Vegan maltesers anyone?
I wasn't a massive sweet and chocolate eater before being vegan, but did enjoy maltesers. What's not to like about the chocolately malty crunch of those little red bags of balls? Judging by the amount of people asking about vegan maltesers I decided to have a go at replicating them myself
It wasn't all plain sailing as with most of my food experiments there were a few casualties along the way but I got a little bit closer to getting it right with each attempt....
I used Barley Malt extract for the malty flavour, I got it from Amazon, just under a fiver for a jar. I only used a tablespoon per batch so should last a while
I found reducing the aquafaba gave a denser bubble in the centre. It was a bit meringuey without the condensing of the liquid, so is an important step, and doesn't really take long
The chocolate is the most expensive part of the whole thing. 2 1/2, 85g bars of Nomo did the job of covering most of the balls. A cheaper option would be to use dark chocolate, but I found that it was a bit overbearing for the malty centre, but a drizzle of stripes was a good compromise
The key to a smooth production line is to get everything lined up and ready to use in advance...prep your piping bag, line your trays to keep stickiness to a minimum
This recipe makes about 130 balls....I don't know how long they would keep, they keep getting devoured, even the disastrous prototypes were pretty tasty!
Liquid from 1 400g tin of chickpeas (see note above)
60g caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Barley Malt Extract (see note above)
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
225g vegan milk type chocolate (see notes above)
Drain the aquafaba into a small pan and bring to a gently bubble. Leave to simmer until the liquid has reduced to 80ml. Keep pouring into a small measuring jug to check. You can always return to the pan and continue reducing if necessary. It should take not much more than 20 minutes. Put the 80ml of liquid in the fridge for at least an hour or completely cold
Have everything ready - pre line 3 baking sheets with greaseproof paper and have your piping bag ready to load. Preheat the oven to just a fraction below 100c - only slightly too hot and this will cause the balls to overheat and become mis shapen
Put the cold, condensed liquid into a mixing bowl. It stinks! Don't worry, this won't be noticeable in your finished product. Add the Xanthan Gum and the Cream of Tartar and start whisking immediately. An electric whisk is best as this can take 2 minute upwards to get a nice thick mix
The mix should be thick and creamy looking and form soft peaks
Keep whisking and add the sugar a little at a time until it is smooth and combined
Add the malt extract and whisk well in until you have a thick slightly stringy mix
Gently tip the mix into a prepared piping bag, taking not to pop the hard earned bubbles in the mix
Carefully pipe small balls of the mix onto your lined baking trays. When all the mix is used up, carefully smooth down the peak that may be left in the middle of the piped ball with a moistened finger tip
Place the baking sheets into the oven for 1 hour and 50 minutes. You can use this time to clear up and prepare the chocolate for melting
Remove the balls from the oven, they will crisp up almost immediately. Leave them on the paper to cool for a couple of minutes before loosening....you should probably taste a couple after all that whisking, after all you've earned it.....
Gently loosen the balls from the baking paper, but keep the paper, just flip it over to the clean side on the trays, you can re use this when the chocolate is hardening
Put the chocolate in a bowl and melt in the microwave. Be VERY carefully not to overheat - melt in 20 second bursts and stir until warm, smooth and runny
I found the best way to apply the chocolate was to add a handful of the balls to the bowl of chocolate and gently swirl round with a fork until fully coated. Using 2 forks, gently lift and place onto the greaseproof paper and place in the fridge until fully set
These get easier to make the more times you do it, the fiddliest part is getting the chocolate on, but it is so worth it!