While we were writing this cookbook, we learned about this new-fangled ingredient called aquafaba. “Aqua” as in water, and “faba” as in bean. You may know it as the viscous water that garbanzo beans are packed in. Turns out that viscousness means it can do all sorts of amazing tricks! Plant-based meringue, anyone? Seriously. Aquafaba. It’s blowing minds and rocking the vegan world.
Goose Wohlt coined the term “aquafaba” and was the first to use it to make a vegan meringue in 2015. Shortly thereafter, Rebecca August started the “hits and misses” Facebook group where all the initial aquafaba experimentation emerged. These two luminaries of the aquafaba community have both graciously agreed to include a recipe for this cookbook. Serendipitously, their two recipes complement each other perfectly.
Chocolate ganache is typically made from chocolate and cream. In this recipe, the combination of blended cashews and aquafaba with a touch of coconut oil act as the cream substitute.
This recipe can be a bit temperamental to match up with the variation in aquafaba consistencies available, but once you find the right balance of aquafaba, cashew, and chocolate, it makes a super easy and quick dark-chocolate ganache. Using cashew cream made from aquafaba resulted in a nice and glossy ganache, even when set, without imparting any discernible bean or cashew flavor. The best part, it only takes a few minutes to whip together.
If you have 2/3 cup of aquafaba, top it off with water. Between the aquafaba and cashews, there is enough emulsification to prevent it from seizing the chocolate. The amount of cashews, aquafaba, and chocolate will determine how thick the final ganache is. If your aquafaba is really thick, use fewer cashews. If it’s really watery, go with the higher amount.
Makes 2–3 cups
Takes 15 minutes
8 ounces 50–70% dark chocolate
1/2–3/4 cup raw cashews, as needed
3/4 cup aquafaba
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Put the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set it aside, along with a lid that will cover it, for when you’re done blending the other ingredients.
In a vitamix or other high speed blender, combine cashews, aquafaba, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.
Blend on highest speed for no more than 3 minutes. The idea is to get the cashews as creamy as possible and steaming hot, but not so hot that they cook and emulsify. If your mixture doesn’t pour out of the blender without scraping when you’re done, it probably got too hot or there are too many cashews for your aquafaba. It should be like thick cream, not pudding. I don’t need to scrape the blender.
I haven’t tried it, but I suspect that if you don’t have a high speed blender, you probably need to soak the cashews in the aquafaba overnight in the fridge before blending, and you may need to heat the cashew cream just to a simmer on the stove after blending. A high speed blender like a Vitamix will heat it up on its own in short order, so you don’t need the additional soaking or heating steps. [We found that our small “Magic Bullet” blender heated the mixture to steaming, but your blender may vary.]
Once the cashew cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and cover the bowl. Let the bowl sit, undisturbed, for four minutes, but not too much longer because you don’t want it to cool down too much. Stir it all together quickly until completely uniform. You want the chocolate to melt slowly, but not get too cold. Stir it until there are no more chocolate lumps.
Final temperature should be right at 88–89° F (31° C) .
If you’re using it to pour onto something, you can pour right away. Or, cool it in the fridge for a bit to harden and roll into balls for dipping in tempered chocolate.
Chocolate frosting: Eight ounces of chocolate will give you a fudge-like consistency when it sets up. If you want something closer to a wet frosting, go with less chocolate (e.g., 6 ounces).