A Beginner’s Guide to Vegan Baking with All-Natural Ingredients (Part 1)

We’re thrilled to have Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs here to talk about vegan baking! So without further ado…

When I first switched to a purely vegan diet, my immediate concerns were not “how will I replace meat?” or “what will I use in grilled cheese sandwiches?” or even, “how will I get my calcium/protein/B12?” (as a Holistic Nutritionist, I already knew the answers to those questions).

No, my immediate—and most pressing—concern was, “how on earth will I bake?” I’ve been baking my whole life and couldn’t imagine doing it without butter, eggs, or dairy.

I needn’t have worried. A little Googling, a little blog reading, the purchase of a couple of key cookbooks, and I was baking again in no time—with my creativity in the kitchen just as much alive and well as always.  If you’ve got any doubts that you can whip up indulgent, rich, and totally satisfying desserts as a vegan baker, doubt no more!

Here’s a handy guide to easing into plant-based baking and how to replace cholesterol-rich, saturated fat-laden, animal-heavy ingredients in your sweet treats.

Rely on the Experts

When you first begin a journey into vegan baking, it’s best to take advantage of expert vegan chefs and use their already-proven recipes, designed with vegan ingredients and proportions in mind.  Some of my favorite vegan cookbooks for baked goods include:

Simple Treats by Ellen Abraham (without refined sugar or wheat, these are healthy and delicious goodies, but do have some specialty ingredients).

Any book by Dreena Burton (The Everyday Vegan, Vive le Vegan, or Eat, Drink and Be Vegan).  Relying on healthier ingredients like maple syrup, spelt flour, and oats, Burton is the queen of healthy vegan baking!  Her Homestyle Chocolate Chip cookies are a well-loved classic, and one that all of your friends and family—vegan or not—will adore.

Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  This was one of the first all-vegan cookbooks I bought, and it contains many time-tested recipes for delicious baked goods, from Sweet Potato Pie to Gingerbread Cookies to Peach Cobbler.

Sweet Freedom is my cookbook of all-natural dessert recipes based on those from my organic bakery, all made without refined sugars or wheat (some are gluten free, but most use spelt). You’ll find Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Fudgy Brownies, Chocolate Layer Cake with sugarfree “Buttercream” Frosting, Lemon-Blueberry Scones, and more in the book, plus a whole chapter on ingredient substitutions. (Obviously, I’d highly recommend this one!).

Okay! Now that you’re feeling adventurous, how about playing in the kitchen and converting some conventional recipes into vegan versions?

Check out part 2 of this post tomorrow!

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