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  • Writer's pictureBaking with Chickens

Ghoulish Meringue Ghosts, Egg Whites vs. Vegan Meringue

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

Happy Halloween!

I made two versions to compare egg whites to a vegan meringue using aquafaba, aka "bean water." Aquafaba is the starchy water leftover in a can of garbanzo beans and oddly, it behaves like egg whites when you beat them. It can be used as an egg or egg white substitute with little to no bean flavor! If you've never tried baking with aquafaba, or find yourself in a pinch with no eggs because your chickens are lazy freeloaders, try it out!

The Smithsonian has an awesome article "Meringue Chemistry: The Secrets of Fluff" that explains the science of how and why egg whites whip up into glorious stiff peaks.

chicken stepping on meringue cookies
Chicken-zilla SMASH

Egg vs. Vegan Throwdown!

Not really a throwdown, more like a respectful comparison with no clear winner.

Egg Whites

  • Texture was stiffer and glossier

  • Glossy sheen when baked

  • Crunchy and chewy texture when eaten immediately after baking

  • Reacted to the humidity and had a chewier texture but retained its shape and outer crunch over 24 hours after baking

  • Kinda like a crunchy marshmallow the next day

Vegan Aquafaba

  • Had a more crystalline structure inside when baked

  • Whiter color with a matte look

  • Crunchier texture when eaten immediately after baking

  • Deflated and reacted to the humidity in the environment much faster than the egg whites

  • Became chewy and deflated sitting out on the counter after 24 hours, the little ghosts completed pancaked and flattened

meringue cookies
Left: Vegan Meringue. Right: Egg White Meringue

The Verdict

Both are really good. The vegan meringue was surprisingly good! Would not even notice the difference if I weren't for the side-by-side. The vegan meringue collapsed faster than the egg white but if you bake and eat within the first 12 hours it'll be all good. Meringue is best eaten the same day or stored in an air tight container. Don't make meringue when it's humid or raining out. Or leave it out on the counter without an air tight container.

Note on adding color: I played with adding colors to the meringue mixture with the extra fluff. Gel food coloring mixed tor the best. I tried adding powdered activated charcoal to get a black color and it worked but I could visibly see the fluff deflated as I was mixing in the powder. I suspect that the powder is acting like tiny needles popping the air bubbles inside the meringue. It still baked up okay but it was noticeably deflated compared to the gel color and plain fluff.

Chicken Molting Season

It's that time of year that the chicken coop looks like a chicken imploded or had a very epic pillow fight. Feathers everywhere! Lady Olgaberry looks the worst of the bunch. She has splotchy fuzz patches everywhere where you can see her pin feathers growing in. She's very upset about looking a hot mess and won't let me near her.

Molting season is the time when chickens lose their feathers and regrow new ones. It happens every late summer, early fall. Egg production goes down and we go from getting four eggs a day to one or two a day. Feathers are made of protein so the chickens need all the protein they can get in their tiny bodies to grow feathers instead of lay eggs.

Good to know that I have an egg substitute when the chickens all go on their winter laying strike!

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