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For bakers, summer provides two problems: heat and swim suits.  It doesn’t take long for the warmth and humidity to send us running out of the kitchen and into the nearest body of water.  Still, desserts must be made and figures kept healthy and beautiful.  To reconcile these opposites, try baking vegan this summer.

Vegan foods are made sans any sort of animal byproducts; without milk, eggs, and butter a baker’s arsenal appears limited, but in fact, it is not.  Many websites such as the Savvy Vegetarian provide comprehensive conversion charts and tips for those unfamiliar with vegan cooking and baking.  To get started, here are a few common ingredients and their vegan counterparts:

-Soy Milk & Almond Milk

-Soy Milk + 2 tablespoons of lemon juice = Buttermilk

– ¾  cup Veggie oil = 1 cup butter

-Heavy coconut cream + lemon = Cream Cheese

– ¼ cup Applesauce = 1 egg

Some desserts are vegan friendly by design while other require a little bit of substituting.  Making the change from “regular” to vegan requires very little effort.  Most vegan components can be found in a well-stocked pantry or a local grocery store.  Even better, these ingredients last longer than their perishable equivalents.  Soy milk and applesauce, for example, do not need to be refrigerated until opened.

If the changes feel overwhelming and unnatural, start small.  Replace one ingredient at time until your original recipe has a vegan version to match it.  Try vegetable oil instead of butter before replacing eggs with applesauce.  The familiar flavor will remain the same; the only thing missing will be trans-fats and cholesterol.

The next time you prepare to make your famous neighborhood barbeque dessert, try going vegan.  Your friends will thank you and ask for seconds as they lick the crumbs from their lips.

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