Mastering Vegan Baking

"WHAT?” I had just told my friend that I was vegan and she freaked out! That was when I knew that being vegan wasn’t going to be easy. “WHAT? NO MEAT? NO DESSERT? NO MILK? NO ANYTHING? WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU GOING TO EAT?” she asked. “Tofu…lots of tofu,” was my very witty response. Honestly, she was right. The first week of being vegan was HARD, but slowly I started to adjust. By week three, I was cooking vegan meals for my family and our guests. It was spectacular, if I do say so myself.

I had always admired vegans and their morals so that was a lot of the reason I became vegan. Another reason was that the companies that raise animals to be slaughtered are just awful, especially the cow farms, so I decided I had had enough! Then I became vegan. After that, things were basically normal again, but I was looking for a challenge…something I hadn’t done yet. Vegan baking!

At first I tried baking without a recipe and failed miserably. But I kept trying and trying and trying, until I was done with failing. I finally looked up a recipe for vegan chocolate-chip cookies. The next day, I heated the oven and baked some cookies. And guess what? They were incredible. My all-time favorite vegan recipe, though, is for these amazing scones that if you didn’t already know were vegan, you would never guess.

Being vegan gives me a sense of fulfillment that I don’t think I previously had, and baking as a vegan is actually really fun, even though it’s a little bit harder. It still has the fun of regular baking, plus some excitement that comes from small discoveries. For example, when baking things that call for butter, I have found that using coconut oil as a substitute works best—plus it gives the baked good a hint of coconut flavor. In most recipes, if it calls for coconut milk, it’s better to use almond milk, just in a smaller portion; the density of the coconut milk can sometimes affect the texture of the pastry—it shrinks the air pockets, thus making the pastry heavier and not quite as enjoyable. When baking with coconut oil, make sure it’s completely melted or it can cause clumps in the dough and affect the finished pastry. And when you make vegan scones, it’s different from the regular dough because it has to be moister to ensure the scones don’t come out dry, so it’s helpful to increase the amount of coconut oil. I really enjoy making the scones so I’ve included the recipe. Please feel free to modify to your own standards; it works a lot of different ways. I hope y’all try out vegan baking—even if it’s just for fun!

By Kat Duende