These amazing Almond Meringues contain no eggs! This brand new recipe is from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Austin Chefs Chad and Derek Sarno. You can put your own flavor spin on these -- we love their suggestions for making them raspberry and lemon-flavored.
Strain the chickpea liquid into the bowl of an electric mixer. You should have about ½ cup. (Use the chickpeas for something else such as the Four-Bean and Sweet Potato Slow-Cooker Chili on page 166).
Add the cream of tartar to the bowl and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until the mixture increases in volume and stiffens a bit, 4 to 6 minutes.
Reduce the speed to medium high and gradually add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Blend about 4 minutes more, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The meringue is done when it holds its shape as the whip attachment is lifted. You should also be able to hold the bowl upside down without the meringue falling out. Continue whipping until you can do that. Otherwise, the meringue will not hold its shape when cooked.
Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Make the meringue until it is fully whipped. Whip the almond extract and vanilla seeds into the meringue.
Spoon the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Or use a zipper-lock bag and cut off a corner. If your parchment is curling up from the baking sheets, dollop a little meringue under each corner to secure it. Pipe cookies into pointy mounds about 1½ inches in diameter. They should look like big Hershey’s kisses. You need only about ½ inch space between cookies because they won’t expand much during baking. Sprinkle the ground almonds, if using, evenly over the cookies.
Bake until the cookies look dry and off-white in color, 2 hours. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking for even heating. Cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in well-sealed containers. Humidity and moisture will make the cookies sticky, so store them in a cool, dry cupboard.
To make semi-fine sugar, grind it in a food processor or Vitamix for 10 to 15 seconds.
RASPBERRY MERINGUE COOKIES: When making the meringue, add 1/3 cup powdered freeze-dried raspberries (buzzed in a clean spice grinder) along with the sugar. Omit the vanilla and almonds, and substitute raspberry extract for the almond extract.
LEMON MERINGUE COOKIES: When making the meringue, add 2 tablespoons lemon peel powder (buzz the dried lemon peel in a clean spice grinder) along with the sugar. Omit the vanilla and almonds, and substitute lemon extract for the almond extract.
CANDY CANE MERINGUE COOKIES: When making the meringue, reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons and add 3 to 4 tablespoons crushed candy canes along with the sugar while whipping. Omit the vanilla and almonds, and substitute 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or a few drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil for the almond extract.