Guys, I’ve used up all the chocolate trying to get this recipe right. That magical crackle crust combined with a silky, fudgy brownie interior was what I was after. And Oh. My. Goodness. I finally got it right and I’m so happy to share the recipe with you! There’s plenty of recipes out there for this type of cookie with egg because the meringue is what gives the cookies that nice crackle crust but I’m loving the plant-based life so I had to put my thinking cap on. I played with the magic of aquafaba, and low and behold, plants do just as an amazing job!
What is Aquafaba?
Aquafaba is the water leftover from cooking legumes. Most often, the aquafaba from chickpeas is used as tends to give better results and is a lighter color than that of, say, black beans. Aquafaba is an excellent egg replacer and can be used to make vegan meringues, macarons, other baked goods, mayonnaise, mousse…the list goes on!
The trick to getting the most out of your aquafaba is to reduce the volume of it. First strain it through a fine mesh sieve, measure its volume and then reduce it by half by simmering it on the stove. Once cooled, it should have the consistency of egg whites. Don’t be put off by the smell while it cooks, or the color as it darkens a bit – it’ll all work out! One of the magical things about aquafaba is the way it becomes a light creamy color once it’s whipped and how the flavor is undetectable once it’s added to a recipe.
Tips for Perfect Truffle Brownie Crackle Cookies
- Chill your dough! It will be very sticky and not possible to roll the batter into balls when it’s first mixed. Covered tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for 45 minutes to an hour before scooping and baking the cookies. This is for 2 reasons: 1) it’s way easier to work with the chilled dough, and 2) your cookies won’t spread too much. Stick the dough in the fridge in between baking batches.
- Reduce your aquafaba – measure your aquafaba, simmer it in a pan and bring the volume down by half. There’s a huge variation on how thick the aquafaba is right out of the can – this variation happens between brands but also even between cans of the exact same brand. Many recipes suggest reducing aquafaba by 1/3 but I have had better results reducing the liquid by half. Simply keep a measuring cup by the stove while the aquafaba is simmering and occasionally pour it back into the measuring cup to keep an eye on how the volume is reducing. You can always add a bit of water back in. Getting the aquafaba thick enough is important so you don’t have a cookie with too much moisture but has enough density to help with the crackle.
- For aquafaba made from chickpeas cooked at home, things get a bit trickier. You may need to reduce things even more than 50% if you used a lot of water during cooking and/or you slightly under-cook your chickpeas (and so less protein makes its way into the cooking water) for falafels, for example. Under-cooked legumes means that less of the contents of the beans end up in the water, so the aquafaba will be much thinner. As long as you get an egg white thickness once the aquafaba has cooled completely, you should be good to go.
- If you use salted chickpeas, you may want to reduce the salt by half in the recipe.
- As you would with any cookie, be careful not to over bake these. Over baking will cause the cookies to lose some of the chewiness, and the bottom will become a bit crunchy. Check the cookies at 9-10 minutes.
- Strain aquafaba using a fine mesh sieve when you’re opening a can of chickpeas and freeze the aquafaba for recipes like this.
Under a classic crackle brownie crust of these vegan cookies, lies a silky smooth, super chocolatey interior. Thanks to aquafaba, we're able to get that sought after crackle without eggs! These cookies are a chocolate lovers favorite, and no one would guess they're vegan!
- 1/3 cup refined coconut oil
- 1 cup dairy-free chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips (use a chocolate you enjoy eating on it's own)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup aquafaba, reduced by 50% *see notes and blog post
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt*
- coarse or flaked salt, optional
In a small pot over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Stir in the chocolate and cocoa powder, whisking just until melted. Set aside so it can come to room temperature.
In the bowl of a stand-mixer with a bubble whisk attachment, or in a medium-sized bowl with electric beaters, beat the aquafaba until it has thickened and holds a sloped bird beak shape when the whisk is dipped into the aquafaba and lifted, about 5-8 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla, beating until well combined, another minute or so. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture, beating for another minute.
In a small bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the rest of the ingredients and beat until well blended. Place the batter in the fridge for 45 minutes to let it firm up a bit and not be sticky. It will not be like regular cookie dough, but will resemble very thick chocolate fudge.
To form the cookies, take 2 tbsp worth of dough (use a cookie scoop if you have one), and roll into a ball. Place the balls on the cookie tray leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Using a measuring cup or the palm of your hand, press down each ball until it is about 1/2" thick (they will spread during baking). Sprinkle lightly with flaked salt, if desired.
Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes, checking at 9 minutes to make sure you aren't over baking them. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie tray before moving to a cooling rack (they will be fragile when they first come out of the oven.) Enjoy!
*Aquafaba is the strained liquid chickpeas are cooked in. For this recipe, I used aquafaba from canned chickpeas; aquafaba from chickpeas cooked at home may give different results. Measure 1 cup aquafaba into a small pot over low heat. Bring to a simmer until it measures 1/2 cup (have a measuring cup by the stove to pour it into) then cool to room temperature.
**Use 1/4 tsp salt if you plan to sprinkle the cookies with salt. Use 1/2 tsp salt if you don't want to sprinkle the cookies with additional salt.