These are like your classic Italian bakery cookies, full of sweet, nutty flavor, with a crunchy exterior yielding to dreamily chewy interior. The secret ingredient is aquafaba. Huh? The Latin translation is bean water. Chickpea cooking liquid is a brilliant vegan egg replacer and a great use of a byproduct we usually throw out. Vegan chefs have been using this viscous bean brine to whip up frothy meringues and airy mousses. These quick and easy cookies contain only a scant amount of aquafaba and taste not at all of bean.
This recipe comes to us from Jewish Veg member Ellen Kanner, the Edgy Veggie. Her Website is The Soulful Vegan.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment or a silpat.
In a food processor, pulse the almonds with sugar until ground fine. Add aquafaba, almond extract, vanilla and pinch of sea salt and pulse until mixture is the color and texture of damp sand — about a minute.
Roll mixture into balls about the size of a walnut and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
Using the back of a spoon, gently flatten cookies slightly. Lightly press a blanched almond or maraschino cherry onto the top of each cookie.
Bake macaroons in middle of oven 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. The cookies soften as they age.
To blanch almonds, pour whole raw almonds into a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 15 minutes, then drain. Rub the almonds between your fingers. Their skins will slip off, leaving you perfect, bare nut kernels.