Monday, July 23, 2012
How many times have your brought baked good in to work only to find out that half of your colleagues are vegan? Vegetarian is pretty easy to accomodate, but there is just something about eggs and butter than you cannot easily replace. This weekend I decided to try out some vegan baking. Be on the lookout for additional posts!
Old Eggs & Prior Research
Let’s be perfectly clear, I am talking about baking and not reproduction :) There are definitely references in some comic movies such as “Baby Mama” and “Get Smart” to “old eggs.”
Before this weekend I compiled a list of substitutes for various animal byproducts in an effort to just “replace” ingredients in my yummy baked goods. I also realized that my eggs were well past the expiration date and while they passed the “sink or swim” water test to indicate they were still edible, a month seemed a bit too old to trust, so I decided to dive in and try to make some vegan cookies!
Flax Seed Meal
Seemed to be a recommended replacement for eggs where binding was necessary. Tablespoon and 1/4 water per egg to replace.
Sounding more appetizing, 1/4 cup applesauce per egg when binding was not required.
Seemed to be easy since I thought it was all vegetable oil. I was shocked to see “contains milk,soy” on the back of the store brand! There was talk about the “Lite” version of Smart Balance, but further research online and on the label revealed that “Palm Oil / Palm Fruit” was an ingredient. Most of us know that products using Palm Oil like Girl Scout Cookies are causing habitat for the Orangutan and other species of that region to be destroyed. Being the Zoo volunteer that I am, I can in no way knowingly consume products containing Palm Oil. So, the suggestion had to be tossed out.
Friday, 20 July 2012
Series of Events
Picked up some applesauce to replace eggs and was about to add margarine when I discovered that their was milk in the margarine! AHHH! So, I consulted my handy research page and thought, oh, I can just replace the margarine with applesauce too.
Mixing all the ingredients together, I did not have a very good consistency. In fact, I don’t think any amount of time in the frige or freezer would help my cookies be anything than complete flat blobs. So…I added some flour to help soak up some of the applesauce juice which I believe was the root cause of the issue. Granted there was 2 cups of apple sauce in the recipe to replace the 2 eggs and 1.5 cups of margarine.
They Are Cookies!
Baking commenced and they looked more like molasses cookies when I took them out. To my surprise they were hard to the touch! Success I thought. Taking one bite I discovered they were a bit chewy, and cake like, probably from the extra flour that I tossed in to help get a firmer consistency. Not impressed :( I took them to the National Zoo that next day with the warning that they were experimental cookies. I had a few nice comments, no one complains about free food, but I was not around to check the trash can for partial cookies either.
Saturday, 21 July 2012
Mission: Gingersnaps and Chocolate Chip Cookies
A bit more ambitious to try out a few different combinations since the 100% applesauce route was not the way to go.
Series of Events
This time I made 3 batches of cookies trying out different substitutes. Sure, I could have found a vegan recipe online, but would that be fun? Also, if I could find out a general rule of substitution, then I could theoretically take any recipe and turn it vegan! That is much more exciting a prospect.
Gingersnap Batch 2
Substituted eggs with applesauce and found a vegetable spread which did not contain milk.
Not bad. They were pretty flat, and very soft, but actually edible! They had a closer consistency to their non-vegan relatives.
Gingersnap Batch 3
Substituted eggs with flax seed meal/water and found a vegetable spread which did not contain milk.
Not bad. They were pretty flat, and very soft, but actually edible! They had a closer consistency to their non-vegan relatives. I could not tell them apart from the ones with Applesauce in them.
Chocolate Chip Batch 1
Substituted eggs with applesauce and used vegetable shortening to replace the margarine. Also had to get more expensive Girardelli chocolate chips which did not contain milk or milk fat.
Pretty darn good! They were again flat, but quite yummy and stayed together well.
Looks like the vegetable shortening came out in the end as having a harder consistency which helped the cookies stay together better. As much as I prefer the spread as it was lower in fat, those cookies seemed to be almost too soft, but again, I did not try to make the Chocolate Chip with the spread. That will be cookie batch 5 coming up this weekend! You can’t compare apples to oranges :)