I apologise to my oh so complient family for my latest fixation. When I get an idea of a challenge or project I get very enthusiastic about it. Last year running and poetry took centre stage, previously it was baking my own bread, learning to crochet, the list could go on! Currently, as of right now, my enthusiasm is cemented in quilting and veganism. I know I said I had no intention of being a proper vegan, and I still don’t not really, but the more I think about it the more it makes some sort of sense. *see end of post
Since deciding to try a half-hearted approach to Veganuary, I’ve become interested in vegan baking. In a past life I was an obsessive baker; cakes, muffins, lovely sweet sugary treats were always available. But not so much any more. But with a vegan challenge comes a vegan baking challenge. Can vegan cakes be as good as those containing egg? I think not, but am willing to be proved wrong, so vegan baking is my new thing!
Today, I made coconut almond cookies with cacao nibs and chocolate ginger brownies. Interestingly I’ve learnt that Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate does not contain any milk products, and that cocoa powder is also vegan.
Cookies – possibly the easiest cookies I’ve ever made, they look great, smell great and taste great. The dough rolled into balls easily without sticking to my hands and they didn’t get stuck to the baking tray either. Although they were delicious, the coconut oil overpowered the almond flavour, so I’m not sure it’s worth using ground almonds when flour costs a lot less. I will definitely bake these again and play around with the recipe.
(I didn’t have any desiccated coconut so used spelt flour instead)
Brownies – let’s face it brownies aren’t exactly the most difficult of cakes to make but these were likewise easy to make, they smelt lovely and tasted pretty good. The addition of crystallised ginger was my idea and works quite well but maybe not as good as I’d imagined. The outer crust was deliciously crisp and we’re yet to get to the hopefully gooey centre squares. The recipe I used included a half teaspoon of coffee granules but I will probably leave that out next time as, if anything, it added too much bitterness.
(I substituted the ground almonds for flour as I’d used all my ground almonds in the cookies, and the cherries with 35g crystallised ginger)
In conclusion so far so good! Vegan baking hasn’t died a death just yet… to be continued.
* More on why I think veganism makes sense…
I’m not talking about the welfare of cows and chickens as I’m sure there will be a spectrum from well cared for to inhumane. For a moment assume I’m a vegetarian, which I sort of mostly am, and that I consume cows milk (e.g. in chocolate), and eat eggs, which I most definitely do.
The dairy cow that produces the milk in the chocolate that I buy is slaughtered when she no longer produces enough. Is this any better than cattle that are reared and slaughtered for beef?
When chicks are born the males are killed as they a) don’t lay eggs no kidding, and b) don’t fatten up enough for meat. In order to produce the eggs that I love, let’s say 50% of chicks have to be killed just because they’re male, so how is eating eggs an acceptable thing for vegetarians?
I’m beginning to question the whole moral stance of vegetarianism and veering towards an all or nothing approach.