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Vegan Desserts


NeroW
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Hello everyone, I had forgotten how addictive the Pastry & Baking Forum of eGullet is.

To make a long story short, the owner of the restaurant where I work is frustrated with/ready to dump his vegan baked goods supplier, for the simple reason that she is extremely flaky (yet free of butter--hah!) and that her desserts really aren't that good. But what a shelf life they have . . . :hmmm:

I am underutilized there (working as a barista, not cooking), and he suggested that I take over the vegan baking. :wacko: This is a place that is "known" for being vegan-friendly but it is not a dedicated vegan restaurant.

I like to bake and consider myself OK at it, and I have done it on a large-ish scale at a few country clubs I used to work at. However, I was classically trained and know next-to-nothing about vegan ingredients, the dreaded "substitutes," etc.

Here is what they offer now in the way of vegan desserts:

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie (atrocious, flaccid, misshapen, and I can't even stand to sell it to people)

Vegan Carrot Cake (covered with suspicious white frosting that catches the overhead lighting like semi-gloss paint)

Vegan German Chocolate Cake ( :unsure: )

Vegan Brownies (the least offensive, yet not appealing texture-wise).

I also sell an assortment of vegan smoothies and shakes made with soy chocolate ice cream, a product of Chicago Soydairy, that isn't too bad.

Thanks to the already-existing vegan baking threads in this forum, I've lifted a (Cooks Illustrated) Vegan Chocolate Cake with "Creamy" Chocolate Frosting recipe which I will test shortly and present to the owner. I would like to offer at least two cakes total and an assortment of two or three different cookies/brownies for my vegan customers.

I was toying with a nice fat gingersnap sandwich cookie, the "sandwich" part being a coconut-milk pastry cream . . . then my mind blanked at how I would make pastry cream without eggs or that last beautiful glop of butter :sad: I would love a nice coffee cake recipe, since I *am* a barista :rolleyes:

It's a hard life for a vegan and harder for the vegan baker, non? So I need your help, great sages of eGullet. I was thinking that once this thing gets rolling, in the next few weeks, I could sort of blog my efforts at making palatable vegan baked goods, and maybe that would be educational for us all.

ANY help, ANY advice you can give me--ANY recipes or substitutions you have had success with would be awesome since this place does not have the resources for extensive recipe-tweaking. But please, no vegan-bashing. I don't give a crap what people eat or don't eat, I just don't want to put my name on something as disgusting as that Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie we've got right now. You should see it!

Oh well. There's always banana bread.

Edited by NeroW (log)

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Crazy Chocolate Cake is a cake which many people made during WWII, since there was a scarcity of eggs, butter, and milk. I haven't tried it myself, but have always heard good things about it. Personally, I would substitute some brewed espresso for one of the two cups of water, and lower the sugar, but I happen to like my chocolate bittersweet. I would also lower the salt, but again, that's my personal taste. Here's a link to one version of the recipe, along with ratings and reviews:

http://www.recipezaar.com/53524

Here's a vegan site to check out - scroll down and look on the right side of the page for Desserts. Tofu Chocolate Mousse Pie sounds good.

http://www.veganconnection.com/recipes/

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Nut butters should become your new close friend. A vegan friend in SF makes an insane (and easy) tofu-peanut butter mousse with bittersweet firm chocolate layer. I'll search around for a comparable recipe. Almonds are also great for grinding and adding richness to cakes & cookies. Flax oil is great to have around too. I'll elaborate more when I dig up some recipes.

R

Drink maker, heart taker!

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I did a very brief (due to the fact that I love food too much) stint as a vegan. I, however, continue to make this chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe. It is one of my favourites. I often keep a log in the freezer and bake them when I have unexpected company for tea. It is adapted from a book called "Salt Spring Island Cooking"

1 cup dairy free margarine (I think lactantia makes one)

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup boiling water

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups quick cooking oats

1/2 cup coconut

2 cups bittersweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar

Dissolve baking soda in boiling waterand add to margarine/sugar.

Add vanilla.

Add dry ingredients and stir in chocolate chips. Chill dough. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Give this a try. They are really good.

Andrea

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Excellent, thanks to all.

A few questions:

Raxelita, I had not thought of nut butters :shock: but I have heard a lot of conflicting opinions on flaxseed, like it's hard to "blend" in correctly and can cause textural issues. What do you use it in?

Pissaladiere (great screen name BTW), thanks for that recipe. One question: in what form is the 1/2 c. coconut?

Merstar, useful links. There's a peach-amaretto upside-down cake on the veganconnection.com that looks do-able. I love that flavor.

It's interesting--the little research I've done into vegan baking, there are a lot of similar ingredients used. For instance, vinegar makes an appearance in almost every recipe I've seen, and coconut seems to be a big one too. I wonder what it is about vinegar that makes it necessary for this kind of baking?

Eggs just provide so many things in baking. There MUST be a sacrifice of quality when you use an egg replacer, and I say that with no snobbery whatsoever. :sad:

Noise is music. All else is food.

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first time playing in this forum... oh my!

I like the inventivness of vegan pastries... though not vegan myself. I look forward to digging around more here.

We have a local bakery that makes a version of *everything* vegan... its a special agenda of theirs (I guess as most things vegan). It's interesting because they offer the vegan and non-vegan items side by side, which is fun to compare.

Great book, the Artful Vegan contains a small dessert section. You can preview this cookbook through print.google if you want a peek.

So back to this local bakery... items that do particularly well veganized: mouse and parfait cups, individually wrapped brownies, pies, truffles...

- the parfait cups are simply layers of brownie type chunks (great way to use up your scraps!) with various flavored vegan mousse's (coffee, raspberry, mocha, orange, rose) layered with seasonal fruits. These are made in clear plastic cups that have domed fitted lids. These work especially well as take-and-go items.

- truffles are dead simple. The Artfull Vegan has an excellent Orange Port Chili Truffle recipe that I have also used well with making vegan mochas.

There are amazing soy based replacers out there. However, I've yet to find a nice fake whipped cream.

Nut butter based items are very rich and wonderful- just make sure to have the smoothest possible nut butter you can make/find.

Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Mousse

based on Alton Brown's moo-less pie, this recipe has been extensively tested on non-vegans who are simply amazed.

Chocolate Silk Tofu Cream

In a double boiler over hot water, combine:

* 2 cups of chocolate chips

* 1/3 cup of coffee liquor, or espresso (translate: whatever liquid flavoring you want)

Stir occassionally until the chocolate is completely melted. Allow to cool slightly.

In a blender, combine:

* one 10oz package of silken style tofu

* 1 Tbs of maple syrup

* 2 Tbs of Flavored Syrup, the syrup coffee drinks are flavored with

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add the melted chocolate mixture to the blender and continue to blend until smooth.

Pour into cups and refrigerate.

Vegan chocolate chips: Tropical Source are very good.

Servings... ? I have divided this into 12 4oz jam jars for small servings.

Haven't tried it yet, but I suspect that this would pipe well.

White chocolate- haven't found vegan, darn!

flavor floozy

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Here's an egg substitute that works really well in cookies and things where the eggs funnction mainly as a binder:

Flax Gloop

Yield: a scant cup, about 5 eggs worth

Ingredients:

4 t flax seeds

1 C water

1. Let the seeds and water soak together in a little pan for at least an hour, or overnight.

2. Simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Let cool for a while, then pour everything into a cheesecloth-lined funnel and squeeze the gloop out into a jar.

4. About 3T gloop equals an egg.

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Hello,

The Crazy Cake recipe mentioned above (also called Wacky Cake and a number of other aren't-we-silly-ho-ho names) is genuinely good: improbably moist and rich-tasting. It's supposed to be a kids' cake, but a more adult-tasting version is printed in a number of vegetarian cookbooks, including Jeanne Lemlin's _Quick Vegetarian Pleasures_ and Crescent Dragonwagon's _The Passionate Vegetarian_. I like to fill layers with a version of the tofu chocolate mousse described above.

You might also want to look at _The Passionate Vegetarian_ and Myra Kornfeld's _The Voluptuous Vegan_ for more options. I particularly recommend Dragonwagon for bold but complex flavours.

I love the idea of a blog - with recipes, please!

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'The Voluptuous Vegan' (dreadful name, I know) by Myra Kornfeld has a few clever recipes in the dessert section. I've never tried any of them (why would I! But I do own the book and some of the savory recipes have given me good ideas) been meaning to try the raspberry-cornmeal tart (the almond crust sounds good) with raspberry sauce. She also has a recipe for date-pecan coffee cake. And gingerbread with blood-orange sauce. And peanut butter mousse cake, which consists of a layer of blondie topped by a peanut butter mousse and garnished with a peanut butter-chocolate sauce. But it's her peanut butter and banana ice cream that really speaks to me.

Her version of carrot cake is served with a coconut-cardamom sauce. Better to be imaginative than to attempt to imitate the real thing, I guess.

Meredith McCarty's 'Sweet & Natural' has lots of cookie recipes in it, but I can't say firsthand whether or not they're any good.

I think that the nut butter idea is a great one. The only tolerable vegan desserts I've had have been ones that feature really strong flavors to overshadow the obnoxious taste of fake dessert and agar-agar, so I guess if it were up to me I'd go with, you know, hot and sassy gingersnaps instead of chocolate chip cookies. Think of the wonders of marzipan. And the versatility of potent but natural extracts of almond, vanilla, maple and coconut. Ooh. How about 'maple creams'; a sandwich cookie made using oatmeal cookies and a filling of maple syrup, maple extract and... um.... pureed tofu? :unsure:

Another thing I've noticed in recipes for vegan desserts is that a lot of them seem to adhere to particular philosophies associated with veganism rather than the rules and regulations involved. For example, a lot of recipes will call for brown rice syrup or maple sugar when you could really just use ordinary sugar. Etc.

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Another thing I've noticed in recipes for vegan desserts is that a lot of them seem to adhere to particular philosophies associated with veganism rather than the rules and regulations involved. For example, a lot of recipes will call for brown rice syrup or maple sugar when you could really just use ordinary sugar. Etc.

Some vegans won't eat regular cane sugar because it is processed with charred bovine bones. I think beet sugar is readily available and vegan friendly, though.

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Another thing I've noticed in recipes for vegan desserts is that a lot of them seem to adhere to particular philosophies associated with veganism rather than the rules and regulations involved. For example, a lot of recipes will call for brown rice syrup or maple sugar when you could really just use ordinary sugar. Etc.

Some vegans won't eat regular cane sugar because it is processed with charred bovine bones. I think beet sugar is readily available and vegan friendly, though.

Okay, makes sense. I was just checking out the ingredients in a lot of prepared vegan foods and most of them use natural and minimally processed sweeteners, as well.

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I am trying to square the idea of the Nero I know and love with Nero, Vegan Baker Babe. If anyone can do it, it's you.

I'm really looking forward to this inventive thread. Blog on, Nero.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I work in a health food store and scoffed at the vegan/wheatfree deserts, but after tasting them I was impressed. I don't know where they get the recipes-I'll try to find out. I have had a really good chocolate frosting-actually the best I've ever had made with almond butter. I don't know what else was in it but it was super creamy and not too sweet. I'm sure some wonderful things could be done with cashew butter as well.

There are some useable margarines out there ( I know the horror) but a few brands aren't hydrogenated and it would expand you options-fruit crisps and there's oil based pie crusts. I think tapioca is ok as a thickner for fruit and I'm sure flour and cornstarch are.

Good Luck in your creative pursuits.

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A good fruit crisp that can be made with margarine (read the label carefully to make sure there aren't any dairy ingredients, as many commercial brands will contain small amounts) is "Quick Cherry Crunch" from Joy of Cooking. I've always made it with apples instead of cherries, which I think might be too sweet. It does portion out a bit messily.

Another interesting avenue might be to experiment with some of the raw food cookie/brownie type recipes, many of which are mooshed-up dates, coconut, bananas, and/or nut butters. They do look a little homely, but I kind of like the taste of them.

We used to make Betty Crocker mix cakes with Ener-G egg replacer. They reminded me of the microwave cake mixes they used to have when I was a kid -- moist, but in a kind of strange way, and a little heavy.

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There's an excellent chocolate chip cookie recipe (low in fat even) in the Millennium Restaurant's eponymous cookbook. And that book also has some of the finest vegan cakes I've ever tried, though they are a tad fussy. The Millie has a second cookbook out, too, but I don't own it. (I did see one recipe from it though, also a dessert, something super-decadent with peanut butter.)

For good home baking, I highly recommend Bryanna Clark Grogan's cookbooks. She's an obsessive recipe tester, so her material is very reliable. She also regularly posts recipes and answers questions at the Beginners' forum on Vegsource.

I've tried a couple of Meredith's recipes, and found them very, ah, virtuous.

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I just had to pin the Child down for a min and she sent me here...http://www.theppk.com/recipes/

all through school she was driving me crazy looking for vegan snacks to bring to parties....uhhhh take the bag of edamame.....and some good salt ...

tracey

she says she feels bad that you havent had great vegan desserts because they are out there... :rolleyes:

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

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You might want to check out the Teany Book. Heidi Swanson did an entry on her blog about the Chocolate and Green Tea Pudding.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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  • 2 years later...

We rescued a couple of baby robins after a raven attack last week, went through several boxes of bait feeding them for the first couple of days, then once they were starting to fly we moved them out to the local organic CSA farm so they could start feeding themselves.

There are a couple of university students working on the CSA for the summer and they cared for our little sweethearts until they flew off. So we'd like to thank them by having them for supper next week sometime.

I think dinner should be easy - I've got the favorite falafel recipe that I pieced together from several others on eG. Those with a nice garlic sauce and homemade pita's should be fine. But I'm stumped on dessert. I'd like something other than cupcakes I think and it seems that most vegan dessert searches bring me right back to cupcakes.

So - any ideas? - favorite treats?

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Sorbets would be a good one.

I'm trying to think of a way to modify this non-dairy olive oil mousse recipe to eliminate the eggs as well. The mousse is really good but not quite vegan. There has to be a tweak though. Maybe combine everything except the chocolate, thicken with ultratex or something then fold in the chocolate? I don't know (but now I'm curious so I'll have to play with it).

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Sorbets would be a good one.

I'm trying to think of a way to modify this non-dairy olive oil mousse recipe to eliminate the eggs as well. The mousse is really good but not quite vegan. There has to be a tweak though. Maybe combine everything except the chocolate, thicken with ultratex or something then fold in the chocolate? I don't know (but now I'm curious so I'll have to play with it).

I'm without icecream maker this trip unfortunately - brought it last year - used it once.

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