When it comes to vegan baking, recipes can seem overwhelming (Have you ever wondered what a chia egg is and where it could possibly come from? (Keep reading!). Most recipes can easily be made vegan with a few simple ingredient changes. If you plan on having a vegan friend over for dessert or are delving into vegan baking for you (or simply just ran out of eggs), keep reading.
Veg baked goods require a bit more finesse and creativity than traditional baked goods, but the results are worth it. Often vegan baked goods are more flavorful, filling and leave you feeling better than in you inhale a cake with day, bloat-inducing dairy or the jittery roller coaster of a refined sugar dessert.
- Swap part of the butter for mashed fruit, such as applesauce or banana, which is not a strong flavor but will lend moistness and provide natural sweetener. You can also use ½ a mashed banana to substitute an egg in most baked goods, or a small amount of mashed yam.
- In place of honey, you can use maple syrup in any recipe.
- Use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and nondairy milk in lieu of buttermilk (1 cup of nondairy milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar for every cup of buttermilk.)
- Use ground chia seeds with water as an egg substitute. For chia “eggs”, the ratio of water to chia is 3 to 1, and you’ll want to set aside the water/chia egg to thicken and gel (about 3-5 minutes) before using in the recipe.
Healthy Baking tips:
- Most baked goods: muffins, sweet bread, and cakes, can be made healthier by reducing the sugar by 1/4 to 1/2 cup less than what it calls for. You can also sub maple syrup with less than the sugar (2/3 cup of maple syrup for every 1 cup of sugar. You just have to reduce the liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup and reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees).
- Sub some of the regular or gluten-free flour with almond meal, or better yet, what I will dub “power flour”: half almond meal, a fourth quinoa or sweet potato flour and a fourth ground chia or flax.
In this Zucchini Brownie recipe, maple syrup is used in place of refined sugar, and coconut milk and apple cider vinegar replaces traditional buttermilk for a fluffy, delicious texture.
This is a pretty moist brownie (sorry, I know everyone hates the word “moist,” but I really don’t know what else to call it). It’s a melt-in-your-mouth, richly chocolate dessert. If you prefer a drier crumbly texture, or more like a traditional brownie, use only one cup of zucchini, and 1-1/2 cups of gluten-free flour.
Cacao Zucchini Brownies
1-1/3 cup gluten-free flour (I used coconut flour, garbanzo bean flour, brown rice flour and potato).
Feel free to use your favorite mix or flour of choice.
1/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (corn-free of course)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
A sprinkling of sea salt
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/3 cup zucchini
optional: 1/3 cup nondairy chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line pan with a silpat or parchment paper and spritz with coconut oil or oil of choice. I used a 9×13″ pan and the brownies were pretty thin. For a thicker brownie, reduce the zucchini a little and use a smaller pan.
2. Pour coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a glass or bowl, stir and set aside to curdle and thicken.
3. Shred zucchini and pat with a paper towel to remove some of the moisture.
4. Whisk dry ingredients.
5. Stir together wet ingredients, and add dry to wet, folding in chips last.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7. Let cool on a wire rack then enjoy! It’s great warm and fresh from the oven or cool as leftovers (if you have any!)