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The holidays are upon us, and as this crazy year draws to a close, you deserve to sit back and enjoy a nice baked treat!
If you’re like us, you may not be trying to win any Great Bake-Off competitions, but you still want to be able to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings in a delicious, vegan-friendly way. Here are some great baking hacks for you to try!
While vegan baking may be a tad easier than vegan cooking, because not too many sweet treats have meat in them, many staple ingredients in a baker’s arsenal are made of or contain animal products. Here are some hack to help with ingredient substitution.
There are tons of non-dairy options for milk substitutes, but when it comes to baking, they are not all equal. According to the Food Network, almond milk is the best milk to use for baking because it is a one-to-one substitute and the flavor is subtle and naturally sweet. Oat milk, coconut milk, and soy milk are great choices for a thicker and richer dairy substitute.
You can also easily turn it into buttermilk by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to one cup of almond milk.
Like milk, it is fairly easy to find vegan butter substitutes in the supermarket – giants like Country Crock and In Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter offer vegan options, and Earth Balance is a well-known non-dairy and non-GMO spread too.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also substitute applesauce, pumpkin puree, and other pureed fruits in as well – they only add a slight flavor and are a healthy and fun alternative to butter substitutes and oils.
Egg replacers are an easy fix for this one, of course. But if you want something that acts as a slightly better binder, for one egg you can sub in ½ of a medium banana (the spotty and brown ones work best), ¼ cup applesauce (or other pureed fruit), and even flax or chia seeds in a 1 to 3 ratio with water. Tapioca starch works as a great binder and doesn’t change the sweetness or texture of your baked goods. Aquafaba (the liquid in canned chickpeas) is also a great stand-in for egg whites. Remove the chickpeas from the liquid and save for another recipe, then whip the reserved liquid. The aquafaba will transform into a merengue-like texture and can be used in a similar fashion to egg whites.
While butter products do need to be substituted, Crisco is plant-based and mostly acceptable in vegan baking. In the past, the only gray area ingredient was palm oil – while inherently vegan, if it is not ethically sourced, some vegans argue that it contributes to the destruction of vital animal habitats. However, in 2015, Crisco’s parent company committed to making sure all ingredients were ethically sourced.
Once you’ve created your vegan baking masterpiece, take a moment to relax and enjoy your sweet treat. Pair it with a perfect cup of coffee or cocoa in a vegan mug!