and to concentrate the protein. I’d recommend doing this the night before and then storing it in the fridge.
How to store vegan meringues
Just like traditional meringues, vegan meringues have a tendency to attract water. This is a problem when storing meringues as they'll get soft and sticky rather quickly when exposed to the wrong environment. For a crispy texture, it’s best to eat your meringues on the same day or the following day. The best way to store them is to keep them away from humidity and to place them in an airtight container once they’ve cooled down completely.
Can these meringues be frozen?
They cannot be frozen as the meringues will melt in the freezer, However, you can whip the meringue mixture a few hours in advance and then store the mixture in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.
Vegan Snowman Meringue Ingredients:
Here’s everything you’ll need for this recipe – consider it your shopping list!
Chickpea brine (aquafaba) - The best aquafaba for making meringues is chickpea brine. You can use canned chickpeas, chickpeas in glass jars, or chickpeas in a carton box, whichever one you use, make sure that the water is not salted. The consistency for chickpea brine varies quite a bit, so if you find your chickpea brine is looking a little too watery, you may need to reduce it to get rid of the excess water content and to concentrate the protein. I’d recommend doing this the night before and then storing it in the fridge.
Sugar - You can use either granulated sugar or caster sugar. Sweeteners and syrups will not work in this recipe as they will not stabilize the meringues in the same way.
Cream of tartar – Cream of tartar stabilizes the tiny bubbles in the aquafaba, and it speeds up the whipping process and contributes to a stable, crispy meringue.
Vinegar - I’ve used white wine vinegar, but any colourless vinegar will do.
Optional decorations - I’ve used a combination of red, white, and black vegan fondant and black food colouring to assemble and decorate the snowman meringues, but you can use whatever you have at hand to decorate them.
How to make Vegan Snowman Meringues
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the chickpea liquid into a large mixing bowl and using a hand mixer, whip until it becomes foamy.
Add the cream of tartar and white wine vinegar into the bowl and continue to whip until white peaks start to form. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time while whipping at a medium speed. Keep whipping until glossy stiff peaks form.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pipe the meringue mixture into onto the parchment lined tray to create 20 oval shapes to create the body of the snowmen and 20 smaller meringue rounds to create the heads. (It’s a good idea to create more meringues than you need as not all of them will bake perfectly). Alternatively you can spoon to shape the meringues, but piping is much easier.
Place into the oven and bake at 180°C for 5-7 minutes, then lower the heat to 120°C and bake for another 50 minutes. After 1 hour, switch off the oven but don’t open it as this can cause the meringues to crack. Leave the meringues to cool down completely inside the oven, for at least an hour.
Once the meringues have cooled down completely, remove them from the oven. Use some white fondant of cake decorating glue to stick the head of the snowman onto the body (be gentle as the meringue is quite fragile) and decorate the meringue cookies by using black food colouring to paint on eyes, buttons, and a nose, or you can use coloured fondant to create more detailed decorations. Store the meringues in an airtight container away from heat and humidity.
Electric hand mixer or stand mixer – you’ll need either of these to whisk the aquafaba until stiff peaks form.
Mesh sieve – you’ll need this to drain the aquafaba from the chickpeas and to prevent any chickpea pieces from ending up in your meringues.
Large bowl – make sure there is no residual oil in the bowl as it may affect the way the aquafaba whips.
Baking sheet with baking paper to cook the meringue
Notes and Tips
Try to avoid making meringues in a humid environment. Meringues contain high quantities of sugar and sugar tends to attracts and retain moisture easily. In humid weather a meringue can turn soft and sticky fairly quickly.
Leave the meringues to cool down in the oven once you’ve switched it off. This is crucial as a sudden change in temperature can cause the meringues to crack.
Whip the meringues until you can hold the bowl upside down without the meringue peaks falling out.
Meringues cook best at a low temperature, so don’t feel tempted to increase the temperature when baking as this may cause the meringues to sink or crack.
Add the sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to whip the mixture. This way, we prevent the aquafaba foam from collapsing.
Just like traditional meringues, vegan meringues have a tendency to attract water. This is a problem when storing meringues cause they'll quickly get soft and sticky. For a crispy texture, It’s best to eat your meringues on the same day or the following day. The best way to store them is to keep them away from humidity and to place them in an airtight container once they’ve cooled down completely.