Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
Even just a few months ago, I would have shuddered at the idea of vegan baking. Let’s face it: For us omnivore bakers, some combination of eggs, milk, and butter is key in muffins, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, quick breads, and all our other favorite treats. The idea of removing those lovely ingredients is daunting, at best. I fully expected vegan baking to involve buying a dozen new exotic ingredients like xantham gum, flaxseed, agar agar, egg substitute, butter substitute, and soy milk.
Well, while a lot of vegan cookbooks do call for those things, and I’m sure they expand your options tremendously, you can make vegan muffins with only ONE special ingredient. Yes, one, and not a very unusual or expensive one at that! Heck, if you’re lactose-intolerant or a big fan of soy, you may have it on hand already: Non-dairy milk.
Through some helpful substitution guides online and a little bit of ingenuity, I reinvented my basic banana muffins as vegan banana-chocolate muffins! These muffins held together very well, and had a moist but not heavy texture. If you don’t tell your friends, they won’t be able to tell that these are animal product free! I added some applesauce to compensate for leaving out eggs, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk for a tasty, low-calorie milk substitute. It turns out my favorite type of dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s is already vegan, and I didn’t even know it until I checked the ingredients when shopping for the almond milk!
As a quick note, keep in mind that different people interpret veganism slightly differently. I take it as the generic “No eggs, dairy, meat, or animal products”, but according to my brief internet research some vegans don’t eat granulated sugar, for example. If you’re cooking for someone else with dietary restrictions, ask them what they are and are not able to consume.
Vegan Banana-Chocolate Muffins
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
Small bar of vegan dark chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 72% dark, 1.65 ounces), crushed into small chunks (I used a hammer!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the almond milk, canola oil, vanilla, bananas, and applesauce. Once mixed well, stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate.
Spoon into a greased muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes.
Makes twelve muffins.
Cost per muffin: $0.22
Nutrition per muffin: 163 calories, 7g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 24g carbs, 2g fiber, 2.5g protein