Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vegan Baking - Yes You Can!

But first, a cute photo of my dog, taken a few days ago when we took a walk after the first snowfall of the season:

OK. Now that we have THAT out of the way...there are many vegans here at Dancing Rabbit, and what used to seem like a foreign language has become almost second nature.

Here are a few of my favorite tips covering the major hurdles of vegan cooking.

Cooking without eggs info from the Post Punk Kitchen website by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of Vegan with a Vengence and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. She's not only funny, she's a great cook. Highly recommended!

"Replacing eggs is the most challenging aspects of vegan baking. Those suckers bind, they leaven and they give structure to our baked goods. However, like a bad boyfriend, they can be replaced, and with pleasing results. Here some info on replacements I have tried.

Flax Seeds How to use it: 1 Tablespoon flax seeds plus 3 Tablespoons water replaces one egg. Finely grind 1 tablespoon whole flaxseeds in a blender or coffee grinder, or use 2 1/2 tablespoons pre-ground flaxseeds. Transfer to a bowl and beat in 3 tablespoons of water using a whisk or fork. It will become very gooey and gelatinous, much like an egg white. In some recipes, you can leave the ground flax in the blender and add the other wet ingredients to it, thus saving you the extra step of the bowl.

When it works best: Flax seeds have a distinct earthy granola taste. It tastes best and works very well in things like pancakes, and whole grain items, such as bran muffins and corn muffins. It is perfect for oatmeal cookies, and the texture works for cookies in general, although the taste may be too pronounced for some. Chocolate cake-y recipes have mixed results, I would recommend only using one portion flax-egg in those, because the taste can be overpowering.

Tips:Always store ground flaxseeds in the freezer because they are highly perishable. This mixture is not only an excellent replacement for eggs, it also contributes vital omega-3 fatty acids.

Silken Tofu How to use it: 1/4 cup blended silken tofu = 1 egg. Whiz in a blender until completely smooth and creamy, leaving no graininess or chunks. You will want to add other wet ingredients to this mixture to get it to blend properly. I recommend vacuum packed extra firm silken tofu, such as Mori-Nu.

When it works best: Dense cakes and brownies, and in smaller quantites for lighter cakes and fluffy things (if the recipe calls for 3 eggs only use 2 "tofu" eggs"). Whizzed tofu leaves virtually no taste, so it is an excellent replacer in cake recipes. In cookie recipes, it may make the cookie more cake-y and fluffy than anticipated, add 1 teaspoon of starch to the recipe (such as arrowroot or corn starch) to combat that. It may make pancakes a little heavy, so it is not recommended as a quick replacement for eggs in pancakes, although it could work well with a little experimentation.

Ener-G Egg Replacer How to use it: 1 1/2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons water mixed well = 1 egg Many people swear by this egg replacer. I think it is good to use in a pinch, in all baking that requires a few eggs. However, I can definitely taste it in cakes and cookies (tastes chalk-y), and I'm not crazy about the dense texture it turns out.

When it works best: It seems to work best in cookies, or things that are supposed to be a little crispy.

Where to get it:Health food stores, some supermarkets in the baking or ethnic food section

Bananas How to use it: 1/2 banana blended until smooth or mashed well= 1 egg. Bananas work wonders as an egg replacer in baking, which is the reason many banana bread recipes don't require eggs. They hold the air bubbles well, make things nice and moist, and impart a nice flavor. However, you don't want everything tasting like banana, so use in things where the taste won't be intrusive. I've also noticed that baked goods using banana brown very nicely. When it works best: Quick breads, muffins, cakes, pancakes

Tip: Make sure bananas are nice and ripe and have started to brown.

Soy yogurt How to use it: 1/4 cup soy yogurt = 1 egg. Soy yogurt works a lot like whizzed tofu as an egg replacer. It makes things moist and yummy. When it works best: Quick breads, muffins, cakes Lose the milkThis is a no-brainer. Use soy, rice or almond milk.

Buttermilk? Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to your milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes. (Alline's note: this really works!)

It's like buttah...

Instead of butter try unsalted margarine or go ahead and use salted but reduce the amount of salt in the recipe. Lose 1/4 teaspoon per 1/2 stick of butter. But try to use the non-hydrogented kind, I dunno', for your health? My favorite thing to use instead of butter is canola oil, but you can use any vegetable oil, just reduce the amount. If a recipe calls for one stick of butter, which is a half cup, I use 1/3 cup of oil. You can also try prune puree which will also obviously reduce the amount of fat. To use, puree 1/2 cup of pitted prunes with 1/4 cup of water. You will want to reduce the amount used, or the final product may be too moist. If the recipe calls for a half cup use 1/3 cup instead. You may also want to add a little oil, maybe a tablespoon per cup of fat needed, because a little fat goes a long way in taste and texture.

In Review: Get rid of the eggs

1 egg =
2 tsp ground flaxseeds + 2 Tb warm water
OR 2 Tb – ¼ cup applesauce or apple butter
ORCommercial egg replacer: 1-1 ½ tsp egg replacer + 2 Tb water
OR 2 Tb mashed banana + ½ tsp baking powder
OR 1 banana"

(End of Post Punk Kitchen info)

Other recommended cookbooks that just happen to be vegan, and contain GREAT recipes:
The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook - from The Farm in Tennessee, this is a flashback to good old hippie days. The photos are a bit scary, but man oh man, the recipes are fantastic! Not only do they taste great, they are fairly easy, and use ingredients that you probably already have. I'll post some in the next few weeks, just to give you a little sample.
The Zen Monastery Cookbook: Stories and Recipes from a Zen Kitchen. This cookbook is absolutely lovely. Written by anonymous Zen monks, it has humor, charm, humility and encouragement in addition to the delicious recipes.

And now, for one of my favorite recipes - quick, easy, vegan.

Italian Cornmeal Cake
Vegan, No Oil

Serves 8-9

1 cup soymilk
¼ cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup slivered or chopped almonds
2 Tb. sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a nine-inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a small bowl, combine soymilk, applesauce, and extracts.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder. Add wet ingredients and mix until moistened.
4. Place batter in the pan.
5. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and almonds and sprinkle evenly over cake.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

From the Monastery Cookbook (Cheri Huber)

Can also be made in a square “brownie” pan
For community dinners I double the recipe and bake it in a half-sheet pan. This makes about 36 good-sized pieces, although they aren’t as ‘high’ as when the cake is baked in a smaller pan.


JessTrev said...

This is such a great resource. I wish I had this at my fingertips when my little one had an egg allergy! Much better suggestions than "use 5x the usual amount of baking powder" (blecch!). I so appreciate this post!

Mother Earth aka Karen Hanrahan said...

FABULOUS Post !!!!

For those who like that soft butter margarine stuff - try making it instead - soften butter, add olive oil until evenly mixed and the right texture - add a bit of very cold water, voila - soft spread - the trick i guess is that bit of water

also someone said, and darn if i can remember who - that canola oil isn't a good oil source - and I just can't recall why -

me? I rotate my oils - I use olive exclusively for cooking and I buy quality. For baking I rotate between canola and safflower. I like the nut oils too, if the recipe can tolerate it

Did I send you that gingerbread muffin recipe?

Anna (Green Talk) said...

Alline, I need a substitute for condensed sweeten milk or evaporated milk? Evaporated milk is needed for key lime pie. What can I sub with? Tofu?

Alline Anderson said...

HI Anna. Hmmm. Haven't had this particular puzzle! Possibly the solids in a can of coconut milk -let the can sit, cut the lid off, and after pouring off the liquid a nice creamy sweetish cream is left...

OR you might have more luck going with a written-to-be-vegan recipe for Key Lime Pie.

This uses soy milk:

This uses Tofutti (non-dairy) Cream Cheese - (great stuff, available in the "natural foods" refridgerated aisle at bigger groceries - I use it in 'cream cheese' frosting for carrot cake for my vegan friends:

and here's another using Tofutti:

and this one uses a mango (!) and soy milk. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

sumari said...

cute picture of Baloo!!