Whether you are trying to cut down on those extra calories or planning to go 100% vegan, baking and deserts don’t have to be eliminated completely. Giving up on those delicious treats entirely can be a difficult decision and not to mention completely unnecessary. This way, even the most health conscious of all as well as fitness enthusiasts can equally enjoy and treat themselves with the deliciousness of baked goods.
If you are a beginner, at trying your hand at vegan or gluten free diet, then you might have limited options, as such food items are not readily available at your favourite restaurants or bakeries. Home-made might be your only choice, and even then, you might be perplexed as to what ingredients to choose. You’d be surprised to know that almost all such ingredients have a vegan alternative that can be used in their place without diminishing the taste quality. In fact such versions of baked goods turn out to be even more nutritionally beneficial!
You need only to search the web, and you can easily find a lot of recipes, and an alternate for every food, or baked desserts. The internet is brimming with vegan food bloggers sharing recipes on all things vegan. One example of such a blog is that of Feasting on Fruit, by a writer, photographer and vegan food enthusiast Natalie, who shares sweet & sugary and sometimes even savoury recipes that use fruit in some form or another to create better versions of classic and traditional deserts that are wholesome as well as nutritious.
Before you start on this journey, you need to know a three basic principles when it comes to vegan cooking. The first and foremost of which is about replacing eggs, the most essential of baking ingredients. Then comes the substitutes for fats like butter and then the alternatives for milk and cream.
- Substitutes for Eggs: Eggs play a major role in the binding of all ingredients in almost every desert. They also add that extra color and flavor and help in the rising of baked food like cakes. You need not worry about finding these replacements, as they are easily available in your local grocery or supermarket. However, once you do find them, you will never again need eggs for baking deserts.
- Flax eggs or Chia eggs: Flax seeds and chia seeds can be used as egg re-placers in those dishes that already have a slightly nutty flavor, as these seeds can help enhance the taste of these deserts. It can be used in cookies, muffins and quick breads. For each egg that you need to replace , add one tablespoon of ground fklax seeds to three tablespoons of water, and let it it sit for some time before use. Similarly for chia seeds, use the same ratio, but remember to grind the chia seeds before soaking. Use white chia seeds instead of the black seeds to prevent the color from staining these foods.
- Fruit purees: Applesauce and mashed bananas are also some really good options that do the same job as eggs and add even more in terms of flavor and goodness.
- Substitutes for Fats: There are a lot of options including coconut oil, neutral plant oils like canola oil, vegetable oils and olive oil. Nut oils or butters like cashew butter, almond butter and peanut butter are also good substitutes.
- Substitute for milk & cream: Some non-diary milks and plant-based milks like coconut milk, soy milk and almond milk are equally good but you have to choose them smartly as these milks vary in their thickness and taste,so choose the one that best blends with the dish that you are making. Similarly for cream substitutes like coconut cream or vegan whipped cream made from soy can also be used.