Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! Week five: VEGAN Red Hot Cinnamon Macaron and VEGAN Mini Cinnamon Almond Cakes!  »

Welcome everyone to the fifth installation of Project Just Desserts, featuring our fourth guest chef, Vegan Dad! Remember how he’s great? Super-great, even! Last week Robin Robertson made a beautiful mango panna cotta with mango sorbet, açaí coulis, and basil-lime syrup; this week, Vegan Dad took on winner Morgan Wilson’s Red Hot Cinnamon Macaron “Earring.” Instead of the accompanying candy “ring,” Vegan Dad did his own version of a cinnamon candy petit four, a Mini Cinnamon Almond Cake! So creative! And this was a real challenge: he had to make a vegan meringue! Vegan Dad asked us to point out that his meringue “is not the holy grail of vegan egg whites,” but look at the photos of the plain meringue and of the macarons—he has nothing to apologize for. Good heavens. Would you like to see? Let’s go!

Cinnamon Macaron
Makes 24 macaroons
¼ cup Ener-G egg replacer
6 Tbsp. ice cold water
2 Tbsp. soy protein isolate
⅛ tsp. xanthan gum 
¼ cup fruit sugar
¼ cup icing sugar, sifted
75g fruit sugar
10g water
110g almond flour/meal
110g icing sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer
½ tsp. red gel food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper
1. Mix together egg replacer and water then beat on high in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until soft peak form. Add soy protein isolate slowly, then add xanthan gum.
2. Slowly add first measure of fruit sugar and the icing sugar and beat until incorporated.

3. Heat the 75g of fruit sugar with the water over med to medium high heat until it reaches 230 degrees. With the beater running, slowly dribble the sugar mixture into the bowl and beat to incorporate. The mixture should peak like you see in the picture.
3. In a separate bowl sift in the almond meal and the icing sugar. Add cinnamon. Blend together water and egg replacer in a small bowl, then add to the along mixture with the food coloring. Blend into a paste, then fold into the “egg white” mixture.
4. Transfer mixture into a piping bag, then squeeze out equal portions onto the prepared baking sheet trying to make the mounds as high as possible.
5. Prepare and bake one sheet at a time for 15 to 18 minutes, until firm and dry. Let cool then remove from baking sheet.
6. To serve, pipe some Red Hot Buttercream in between two macarons.

Red Hot Buttercream
¼ cup vegetable shortening
¼ cup margarine
1¾ cup icing sugar, sifted    
½ tsp. red gel food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla
⅛ to ¼ tsp. cinnamon oil (depending on how hot you want it)
1 to 2 Tbsp. soy creamer

1. Blend together shortening and margarine in a stand mixer or with a hand blender until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until smooth.
2. Add food coloring, vanilla, and cinnamon oil and blend well. Add in enough soy creamer to make a creamy icing that still holds its shape.

Mini Cinnamon Almond Cakes
Makes 24 mini cakes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup margarine
½ cup icing sugar
½ cup fruit sugar
1 cup almond milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl.
2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk margarine until soft, then add icing sugar and beat to incorporate. Then add fruit sugar. When fully incorporated, slowly add in almond milk and the extracts. They wont actually blend together, but the idea is to get little bits of margarine swimming around in the liquid.
3. Add wet to the dry and mix to incorporate. Spoon batter into a nonstick mini-cupcake pan (24), filling the batter up to the top and smoothing it flat.
4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean. They will not brown up much, so just make sure they are baked through. Remove from pan and cool upside down on wire racks.
5. When cool, dip the bottom into the cinnamon glaze, shake off excess, and let cool.
6. To serve, slice off the rounded top, then carefully slice in half (use a small serrated knife). Pipe butter cream frosting in between the layer and serve.

Cinnamon Glaze
¼ cup cinnamon hearts
¼ cup water
1 tsp. margarine

1. Heat cinnamon hearts and water in a small pot over high heat. Stir constantly until cinnamon hearts have all melted and the mixture is smooth and slightly thick.
2. Whisk in margarine, then keep over low heat while you dip the cake tops in.

There you go! Two delicious-sounding, delicious-looking recipes from your/our/somebody’s Vegan Dad! Has anyone tried making any of the previous recipes yet? For reference, you can find them all here. If you do test out one of our veganized versions, please let us know! Send some pictures! Give a review! Play along!

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