Looking for ways to cut down on meat and dairy products, or trying to transition to veganism altogether? After exchanging a few traditional baking ingredients for vegan items, you will see how simple it can be to make these changes without sacrificing your favorite treats - especially around Valentine's Day!
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you’ve probably got your mind on baking and sweet treats no matter what your relationship status. Let our five simple vegan baking swaps make your Valentine’s delicacies all the more special!
Eggs: flax eggs
While flax eggs and chicken eggs do not cook exactly the same way, this replacement works well in baked goods like muffins and biscuits. I recently made peanut butter cookies using flax eggs and they turned out perfectly chewy and moist!
When a recipe calls for one egg, combine one tablespoon or seven grams of flaxseed meal and three tablespoons or 45 millilitres of warm water. You should be able to find flaxseed meal in the supermarket, but you can always grind flaxseeds at home using a coffee grinder, food processor, or even a mortar and pestle.
Eggs: mashed banana
The goopy texture of mashed banana shares its consistency with flax eggs and plain old eggs themselves; it helps to bind dry ingredients together. In my house, we love making vegan pancakes using mashed bananas. As an added benefit, bananas bring a subtle sweetness to whatever you're cooking. Keep this in mind especially if your recipe calls for a lot of sugar!
To replace one egg, use a fork to mash half of a banana and add it in!
Eggs and cream: blended silken tofu
I once made chocolate orange mousse with blended tofu, and while it wasn’t as light as egg-based mousse, I enjoyed the slightly thicker, richer texture that the tofu added. Silken tofu can also be used to make custards and cheesecakes.
The key to using this ingredient in desserts is making sure you have the right kind. Savoury dishes usually call for firm tofu, whereas cream replacements require lighter, silken tofu. This will help to ensure that you don’t end up with a gritty texture, as long as you blend the tofu until there are absolutely no lumps - even the size of sand granules!
Cream: coconut milk and/or blended avocados
These are great cream replacements as well, but are thinner than tofu if you are looking to make a lighter dessert. Coconut milk and blended avocados would be excellent substitutes in dishes like pots de crème and truffles.
Blended avocados, in particular, can often act like butter and heavy cream at the same time, notably in frostings. Just make sure your avocados are ripe before you mash them, or they won’t have that buttery, creamy texture you need.
To replace cream with coconut milk, chill a can overnight and use only the thick layer at the top.
Butter: coconut oil
Coconut oil has long been a popular ingredient in both vegan and non-vegan cooking. It adds great, and in my opinion buttery, flavour (which is why I love using coconut oil to pop popcorn), and is an especially fantastic alternative when baking.
Need another great use for coconut oil? Whip up some homemade vegan chocolate. It’s as simple as mixing cocoa powder, melted coconut oil, and honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup, depending on your preference. After that, spoon it onto parchment paper and refrigerate or freeze it - and voilà! You’ve got homemade, melt-in-your-mouth vegan chocolate.
Most vegan substitutes can be used in more than one way. Mashed bananas, for instance, can also replace butter. That’s the great thing about vegan ingredients - they are fun to play around with and the sky is the limit!