Adventures In Vegan Baking
Apparently my baking spurts come in twos. Remember last time when I un-veganized two recipes? Well, this time, I made two vegan baked treats! A few thoughts on vegan baking before I tempt you with recipes and pictures…
Many people assume, myself often included, that vegan baking is inherently healthier. True, it does not contain nearly as much saturated fat or cholesterol, and homemade baked goods don’t contain the preservatives and additives that come from a box. However, vegan treats often contain as much, if not more, sugar than regular baked goods. After reading this article on the toxicity of sugar in the NY Times and this post about giving up sugar by another food blogger, it has made me re-think sugar once again. This article makes bold claims about the health risks of sugar – it is not just linked to obesity, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, but also to cancer. Research has shown that sugar is handled by our bodies differently, and that 100 calories of sugar will indeed make us fatter than 100 calories of protein. So that leaves me with some questions, and I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you feel like vegan baking is healthier, and why? Are you more concerned with the fat content of a dish, or the sugar content? How do you feel about the arguments presented in this article? Does it affect your views on the amount of sugar you consume?
This is a hard time to read this article, with the holidays right around the corner! So many of our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions center around food. With Christmas cookie season around the corner, it is important to be both mindful of the amount of sugar we consume, but also thankful for the tradition and celebration of the Christmas season. I am convinced that added sugar should be avoided, and will continue to keep my daily sugar intake to a minimum. But who am I to avoid a homemade treat? Especially when it is as delicious as these vegan baked goods!
This Black Bean Brownie recipe from No Meat Athlete may be the best vegan brownie I have tasted. The texture is great, and the chocolate flavor is rich. The coffee flavor comes through a bit too strong in the way the recipe is written, so I would cut that down if you aren’t looking for a mocha flavor. I want to try to cut down a bit on the sugar for the next time I make these as well, but they are definitely on the favorite dessert list!
Another favorite dessert: these vegan chocolate cupcakes. The last time I made these, my friend declared that she dreamt about them that night. So how could you not make her a batch for her birthday? The cupcakes themselves are pretty healthy – whole wheat, low-fat, and low sugar. The icing will give you a sugar high, though, but what icing won’t? I changed up the frosting this time, adding peppermint extract instead of coffee to make them Chocolate Peppermint cupcakes! The vegan Peppermint Frosting Recipe is below!
If vegan baking can’t put you in the holiday spirit, then maybe some Christmas music will! Now, many sticklers out there will argue that Christmas music shouldn’t be played until Friday, after Thanksgiving festivities are finished. However, my friend has unofficially declared November 15th as the first acceptable day for Christmas music, decorating, baking, and holiday cheer. That marks 40 days until Christmas, so why not celebrate?
And what better way to celebrate the start of the holiday season than with my church’s latest album? They have been working hard since the summer to record some reworked Chrismas classics, as well as some original Indie Christmas tunes. You can stream it here. Take a listen and let me know what your favorite track is (mine is #6!)
Vegan Peppermint Icing
adapted from this recipe
1/4 cup Earth balance buttery stick, room temperature
1/8 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
7 peppermint candies
In a small bowl with a hand mixer, whip together the butter, milk, and peppermint extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting is a desired consistency (should be stiff and smooth). Finely crush the peppermint candies. After icing the cupcakes, roll lightly in the crushed candies.