Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet
Baking gluten-free and vegan translates to one simple truth that is hard to teach. Because it can only be learned by experience. This one simple truth? Unlearn everything you think you know- or thought you understood- about baking. All those mandatory Home Economics classes about kneading bread dough for ten minutes to improve elasticity or leavening a cake with beaten egg whites won't help your inner Betty Crocker to bloom if you're gluten-free and vegan. In fact, clinging to old notions about what works- and what doesn't- might lead you down a rather prickly circuitous path to ruin. Not to mention, your personal Culinary Museum of Failure. But don't let this bare-bones truth inhibit you.
These vegan desserts are here to prove that you don’t need butter, eggs, or cream to create something that’s sweet, rich, and decadent. Once you stock your pantry with a few simple ingredients, making knockout vegan desserts couldn’t be easier. Keep coconut oil on hand to take the place of butter, start reaching for ground flaxseed instead of eggs, and invest in a bottle of pure maple syrup. You might be surprised to find that you don’t miss the dairy or eggs one bit!
In 2021, plant-based food is hip, smart, and socially responsible, and it’s possible to find not only a really good vegan croissant but also a copycat Levain Bakery cookie. I’m thrilled. But back in 2009, when I first went from vegetarian to vegan, there was little to look forward to in the way of baked goods. I didn’t miss the meat or the mozz, I missed the birthday cake, my grandmother’s butter tarts, and banana cream pie.
Out of necessity, I rolled up my sleeves, put on an apron, and started to bake, nearly once a week for the past 12 years. My guides were Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and pretty much everything else Isa Chandra Moskowitz published too. I followed recipes obsessively, never swapping and never substituting. And I learned—a lot.
Fast-forward to today, when I can’t even remember the last time I baked from a vegan recipe. I’m always riffing to make baked goods that suit my tastes, what I have in the pantry and the season. I feel empowered to take snacking cakes, scones, cookies, loaves, bars, and muffins that weren’t intended to be vegan and customize them to what I’m craving.
Veganism is an enormous topic encompassing nutrition, animal protection, food politics, and more. In this short piece, I’ll introduce the concept and explain why it’s easy and sensible to embrace. The word vegan was originally defined as a diet free of meat, dairy products, and eggs. The term now also refers to any item, from shoes to shampoo, made without animal products. Vegan diets offer compelling advantages on several fronts. They keep farm animals out of slaughterhouses and factory farms. Choosing vegan foods can also benefit your health and protect the environment.
Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet
These delicious, healthier bakes come together in minutes, with just a few key ingredients. No dairy, eggs, or cream here, just simple, healthy ingredients like almond butter, oat flour, cocoa powder, banana, and maple syrup. Eat this pre-baked oat muffin recipe on the go, or throw one in the oven and enjoy it warm right out of the oven.
Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet – This chocolatey, peanut buttery, gooey baked oat bar is packed full of protein and fiber, making it a filling and healthy choice for a sweet afternoon snack. Packed with all the goodies you need, and all that you can eat, this healthy vegan oat bar is perfect for those on the go.
Divine vegan desserts are everywhere, but so are the fast, easy ways to make them at home. These vegan cakes, cupcakes, and brownies all take under an hour to prepare and require no refrigeration. Homemade vegan ice cream is perfect when you have some ripe bananas or frozen peaches to use up.
If you don’t have an ice cream machine, this recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking is a great way to get that satisfyingly rich ice cream without the dairy. Just blend some ingredients together, pour them into your ice cream maker, and you’ll have ice cream that’s more vegan than the real thing.
It's really all about learning to be flexible. Learning to bake your way, whatever the challenge at hand. There are so many times in life that people are allowed to take a little more time to perfect the art of their craft. Whether it's a few extra minutes to meticulously perfect their potpourri (or less, to have fun with it).
Or the truly vital three minutes that they spend you, learning a new dance step before a big performance. Where the true artistry lies is allowing yourself to stop doing what you think you have to do- and start doing what you love- for yourself and the ones you love.
First off, realize you're in this new hybrid gluten-free and vegan world alone. Don't expect your friends or family to bake as you do. Don't ask. Don't tell. No one's baking as you do- because there is no recipe for vegan baking – not yet anyway. So, if you want to meet your sweet tooth with your heart, you're on your own. I don't recommend avoiding baked goods.
There are so many great baked goods out there that satisfy the creative and tactile craving to create. We're talking cookies, cakes, brownies, pies and cakes! What you won't find? Baked goods with “eggs” in them or flaxseed. You won't find many gluten-free cookies or cakes because they are difficult and expensive to make (and please, don't even suggest a vegan chocolate chip cookie).
Vegan Baking Essentials
Vanilla extract: Vanilla beans are another great way to add that rich flavour you’re looking for without the dairy. This simple pantry item is rich with tropical notes like coconut and mango and has a mild vanilla flavour that pairs perfectly with fruits and baked goods. When you’re ready to get creative, try infusing pure vanilla extract with fruits or herbs like cinnamon or lavender.
Fresh baking powder: Homemade baking powder is easier to make than you think, and it tastes just as good as the store-bought version. A little flour and baking powder combined with some water is all it takes to make your own, and you can thank for the increased potency of baking powder to create a softer crumb.
Yogurt: If your preferred desserts call for sour cream or cream, keep some plain yogurt on hand to substitute for the egg in a well-known recipe. If your preferred desserts call for sour cream or cream, keep some plain yogurt on hand to substitute for the egg in a well-known recipe.
Coconut milk: Substitute a cup of coconut milk for the heavy cream in a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe and you’ll have something worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records. Substitute a cup of coconut milk for the heavy cream in a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe and you’ll have something worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records.
Oat milk: Coconut, soy, and almond milk are all fine in place of cow’s milk.
Coconut oil is an ingredient you need to have on hand. It is an extremely versatile cooking and baking ingredient. You can add it to your own recipes to replace butter or oil. Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is known for its multitude of health benefits.
The Basics Of Vegan Baking
Vegan baking is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to eat a healthier lifestyle. There are literally endless ways to switch up your normal routine, from changing the kinds of fruits you choose to adding cinnamon or vanilla extract to your dry ingredients, vegan baking is much less intimidating than many people think.
If you’re vegan but don’t know where to start, the most important thing to know is that the exact same health benefits as in conventional baking apply in vegan baking as well. The only thing you might have to do is shop a little more carefully since you might not be using as many additives.
Vegan baking is usually much easier than baking with eggs. All you need to have on hand is salt, sugar, flour, and water. However, there are a few tricks to making delicious vegan desserts that are not only vegan but also fluffy and light. It’s a process that you’ll learn through trial and error, but trust me: once you’ve gotten the hang of it, the baking is effortless and you’ll be baking like a pro.
The Beginner-Friendly Recipe
Our main dish is one of our family’s favourites, especially after a big meal: double chocolate brownies. This recipe yields enough for two large desserts, and it’s so easy to make, it couldn’t be easier. Start by melting the chocolate and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat. After it has melted, stir in the peanut butter and honey.
Coconut milk – When I first started using coconut milk, I could barely imagine it as a substitute for dairy, since I’d never thought to look for a milk alternative that tasted the way it did. When my thoughts changed to coconut milk, I knew I’d found a winner! I use a whole can of this shelf-stable coconut milk in baking, but you can also use coconut water if you’d like.
The flavour is surprisingly similar, and the texture is creamy and satisfying, without the texture of butter. Ground flaxseed Yes, I have to use flaxseed in my baking recipes, and I’m sure it feels strange to many people, but hear me out: there’s no more nutrition in ground flaxseed than there is in other whole foods.
One of the biggest, most versatile baking staples for vegan desserts is maple syrup. Try it in this coconut-pecan loaf, then turn it into a vegan white sauce to use with any type of macaroni and cheese. Use it to sweeten smoothies, replace some or all of the sugar in your recipe with pure maple syrup, or top a plate of desserts with it. It’s amazing what you can do with a little maple syrup!
The Vegan Pantry
Pancakes, waffles, cookies, bread, oatmeal, brownies, cakes, pies, and more. These recipes take advantage of ingredients you might not even think to use, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good they are. You probably have a ton of dessert recipes that require butter, eggs, and milk.
You probably also have a lot of recipes that call for things like chocolate chips, nuts, and fresh fruit, and maybe even a little bit of sugar. This recipe for no-bake cupcakes takes out all the unnecessary ingredients to offer a super delicious baked treat. This recipe requires the use of coconut oil, sweetener, applesauce, and powdered sugar.
This superfood power list was designed with beginners in mind, but seasoned kitchen professionals and health-conscious folks alike will love it too. The recipes here are full of healthy plant-based ingredients, nutrient-dense superfoods, and nutritious spices. These are all-time favourites for those who have dedicated themselves to a healthier diet, as well as the next generation of healthy eaters looking for a shortcut to good health.
Best Vegan Soups
With fall in full swing, there’s no better time to make soups for dinner or put together a quick meal to take to a friend. These vegan soups, though, are made with seasonal produce that will satisfy even the most hearty of eaters. It’s all a matter of which veggie your soup pairings are.
What Is Veganism?
Though most people still associate veganism with a diet high in meat and dairy, that’s not exactly true. A vegan diet is one that emphasizes the wholesomeness and purity of animal-products foods and avoids any sort of animal products whatsoever, whether that’s by avoiding animal byproducts like milk and eggs or by avoiding meat altogether. This is more than just a dietary choice, however; it’s a lifestyle and an especially ethical one at that.
Veganism takes a stand against animal cruelty, condemning any and all forms of animal exploitation and showing the connection between animals and humans. With the growing rate of environmental destruction, it is also an effort to minimize our impact on the planet.
Vegans don’t eat or use animal products of any kind. However, there are many different ways to be vegan. Some people follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet that restricts them from eating any animal products. The vegetarians in this list do not use dairy, eggs, or even honey (for those with a honey allergy).
Other vegans rely solely on whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, and nuts. Advocating for our animal companions and advocating for compassion and kindness goes beyond the confines of a vegan diet. Advocates for animal rights extend to plant-based eating, non-violence, the use of renewable resources, animal welfare, the environment, and sustainable living.
Vegans avoid all animal products, including meat, eggs, dairy, and honey. It’s not really necessary to go into much detail about the differences between vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians — the label vegan is simply a personal choice. Some people don’t consume animal products for health or moral reasons, while others believe that animal products have no place on the planet. Regardless of why you follow a vegan lifestyle, there are many ways to eat more plant-based foods in your diet.
Baking With Vegan Ingredients
Vegan Cheat Sheet – Make your own vegan chocolate bar. All you need are cashews, cocoa powder, cacao butter, powdered sugar, and the sweetener of your choice. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and pour the mixture into the popsicle moulds.
Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
This vegan chocolate cookie recipe features dark chocolate morsels blended into a buttery batter. To save time in the kitchen, use a food processor instead of an ice cream scoop to form the cookies. Then, go back and add a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter. Who can resist these crunchy, peanut buttery cookies? They’re so delicious, you won’t even miss the chocolate.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Almond Butter Chip Cookies
This tasty cookie recipe takes coconut oil, cacao butter, coconut flour, and almond butter to create a rich, fudgy treat. Don’t be fooled by the sweet, creamy filling.
What Is Vegan?
The Oxford dictionary defines vegan as: “of or relating to a person who follows a diet consisting primarily of or consisting only of plants or a plant-based diet.” When I say vegan, it’s likely that you’re thinking of someone who doesn’t eat animal products such as eggs, dairy, and honey.
But a vegan is not necessarily someone who eats those products or anything that comes from them. That term has an almost mythical and weirdly restrictive, dairy and egg-free definition that, if you think about it, is just ridiculous. So, what does a vegan eat? If you take this definition to heart, you could make the argument that a vegan is anyone who eats foods that are directly derived from plants, and doesn’t eat anything that was grown in an animal.
Peanut Butter Apple Crisp
Making this vegan dessert is easy. Just add some ingredients to your pantry to create a yummy sweet-tart pie in less than 30 minutes. Top with a creamy peanut butter topping, and enjoy!
Coconut Cream Pie
This coconut cream pie uses simple ingredients like mashed bananas, soy yogurt, applesauce, and mashed coconut. Then you just spread the filling between two chocolate cookies and pop them in the oven. The result? A luscious, velvety chocolate cookie crust with a filling full of fresh fruit and creamy coconut goodness.
Benefits Of Veganism
If you're just learning about baking, take note: gluten-free baked goods are an astonishingly diverse category. Dairy-free bread and cookies can be delicious with little effort. All it takes is a bit of research and forethought to experiment with vegan recipes. Even if you're vegan and gluten-free, baking a whole lot of cookies and bread at the same time will not adversely affect your health. Unless you're eating dairy or gluten-free, just live your life. It's that easy.
No Baking Classes Required
For a vegan, there's no need for Home Economics to learn to bake. It's a vegan's wild oats to sow. No traditional baking methods will be required to bake in this foodie world we live in now. Foodies can create anything they want.
All grain bread and flour are gluten-free means that you can make these bread without fear. But those functional benefits only scratch the surface. The real plus here is the fact that you can make all kinds of tasty, open-face sandwiches, with a crumbled slice of bread slathered with delicious spreads, without any added fat.
Just try telling a vegan sandwich junkie that meat analogues are truly better! If you're not one, I can hear your inner monologue: “No-way, nuthin', they're mangling meat, just because they contain animal products. Riiight…” But if you haven't had a sandwich in a while, you might be missing out. There are loads of reasons to replace your crusty roll with a yummy piece of this plant-based delicacy.
While dairy is always a popular topic on the vegan blogosphere, these recipes make it a little less vegan-friendly. Most of the techniques that make vegan baking so successful involve adding eggs, dairy, or oils. But many are a bit more difficult to do without, especially if you’re like me and prefer to bake vegan desserts with just a few simple and reliable ingredients.
Some folks are totally okay with that, and some are not, but the fact of the matter is that vegan baking is a lot more forgiving than most conventional recipes. You have more leeway to create delicious treats if you know what you’re doing. With a little practice, you’ll be churning out flawless vegan desserts that are just as satisfying and decadent as anything you’d ever find at a conventional bakery.
I trust you enjoyed reading the article about the Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet. Please stay tuned. There are more blog posts to come very shortly.
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Ideas? Thoughts? Questions? I would love to hear from you. Would you please leave me your questions, experience, and remarks about the Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet in the comments section below? You can also reach me by email at Jeannette@LivingTheVeganLifestyle.org.