Vegan French Macarons: Snickers Flavor with Caramel & Peanuts

I've been wanting to make some more vegan macarons lately. Every time I open a can of chickpeas to make hummus, I get excited to use that leftover bean juice!

Since Halloween's around the corner, candy has been on my mind. And who doesn't like a good Snickers candy bar?! This recipe has a fugdy chocolate ganache filling, caramel sauce, and crushed peanuts -- even my husband, who stays away from sweets, couldn't keep his paws off of these cookies. (As a side note, he says that they pair well with a stout or porter. Macarons and beer sound like a great combination!)

While I was making this round of French macarons, I thought of a few more tips that popped into my mind. First, the type of canned beans does seem to make a difference. For a while, I used Wegmans organic chickpeas, but now I switched to Publix brand, after the move. Both of the work well. I once bought an organic brand and the liquid inside was too gelatinous to work with -- you want your bean juice to be very liquidy!

Next, humidity does play a factor. On days that it rains or the humidity is high, my macarons don't grow feet as well. You can see that these macarons don't have the cute little feet, like some of my others do. Welp, as soon as I started the process, the weather transitioned from sunshine to rain showers. Womp womp. It happens, so don't be disheartened. They still taste amazing!

I will confess that this recipe doesn't taste exactly like a Snickers Bar...but it's still mighty tasty. You can do a few variations on this -- make a chocolate macaron cookie, sprinkle peanuts on top, add a little peanut butter to your ganache, etc. The sky's the limit! Be sure to share your photos with me; I love to see them!

I don't plan on going into as much detail as I did in my first vegan macaron post; please read this one first before executing this recipe.

I will say this again: macarons are challenging cookies to make, if you make them traditionally or with vegan ingredients.  If at first you don't succeed, try again!

Vegan French Macarons: Snickers Flavor with Caramel & Peanuts
Recipe adapted from my original Chocolate & Amaretto Macarons

liquid from one 15 oz can of chickpeas; chickpeas saved for another use
1/2 c. organic cane sugar
1 c. almond flour, like Bob's Red Mill
1/2 c. vegan powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (infused bourbon), plus more as needed

In a small saucepan, bring your chickpea liquid to a boil.  When it boils, lower the heat slightly and allow it to simmer/reduce for 10 solid minutes - set a timer!  This boiling liquid will smell weird, FYI.  You want it to reduce to about 1/3 cup.

While that's reducing, combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in the food processor.  Pulse to combine and run it for a minute or two.

Transfer the powdery mix to the sifter and sift.  Some macaron recipes I've used say to sift three times.  I only sifted this recipe once.  Discard any large chunks that won't go through the sifter.

Measure out your cane sugar.  Set it aside.

Once your chickpea liquid has reduced, pour it into your stand mixer bowl and attach your whisk.  Turn the mixer on to a medium-high setting (about a 5-6 setting) and whisk for 2 solid minutes - set a timer!  The mixture should get frothy and foamy.

Add your cane sugar.  Beat the mixture on high for 5 minutes - again, set a timer!  This is the stage where the true magic happens.  It's amazing to watch!  When you're finished, the mixture should look like a meringue with stiff, glossy peaks.  After, add your teaspoon of vanilla and beat on high for 1 more minute.

When your meringue is done, fold in the sifted mixture in thirds.  (Pour one-third in and fold.  Repeat.)  At this stage, I found that my batter was a little dry.  I added another teaspoon or two of vanilla to the batter.  You want it to be a thick, firm batter; but you also want it to be a little shiny.  Someone likened it to lava flowing slowly down a mountain, but I'm not sure what sense that makes.  This is the stage that you just have to get the knack for.  This is why macaron-making is challenging!

Load the batter into your piping bag with a spatula.  Snip a hole, about a half-inch from the end of the bag.  If hold the bag upright at a 90 degree angle, the batter should drip out slowly, most likely in small blobs.  If it's runny, you have a problem.  If it's stiff and not moving without help, you have a different problem!  This takes finesse.

Pipe cookies the size of a quarter/half dollar onto your Silpat mats.  One thing I will recommend - doubling your baking sheets.  I've read this in numerous macaron-making articles.  It keeps the bottoms from burning.  Repeat piping the batter until you run out of batter - or room.

When you're done piping, smack the cookie sheets on the counter a few times.  You want to get the macarons to smooth out and release any air bubbles inside.  Whack them - don't be afraid to hurt them.  My macarons started with small peaks but once I smacked them a few times, the tops became smoother.  That's how you know the batter is good.

Allow the macarons to dry on the counter for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  They should be dry to the lightest touch - don't poke them, haha.

As the drying time winds down, preheat the oven to 205° F.  

Bake the macarons for 30 minutes.  When the 30 minutes have elapsed, turn the oven off and let the cookies sit in the closed oven for 15 minutes.  After those 15 minutes have elapsed, open the oven door and let them cool for another 15 minutes before removing them from the oven.

Be sure to try my other flavors as well: Earl Grey with Lemon Buttercream and Raspberry & Elderflower Macarons and Biscoff & Bourbon Macarons.

For the chocolate ganache:
2 T. organic non-hydrogenated shortening, like Spectrum
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, like Guittard
2 c. vegan powdered sugar
a few T. almond milk, as needed

caramel sauce, recipe here
crushed peanuts

Combine the first four ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and use a spatula to combine.  If you need a little more liquid to get the icing together, add a little almond milk to the mix, about a tablespoon at a time.  It will look (and taste) like fudgy, chocolaty goodness.  

Using another piping bag, gently pipe the icing onto one side of a macaron, creating a well in the middle for some caramel.  Grab another macaron of similar size and place it next to the piped one.  If you have some ganache leftover, save it in the freezer for another use!

For the caramel sauce, you can make this sauce which is fairly quick and simple, or you can buy some cocomels and melt them -- your choice! Drizzle the caramel into each hollow of the ganache. Sprinkle each drizzle with crushed peanuts (and roll the macarons in the peanuts as well).

You'll love this flavor! I promise. 

You can store these in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. I like to let mine sit out for 10-15 minutes before eating them. Enjoy :-)