Saturday, May 02, 2009

Adventures in Veganism

I'm pretty sure that the photo at left is not vegan-friendly. For one, the milk is from a cow. And secondly, the chocolate chips in that delicious little brownie bite are not vegan chocolate chips. But other than that, I think the vegans would be proud: I am experimenting with vegan baking. Not because I want to become a vegan (I just picked up some sausage for dinner), but because I recently visited BabyCakes NYC, a bakery on the Lower East Side where baker Erin McKenna makes vegan cupcakes, cookies, brownies, scones, muffins and other baked goods. And here's the thing: everything I tasted there was really good.

So I was curious about trying a few recipes from Erin's new book, BabyCakes. Unfortunately, this meant spending about $40 at the health food store on things like xanthan gum and arrowroot. I know: xan-what? Arrowhead? Seriously. This is all brand-new to me, and I'm not quite sold on it yet. But I'm up for the experiment.

The first thing I tried was the Apple-Cinnamon Toastie quickbread. Weird ingredients: garbanzo-fava bean flour, potato starch, arrowroot, xanthan gum, coconut oil ($12 a jar!) and evaporated cane juice (which I learned is a fancy way of saying natural cane sugar--so I guess it's not weird after all). Not weird: baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, applesauce, vanilla extract and roasted apples. The bread was terrific out of the oven: moist and not overly sweet. But the next morning it was a soggy mess. A tasty soggy mess, but still. Was it because I wrapped it with plastic wrap? Maybe it needed a little air. Or was it some sort of vegan thing?

At least I had most of the ingredients I needed for Brownies. The only thing I needed to buy were chocolate chips (of course, the recipe specifies vegan chocolate chips, but--guess what?--Gristede's doesn't sell them, and I wasn't up for another trip to the completely disorienting baking aisle of the health food store). So in went all the wacky vegan ingredients like garbanzo bean flour and arrowroot (which smells pretty great, actually), and... the brownies turned out great. I mean, delicious. Really! Rich, chocolate-y and the perfect thing with an ice cold glass of... milk. Like I said, I am not going vegan. But I'll eat their brownies!--S

1 comment:

Laura said...

I can attest to the excellence of those vegan brownies. Absolutely delish!!