The assortment of cookies to savor for your next snack is pleasing, but there’s nothing quite like the macaroon. Even if you’ve had an indulgent meal, you could still make room for a macaroon! Yet, you may find yourself halting before picking some up, owing to a critical question- are macaroons vegan?
The classic recipe for making macaroons demands egg whites and, more recently, sweetened condensed milk. Don’t let this fact disappoint your tastebuds, though, because you can also find them in vegan form.
These cookies have an appeal of their own with a rich flavor and unmissable profile. It’s understandable to crave them, but you must watch out for those that use non-vegan recipes.
Vegan macaroons may not be very common in the typical market right now, but they are not entirely missing. Besides that, you could bake a batch of your vegan macaroons with the correct substitute ingredients. If you hear your appetite calling out for some macaroons, read on below to make a safe decision.
Macaroon Ingredients and Their Vegan Substitutes
Everyone has their preferences of taste and feel, so macaroon compositions or recipes may differ. Macaroons come in various flavors and colors today, but the essence of this dessert is present in the ingredients below:
- Shredded coconut
- Almond meal
- Vanilla extract
- Egg whites
- Condensed milk
What Can You Do About Egg Whites?
The traditional recipe for making macaroons asks for ingredients based on animal products. These are egg whites and condensed milk. It is because macaroons are meringue-based dessert cookies, a technique that requires egg whites for fluffiness.
A blend of sugar and egg whites is fundamentally what meringue is, and macaroons get their light yet dense nature from it. Many culinary experts believe there aren’t substitutes for egg whites when maintaining taste and authenticity. However, with aquafaba, there is hope for vegans.
Egg whites successfully play a role in meringue because of their high water and protein content. Aquafaba, the juice or extract from chickpeas, is a common substitute for egg whites in the typical meringue process. Like an egg, it contains high water and protein levels similar to the former.
If you plan on making macaroons, you will find aquafaba a readily available ingredient. So, it should not be a hassle to whip up a batch of vegan macaroons. On the contrary, if you are stepping out to buy ready-made macaroons, check the label to ensure that the recipe is vegan.
Even if a box or pack of macaroons claims to be vegan due to a lack of egg whites, you must check its status thoroughly. Commercially produced macaroons tend to use whatever it takes to achieve the right consistency if they avoid egg whites. Often, this means the presence of whey. When milk curdles and undergoes straining, the remaining liquid is whey. It is a byproduct of cheese manufacture and has plenty of commercial applications, but it is not vegan.
Is There a Replacement for Condensed Milk?
Most macaroon recipes involve sweetened condensed milk. It is a common ingredient that adds to the flavor and texture of dessert cookies. Even so, you can compensate for it without losing out on either if you use whole-fat coconut milk as the substitute. All you must do is blend a little sugar and evaporate a small part of the moisture content.
Coconut milk fat is bound to be rich with the characteristic flavor of coconuts to boost the vegan macaroons’ taste. You may have to regulate the amount of coconut you use in addition to this, though, to avoid overemphasis.
Toppings and Icings
Macaroons taste great by themselves but are in their best form when dipped in chocolate. It will be ideal to note the dressing ingredients if you buy macaroons with chocolate toppings or icings.
If the topping uses dark chocolate, you may not have too many problems since it generally contains 50-90% cocoa solids. Most dark chocolate varieties use cocoa butter as their only source of fat.
Cocoa butter is naturally and entirely free of eggs, dairy products, honey, or any other ingredients that come from animals. So, if the macaroons you’re eyeing involve dark chocolate, you should be good to go.
On the other hand, however, macaroons with milk chocolate toppings are not safe for vegans. As the name itself suggests, milk chocolate contains milk in one form or the other. If a pack of macaroons at the bakery is deliciously vegan at the core but uses milk chocolate topping, abandon it.
The Risk Of Cross-Contamination
Many vegans do not mind cross-contamination and expect a degree of compromise with their diet when indulging outside. It is because you can never tell how a food item undergoes production. You can also expect the same with macaroons unless you make them at home.
Even if a pack of macaroons says it is vegan, there is no way to know if there was any cross-contamination during production. It applies more to macaroons that come from commercial production houses.
According to experts, most companies do not specifically isolate their production lines when making vegan items. So, everything the company manufactures is done in one room with unchanged machines or the same staff.
If this is the circumstance and there is no production separation, there is a vast likelihood of cross-contamination within the outlet. The animal produce going into non-vegan food items may have minimal but some mingling with the macaroons’ vegan ingredients.
Cross-contamination is a persisting risk for vegans and vegetarians unless they have witnessed the meal’s preparation or cooked it at home. Several vegans view cross-contamination as a given when consuming packaged food or eating out. For others, it is a strict violation of their resolution. You must decide to buy packaged vegan macaroons with this information in mind.
Are Macaroons Healthy?
Macaroons are not the healthiest snack in town, but you will be good with a balanced intake. Two of these coconut cookies may contain 180 calories within the advised snack limit of 200 calories. There is approximately 13g of fat in two macaroons.
Sitting down for a snack, consuming just one macaroon with a serving of fruits would be best.
Where Do Macaroons Come From?
Macaroons look not like your average cookie but like mounds of coconut delight. They are distinct because they’re irregular in shape, sort of like dollops, and have flaky exteriors. Their texture is dense yet fluffy and light. So, where did these treats come from?
Originally, macaroons were made using ground almonds instead of coconuts. The earliest versions were probably more comparable to amaretti than the coconut macaroons you know and love. When bakers discovered that coconut could travel better without spoilage than almonds, they started using it.
The first almond-meringue cookies most likely emerged in the southern parts of Italy. They came with the introduction of almonds by the Arabs in the 8th century.
Did you know that they became especially popular with the Jewish population since they unleavened them? This means that they could enjoy these for Passover.
The macaroons’ journey continued, and they reached France in the 16th century, from where they gained even more popularity.
Macaroons and Macarons: What Is the Difference?
Macaroons and macarons seem to have the same name, but the difference is in the O!
Macaroons and macarons essentially come from the same cookie but evolved into different forms. More often than never, people seem to mix up macaroons and macarons. While both are equally tempting dessert cookies, each has a different appearance and ingredients.
Macaroons and macarons have different core ingredients: shredded coconut for the former and almond meal for the latter. Parisian macarons look like little round sandwiches with a smooth shell and soft ganache or buttercream center. You can enjoy macarons or Parisian macarons in various colors and flavors.
A coconut macaroon has an estimated value of 90 calories, while a Parisian macaron has about 250 calories. This makes macaroons a healthier snack than macarons. As an additional fun fact, the 20th of March is celebrated as National Macaron Day, and the 31st of May holds the title of National Macaroon Day.
To Sum Up
Macaroons are a much-loved coconut delicacy, especially for those with a sweet tooth. They are rich in flavor with a fluffy feel and exotic exterior. As with many baked goods, macaroons’ vegan nature depends upon the recipe used.
While the traditional way of making macaroons is not vegan, several alternative ingredients can produce vegan macaroons. While macaroons are not too unhealthy, it’s essential to keep in mind that you mustn’t eat too many.