Almond Meringue Cookies from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook

Almond Meringue Cookies from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim

The Wicked Healthy Cookbook

This new book, The Wicked Healthy Cookbook, Free. From. Animals, authored by my longtime friends the brothers Chad and Derek Sarno, with collaborator David Joachim (and you will meet another brother, the mixologist Darren), is everything. I know, I know, you’ve heard me gush over others of the crop of new, fabulous vegan books recently (hooray!), but this one is very special and unique. I’m not gushing and excited and shouting to you all, “pre-order this book a.s.a.p.!” just because I love and respect these men, or because the book is gorgeous (it is!), but because this is a book to learn from, to cook from, and to enjoy as a great read. And I have a copy for one winner, so make sure to read the post and enter the contest!

The photos by Eva Kosmas Flores are gorgeous. I find the dramatic black backgrounds used to showcase many of the recipe photos stunning and modern, and the photos of Chad and Derek making food and at the market and playing with food (see page 234), are just so much fun.

Banana Blossom Prep photo by Eva Kosmas FloresChad and Derek know vegan food. Chad developed the Rouxbe Plant-Based Professional Course, and he and I worked together to get my Essential Vegan Desserts course at Rouxbe up and running. Derek is the Director of Plant-Based Innovation at U.K. retail giant Tesco where he has plant-based meals flying off the shelves. There’s more coming soon from this dynamic duo, but for today, back to Wicked Healthy, the cookbook!

Derek Sarno, Fran Costigan, Tal Ronnen, Chad Sarno
With Derek Sarno, Tal Ronnen, Chad Sarno phot by Sally Ekus.

Vegan Cuisine

I’ve known Chad and Derek since 2006.  We met at the Vegetarian Awakening Conference at Grand Rapids Community College, Culinary School. During that conference, we sat around with other vegan chefs discussing emerging vegan cuisine and wondering aloud if “vegan” would ever be considered a cuisine. I knew as I tasted their dishes, watched, and listened to these guys, along with our colleague Tal Ronnen (who as many of you know went on to found Kite Hill vegan cheeses and yogurt, as well as Crossroads Kitchen in L.A.) that vegan as a fine cuisine could happen, but I did wonder if, when, and how broadly. We know now that vegan cuisine is the fastest growing cuisine. You will find Tal’s recipe for his exceptional, and do-able, vegan pasta dough in The Wicked Healthy Cookbook.

Banana Blossom Prep photo by Eva Kosmas Flores80% Healthy + 20% Wicked equals “Wicked Healthy,” which means good-for-you food that tastes so good you’ll think it’s bad for you! Ok, who wouldn’t be down for that!? If you are wondering how-to though, especially newbies or the just curious, you will find the first section of the book to be a series of detailed and thorough lessons that Chad and Derek have made accessible to all kinds of eaters. (It’s mostly wicked, as there are  low or no-sugar, low- or no-oil, and no gluten-free recipes—all here).

Plant-Based Meringue from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David JoachimVegan Almond Meringue Cookies

Chad and I have discussed desserts aplenty over the years, and intensely during the development of my Essential Vegan Desserts with Rouxbe. While I have made vegan aquafaba meringue many times, I was drawn to these Almond Meringue Cookies and was given permission to offer the recipe here. Follow the tips and you cannot fail.

Now, excuse me, I have to get into the kitchen to make the Wicked Healthy Cheese Sauce for lunch, and later, the Barbecued Maitake Steaks. Here in Philadelphia, we have ‘shrooms, thanks to Kennett Square, and I am fascinated by the Sarno’s break-the-rules manner of cooking mushrooms.

Almond Meringue Cookies from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, egg-free, dairy-free)

Almond Meringue Cookies from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, egg-free, dairy-free)

Almond Meringue Cookies

Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim
In the fall of 2015, we featured these cookies on several catering menus. We usually made them with dried fruit powder like raspberry, then dried the meringue in sheets and broke it up into shards, as in Brûléed Pineapple with Spiced Panko, Berries, and Meringue. Flavor the cookies however you like (see the Options), but try to stick with freeze-dried fruit powders. Liquid extracts and flavorings tend to make the meringues fall. —Chad
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 50 small cookies

Ingredients
  

  • Plant-Based Meringue (see below)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup finely ground unsalted roasted almonds, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Make the meringue until it is fully whipped. Whip the almond extract and vanilla seeds into the meringue.
  • Spoon the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Or use a zipper-lock bag and cut off a corner. If your parchment is curling up from the baking sheets, dollop a little meringue under each corner to secure it. Pipe cookies into pointy mounds about 1½ inches in diameter. They should look like big Hershey’s kisses. You need only about ½ inch space between cookies because they won’t expand much during baking. Sprinkle the ground almonds, if using, evenly over the cookies.
  • Bake until the cookies look dry and off-white in color, 2 hours. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking for even heating. Cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in well-sealed containers. Humidity and moisture will make the cookies sticky, so store them in a cool, dry cupboard.

Notes

Options
Raspberry Meringue Cookies: When making the meringue, add 1/3 cup powdered freeze-dried raspberries (buzzed in a clean spice grinder) along with the sugar. Omit the vanilla and almonds, and substitute raspberry extract for the almond extract.
Lemon Meringue Cookies: When making the meringue, add 2 tablespoons lemon peel powder (buzz the dried lemon peel in a clean spice grinder) along with the sugar. Omit the vanilla and almonds, and substitute lemon extract for the almond extract.
Candy Cane Meringue Cookies: When making the meringue, reduce the sugar by 2 tablespoons and add 3 to 4 tablespoons crushed candy canes along with the sugar while whipping. Omit the vanilla and almonds, and substitute 1 teaspoon peppermint extract or a few drops of food-grade peppermint essential oil for the almond extract.
Excerpted from the book THE WICKED HEALTHY COOKBOOK by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. Copyright © 2018 by Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. Photos by Eva Kosmas Flores.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

 

Plant-Based Meringue from The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim

Plant-Based Meringue

Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim
This recipe still blows our minds. You mean the leftover liquid from a can of beans (called aquafaba) can be used to make desserts?! Most people pour their bean liquid down the drain. But surprise—it has enough protein to whip up just like egg whites. Voilà—plant based meringue! You can use this meringue as a base for everything from pancakes and pastries to meringue-topped pies and Almond Meringue Cookies. All without a hint of beany-ness. You can even use aquafaba to make Plant-Based Mayo.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can (14 ounces) no-salt-added chickpeas
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup semifine (see Pro Tip) organic cane sugar

Instructions
 

  • Strain the chickpea liquid into the bowl of an electric mixer. You should have about ½ cup.
  • Add the cream of tartar to the bowl and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until the mixture increases in volume and stiffens a bit, 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Reduce the speed to medium high and gradually add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. Blend about 4 minutes more, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. The meringue is done when it holds its shape as the whip attachment is lifted. You should also be able to hold the bowl upside down without the meringue falling out. Continue whipping until you can do that. Otherwise, the meringue will not hold its shape when cooked.

Notes

Pro Tip: To make semifine sugar, grind it in a food processor or Vitamix for 10 to 15 seconds.
Excerpted from the book THE WICKED HEALTHY COOKBOOK by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. Copyright © 2018 by Chad Sarno and Derek Sarno. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. Photos by Eva Kosmas Flores.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

I have a copy of The Wicked Healthy Cookbook for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends at midnight EDT on May 1st. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck!

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The Wicked Healthy Cookbook photos by Eva Kosmas Flores.

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