Okay, I know what you’re gonna say. Aquafaba?! But that’s so insertyearhere. Well, that might be the case, but for me, aquafaba is so 2020. Or late 2019, actually. Because until recently, I had only ever given the liquid from chickpea cans a meager single shot. If you’ve used aquafaba before, you probably know that not every brand works. You might be whipping and whipping and nothing happens, like, at all. You’ll still end up with the brownish liquid you started with instead of a fluffy, white foam.
Anyway, I decided to give aquafaba another shot. I mean, I love chickpeas and go through so many cans of them that it seems a waste to just throw that stuff away when I open a can. I mixed the liquid for a couple of minutes with a handheld mixer – and it worked! Just like magic, a dense foam appeared. On the spur of the moment, I mixed in some peanut butter and melted chocolate, and, surprisingly, that worked, too (better, actually, than many of the failed attempts that should follow in order to create this very recipe).
From that time on, I set out to make my own aquafaba peanut butter and chocolate mousse. And let me tell you, it was no easy feat. In the countless attempts to create a recipe that actually works (as in, the aquafaba mostly keeps its foamy shape) and tastes good, I explored a lot of options.
My first try (well, second, actually) involved peanut butter, like this recipe. Then I thought: I love hazelnut butter, so why not try that? Spoiler alert: It didn’t taste as great as I had hoped it would. Hazelnut butter is less intense than peanut butter and can’t shine through as well. Next up was peanut butter again, but in the attempt to fold it into the aquafaba, I ended up with some weird kind of mush.
After that, I thought I’d try vegan white chocolate instead of just plain chocolate. It seized up and the mousse was part liquid, part clumps of white chocolate. Deciding enough was enough, I went back to where I started and used peanut butter and chocolate. This time, the chocolate seized up again.
Troubleshooting, or: Why won’t my aquafaba stay firm?
I learned from my mistakes, though. I learnt that a) don’t ever let any water come into contact with the mousse. Even tiny drops, like those left on your not-quite-dry mixing bowl, cause chocolate to seize. I also learned to b) mix aquafaba really well. Like, for 5 minutes or longer on high speed. You can’t go wrong with too much mixing, but you can definitely undermix. The aquafaba is firm enough if you can turn the bowl upside down and everything stays put.
I also learned (that’d be c)) that adding a bit of vinegar to the aquafaba makes it that much firmer. And, d), you have to be very careful when you fold in the chocolate peanut butter mixture. Without adding vinegar to the mixture, I found I didn’t manage to incorporate the ingredients into the mousse at all before the aquafaba started to collapse again. The firmer aquafaba allows you to mix more thoroughly without destroying its consistency. And lastly, I added coconut milk to ease folding in the chocolate peanut butter mixture.
The Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mousse tastes best when left to firm up in the fridge for about 3 to 4 hours. You can still eat it the next day, but it might look a little different. Wait much longer, and it’s likely that a liquid will form at the bottom of your glass or other vessel. So don’t wait too long to gobble it up, okay?
Anyway, here’s the recipe.
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mousse
makes 4 servings
- liquid from one 14 oz can of chickpeas, or about 3/4 cup*
- 70 to 90 g vegan chocolate**
- 3 tablespoons coconut milk (make sure you mix liquid and firm parts for this) (50 g)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (60 g)
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
* As I said, not every brand seems to work. According to the queen of vegan cooking, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, organic chickpeas appear to work best. So go for that or suffer the consequences.
** Go for the tastiest chocolate you know. I don’t recommend using dark chocolate here because there is no additional sweetener in this recipe. How much chocolate you’re using is really up to you, if you like it less chocolatey, use 70 g rather than 90 g and vice versa.
- Chop the chocolate into pieces. Add to a small pot along with the coconut milk and peanut butter. The heat should be on low and you should be stirring constantly so as not to burn the chocolate. After the mixture has started to melt, take it from the stove, but keep stirring. This is to avoid heating up the chocolate peanut butter mixture too much. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes – it it’s too hot, it will destroy your beautiful aquafaba.
- Meanwhile, whip the aquafaba along with the teaspoon of vinegar. Mix for at least 5 minutes on high speed or until it’s so firm that it stays put if you turn the bowl upside down.
- When the chocolate mixture is only lukewarm, put it into a dry (!) bowl. Add a bit of the aquafaba and mix with a bench scraper. Be careful or you’ll destroy the mousse, but mix thoroughly enough that it becomes a homogenous mass.
- Fold in the rest of the aquafaba in batches. Don’t worry if the aquafaba loses some of its texture. From my experience, it’s impossible to avoid that altogether.
- Refridgerate for about 3 to 4 hours. It tastes best on the same day, but will keep a day at least.