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<![CDATA[Vegan Baking Recipes]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/ <![CDATA[Vegan Baking Recipes]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/images/stories/logo.png http://www.veganbaking.net/ http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cookies/buttery-vegan-shortbread-cookies <![CDATA[Buttery Vegan Shortbread Cookies]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cookies/buttery-vegan-shortbread-cookies Buttery Vegan Shortbread CookiesThere’s just something about buttery shortbread that’s otherworldly. How does that rich, savory-sweet, toastiness, sweep into your palate with buttery wave after buttery wave? How does it exist with such a crispy texture? That snap when you bite into it unleashes a lingering aroma that takes over you and lets you know that you’ve arrived. Everything is going to be okay now. As long as you don’t hog all the shortbread.

I’m pretty picky about my shortbread. I believe it should be a celebration of the flavor of butter. Any other flavors present need only be there to play a supporting role. As you bite in, it should yield with a snap and infuse the senses with buttery richness. But this is vegan baking. How do you do all these things as well as showcase butter? {loadposition share}Buttery Vegan Shortbread Cookies

There’s just something about buttery shortbread that’s otherworldly. How does that rich, savory-sweet, toastiness, sweep into your palate with buttery wave after buttery wave? How does it exist with such a crispy texture? That snap when you bite into it unleashes a lingering aroma that takes over you and lets you know that you’ve arrived. Everything is going to be okay now. As long as you don’t hog all the shortbread.

I’m pretty picky about my shortbread. I believe it should be a celebration of the flavor of butter. Any other flavors present need only be there to play a supporting role. As you bite in, it should yield with a snap and infuse the senses with buttery richness. But this is vegan baking. How do you do all these things as well as showcase butter?
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Bringing out the butter with vegan shortbread

This sounds all well and good, but how are you supposed to obtain these characteristics in vegan shortbread? For years I didn’t even try and just lowered the bar, tricking myself into thinking that regular vegan shortbread that adopts store-bought margarine did the job just fine.

Regular Vegan Butter

After I began experimenting with Vegan Butter, I decided to delve into the oily art of butter-infused desserts. After a few years of experimenting and reading up on shortbread food science, I learned that coconut oil provided an extra layer of buttery notes when baked into dry, crispy desserts. How could this be? Well, when coconut is combined with flour and the other components in Vegan Butter, magic happens and intense butter flavor is enhanced as the flour toasts during baking. You'll just have to taste this to see what I mean. One of the other factors driving this flavor development is due to coconut oil containing flavor compounds called lactones. These are among the same flavor compounds that give cream its signature flavor and aroma.

Find more Coconut recipes on Veganbaking.net

While baking, the coconut notes combine with the toastiness of all-purpose flour to provide a surprisingly substantial amount of savory, butteriness. I then began experimenting with Vegan Butter variations. I found that Regular Vegan Butter with refined coconut oil swapped out for unrefined coconut oil provided most of what I was looking for. But the texture of the shortbread was crumbling, along with my sanity. After considerable recipe testing I was in dire straits and badly in need of finding a way to optimize the texture for a suitable crispy mouthfeel.

Understanding traditional shortbread

The shortbread I kept making just wouldn’t stay together. It was retaining too much moisture and falling apart. Morale was falling. When I increased the water-based ingredients, it would get softer after baking. When I reduced the water-based ingredients, it would just turn to dust.

What makes shortbread with dairy-based butter stay together and shortbread with Vegan Butter fall apart? To answer this question we need to take a look at how traditional dairy-butter shortbread works.

Traditional shortbread gets the short from the fact that doesn't bend or stretch; it snaps off when bent or cut. Back when shorbread got its name, bakers probably didn't know that this was because the large amounts of fat in the recipe was doing two things:
  • The fat coats glutenin and gliadin strands, the protein components that later hydrate and combine to make up gluten in the flour. Large amounts of fat makes them slippery, which reduces the chances of them making strong bonds.
  • The fat makes the glutenin and gliadin strands hydrophobic, or water repelling by coating them. These gluten precursors require water in order to form bonds. Keeping water from the gluten is desired to a certain extent, because if gluten gets a chance to take a sip, it'll drink up as much as it possibly can and hold onto lots of it during baking, contributing to a soft texture. 
This results in the gluten bonds being short and weak enough to enable a loose, crispy texture. The small amount of water contained in the butter that does get through to the gluten facilitates this. The plays a bonus role here too: Since the fat used in shortbread is solid at room temperature, after cooling, it actually contributes to a slight solidification of the shortbread.

Gluten is pretty powerful stuff and it absolutely loves water. So usually a gluten-free starch-based flour such as rice flour or cornstarch is added to displace more gluten to make sure it backs off the water supply. So the takeaway here is that, as in pie crusts, shortbread is basically all about the manipulation of gluten.

Fine tuning vegan shortbread texture

So how was my Vegan Butter contributing to my crumbly texture issue?  I decided to look into other aspects that make my Vegan Butter different than dairy-based butter.

My Vegan Butters use various ingredients to get the oil and water-based ingredients to mix well and enable a smooth creaminess. These ingredients consist of lecithin and xanthan gum. Lecithin is an emulsifier which allows oil and water to mix. Xanthan gum also has emulsification abilities, as well as holds onto air bubbles to mimic dairy-based butter’s ability to do the same. I really didn’t need Vegan Butter to hold onto air bubbles in this particular case. What if I dropped it? After all, xanthan gum is also hygroscopic, which means on a microscopic scale it's probably writing endless love letters to water. Once it gets hold of it, it just won’t seem to let it go, even after extended baking. Wait, didn't we just go through all this drama with the gluten? Deja vu!

While I'm at it, why don't I ax the lecithin as well? I'm primarily concerned about fat inhibiting gluten in this recipe. The smooth, consistently soft characteristics that lecithin imparts in Vegan Butter aren't needed here.

Once I made my custom version of Regular Vegan Butter and used it in the shortbread, I knew I was onto something! The shortbread congratulated me by snapping as I bit in. Now all I had to do was fine tune the salt to turn the butter level up to 11.

 So the takeaway here is that, as in pie crusts, shortbread is basically all about the manipulation of gluten.

Maintaining shortbread texture

As I said earlier, a crispy texture is due to lack of water in the dough. In this state the shortbread actually contains less water than the surrounding air in most cases. I recommend storing the shortbread in a relatively air-tight container at room temperature. Why? Because after they're left out on the counter for a day or so they'll actually start to pull in moisture from the surrounding air which will result in a soft, crumbly texture. The good news is that if you find your shortbread in this state, you can bring it back to crispiness by placing it in your oven set to 275F (135C) for 20 to 30 minutes.

The importance of sanding sugar

Sanding sugar, also known as sparkling sugar, consists of large sugar crystals. These crystals are larger than regular granulated white sugar crystals and they're more resistant to melting. Since their crystals are large, they tend to catch the light and shimmer like diamonds. I like to use sanding sugar where it can really be used to visually dress up an otherwise boring looking dessert. If this shortbread was baked up without anything dressing up the top, it would look rather dull. Since I want the look to match the intensity of the buttery punch, sanding sugar is a great fit here. Remember, the best food allows you to get excited about it before you even put it in your mouth! 

Sanding sugar

This vegan shortbread emphasizes buttery flavor and crispy texture. Feel free to use it as a base for other shortbread variations. You should be able to swap out the rice flour with other gluten-free starch-based flours such as cocoa powder, almond flour or even coconut flour; just make sure there are no hydrocolloids like xanthan gum hanging around. Alternative flours can help you branch out into unexplored vegan shortbread territory. Just be sure to leave the all-purpose flour intact. And no, I don't have a 100% gluten-free version of this recipe. Yet.
 TIPThis recipe includes a recipe for a custom Vegan Butter called Shortbread Vegan Butter. It's xanthan gum and lecithin-free and has more salt to amplify buttery flavors. It’s found below and absolutely required in order to get the proper texture. I usually make it a few days before I make the shortbread to make preparation as simple as possible.

Buttery Vegan Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Yield: one 8 x 8 inch square of cookies

For the Shortbread Vegan Butter

¼ cup + 2 teaspoons soy milk
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon coconut vinegar (if you can’t find coconut vinegar, substitute with ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar so the total is 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
½ + ⅛ teaspoon salt

½ cup + 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (130 grams) unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 Tablespoon canola oil, light olive oil or rice bran oil

For the shortbread

1 ½ cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons rice flour or cornstarch
7 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
 
1 cup (2 sticks or 215 grams) Shortbread Vegan Butter, refrigerator temperature
 
2 teaspoons sanding sugar

Prepare the Shortbread Vegan Butter

1) Curdle the soy milk

Place the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar and salt in a small cup and whisk together with a fork. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles.

2) Mix the Vegan Butter ingredients

Melt the unrefined coconut oil in a microwave so it's barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. Measure it and add it and the canola oil to a food processor. 
 TIPMaking smooth Vegan Butter is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it's mixed. This is why it's important to make sure your coconut oil is as close to room temperature as possible before you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.

3) Transfer the Vegan Butter to a mold so it solidifies

Add the soy milk mixture to the food processor. Process for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides halfway through the duration. Pour the mixture into a mold and place it in the freezer to solidify. An ice cube mold works well. The vegan butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 1 year. This recipe makes 1 cup (215 grams), or the equivalent of 2 sticks Shortbread Vegan Butter.

Vegan Butter in a mold

Learn more about Vegan Butter.

Prepare the shortbread

4) Mix your dry ingredients together

Preheat your oven to 425F (218C). If you have a food processor, add the all-purpose flour, rice flour or cornstarch, granulated white sugar and pulse 10 times. The goal here is to get all of the ingredients mixed together with no lumps.

If you don't have a food processor, place a sifter in a medium mixing bowl and place the all-purpose flour, rice flour or cornstarch, sugar and salt into it. Sift the ingredients into the mixing bowl.

Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about an extra inch or so hanging off of either side. This excess parchment is what you’ll use to lift the shortbread out of the pan after baking. Set the baking pan aside.

8 x 8 inch baking dish

5) Cut your Vegan Butter into the dry ingredients

Cut the Shortbread Vegan Butter into ¼ inch cubes. If you used a food processor in Step 4, simply add the Vegan Butter cubes and pulse 20 times.

If you sifted, add the Vegan Butter cubes to the flour and toss the mixture with your fingers until they're well coated. Use a pastry blender to mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

Vegan Butter cubes

6) Bake to perfection

Press the dough in the baking pan and use the flat bottom of a drinking glass to compress the dough into place. Try to find a drinking glass that has the flattest bottom you can find. The trick is to press down on the drinking glass as much as you possibly can within reason and give it a very slight twist as you lift it off the dough so it releases without sticking. Work your way over the dough, back and forth until the dough is fully compressed and flat. This step is crucial because it presses the air out of the dough and compresses it together, ensuring it'll have a nice crisp structure after baking. Sprinkle the sanding sugar on top. Reduce your oven heat to 300F (149C) and bake for 30 minutes.

Press the dough into the baking pan

Sprinkle the top with sanding sugar

7) Cut into squares

Remove the shortbread from the oven. Using a paring knife, carefully cut your desired size of the cookies by slicing straight, through the hot dough. I usually cut into small rectangular pieces. I advise cutting pieces on the small side due to the richness of this shortbread. Alternatively, you can use a cookie cutter to cut custom shapes into the dough but keep in mind that this may result in wasted dough because you can’t roll the dough scraps into a ball and use it again like you can in other cookie styles.

Cut the shortbread

8) Continue baking your vegan shortbread

Place the shortbread back into the oven, reduce heat to 275F (135C) and bake for 1 ½ additional hours. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack. This allows the shortbread to lose as much of its internal moisture as possible which ensures a crispy texture. When cool, remove the shortbread from the baking pan by lifting it out by the parchment paper.

To preserve crispiness, Buttery Vegan Shortbread should be stored in a relatively air-tight container at room temperature where it'll keep for up to 1 month.

Buttery Vegan Shortbread

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Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:58:41 -0500
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/non-dairy-milks/toasted-coconut-milk <![CDATA[Toasted Coconut Milk]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/non-dairy-milks/toasted-coconut-milk Toasted Coconut MilkLeveraging toastiness can be a powerful tool for creating rich, complex flavors. Toastiness is often defined in dictionaries as “comfortably or cozily warm”. I think it’s pretty cool how this definition describes the actual food flavor so spot-on. When you combine toastiness with coconut, you’d better watch out; you’re in for a burst of rich toastiness with a lingering creamy coconut finish that can fade into maltiness. Perfect for kicking your vegan baking up a notch or three!

Why confine toasted coconut to coconut flour? By making coconut milk out of toasted coconut flour, we’re able to apply this rich, complex creamy toastiness to a much wider array of vegan baking applications. Ice creams, cakes, puddings, cream sauces, pancakes; any food that uses a large proportion of liquid can take advantage of toasted coconut milk in place of regular non-dairy milk. You can even put it in your breakfast oatmeal where it’ll add a rich, savory maltiness. But how does this flavor come to be? {loadposition share}Toasted Coconut Milk

Leveraging toastiness can be a powerful tool for creating rich, complex flavors. Toastiness is often defined in dictionaries as “comfortably or cozily warm”. I think it’s pretty cool how this definition describes the actual food flavor so spot-on. When you combine toastiness with coconut, you’d better watch out; you’re in for a burst of rich toastiness with a lingering creamy coconut finish that can fade into maltiness. Perfect for kicking your vegan baking up a notch or three!

Why confine toasted coconut to coconut flour? By making coconut milk out of toasted coconut flour, we’re able to apply this rich, complex creamy toastiness to a much wider array of vegan baking applications. Ice creams, cakes, puddings, cream sauces, pancakes; any food that uses a large proportion of liquid can take advantage of toasted coconut milk in place of regular non-dairy milk. You can even put it in your breakfast oatmeal where it’ll add a rich, savory maltiness. But how does this flavor come to be?
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A primer on flavor

It’s important to note here an important summary of the definition of flavor: taste + aroma = flavor. Taste consists of the five or so flavors perceived by your tongue which are sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Aroma includes volatile compounds that are perceived in the olfactory bulb, where it’s known as your sense of smell. Your olfactory bulb, located behind your nose, is capable of picking up at least hundreds of aromas.
 
It’s easy to think that most of what we taste is sensed in the mouth. I mean, I know I’m tasting it there because I feel it there! This is a fascinating trick that the body plays; the olfactory bulb picks up most of what we perceive as flavor. It’s actually processed in your brain and your brain tells you that you’re tasting it in your mouth. Silly body! Always playing tricks on everyone.
 
Volatile flavor compounds fit into receptors in the olfactory bulb like keys fit into a lock. This ends up triggering what we perceive as flavor. Think of aroma as microscopic keys floating around in the air just waiting to plug into our olfactory bulbs. When several of these volatile compounds fit into the olfactory receptors at a time, it can be the flavor equivalent of playing a chord on a guitar or piano, where the collective notes are more than the sum of their parts. The result is yuuuuummm!

Toasted Coconut Milk in bowl

The blueprint for toastiness: the Maillard Reaction

It’s the maillard reaction, also known as maillard browning, due to the darkter colors generated, that enables these flavors to be created. This chemical reaction creates a multitude of new taste and especially aroma compounds, many of which are super small, lightweight and hence, volatile. A compound is volatile when it’s easily evaporated into the surrounding environment at normal temperatures. Not only are you going to get new tastes developed during the maillard reaction, you’re also going to get more volatile aroma particles that are going to make a very large impression of overall flavor.
 
The maillard reaction needs a few variables to be aligned in order to occur. The recipe for a healthy maillard reaction calls for:
  • A bit of protein to supply amino acids
  • Certain naturally-occurring simple sugars
  • A bit of heat (usually)
  • As little water as possible
These variables are required because the maillard reaction is all about proteins breaking down and letting go of their amino acids which react with simple sugars in the presence of dry heat. The result is taste, aroma, and dark color. The taste and aroma results in complex flavor. The variables needed for the maillard reaction are really small; you don’t need to seek out high-protein foods or foods that have a noticeable amount of sugar.

Most foods that are dry and exposed to heat will exhibit maillard reactions to some degree. Dairy-based dry milk powder is one of the rare ingredients that doesn’t require excessive heat in order for the maillard reaction to occur. If you’ve ever noticed bakeries where cakes on display have sat in the window for too long and white frosting is fading to brown, this is why. In this case, making display cakes without milk protein and lactose sugar in the frosting would keep this browning from occurring.
 
Foods that are in contact with water will not allow maillard reactions to occur. Think of chefs that are always saying “don’t crowd the pan” when sautéeing. They say this because too much crowding will allow the food to steam, which will not only keep the temperature of the food from rising above the boiling point, it also keeps the food moist which inhibits maillard reactions. Lower temperatures + higher water content = food that’s not as tasty as it could be due to a lack of maillard reactions. This is one of the reasons why there’s such a huge flavor difference between steaming and roasting.
 
Luckily for us, it’s really easy for us bakers to leverage the maillard reaction for baking ingredients. Foods like nuts, flour and coconut work particularly well. For instance, toasting corn flour to use in corn bread will lend another layer of savory corn flavor. Toasting pecans for pecan fudge will allow the pecans to cut through the intensity of the fudge, creating a more decadent overall flavor. With toasted coconut milk, we’re taking advantage of toasted coconut and creaminess to add a rich, silky, malty base to almost any dessert.

 Luckily for us, it’s really easy for us bakers to leverage the maillard reaction for baking ingredients.

Find more Coconut recipes on Veganbaking.net

Toasted Coconut Milk Recipe

Yield: 2 ½ cups (600 ml)

¾ cup + 1 Tablespoon (about 120 grams) toasted coconut flour
4 cups water (946 ml)
¼ cup water (57 ml)

1) Toast your coconut flour

Preheat your oven to 300F (149C). Distribute the coconut flour so it’s evenly dispersed on the baking sheet, no more than a ½ inch deep. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking time.
 TIPIf you’re toasting a larger amount of coconut flour called for in this recipe, use more than one baking sheet and make sure to rotate them to different racks throughout the baking duration for even toasting.
Toasted coconut - before toasting

Coconut flour - after toasting
 
Learn more about toasting coconut.

2) Prepare your colander

Add the toasted coconut flour to a blender and set aside. Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth and place the colander in a bowl so there is room for the coconut milk to drain. Here’s the colander I recommend.

Colander with bowl

Colander strainer

3) Boil your water

In a kettle or medium saucepan, add 4 cups water and place over high heat, covered until the water boils. 

4) Blend the toasted coconut flour

Transfer the water to the blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Be especially careful here and place a folded towel over the top of the blender to catch any spillovers. Start the blender slow and work up to high to ensure that the liquid doesn’t splash through the top of the blender.

5) Strain your toasted coconut milk from the coconut solids

Transfer the hot coconut mixture to the colander and allow it to drain. Running a spatula along the inside cheesecloth surface will allow it to drain faster. Once some of the liquid has drained, add the ¼ cup water to the blender and blend to clean it out. Now transfer this water to the colander and stir it into the mixture. This trick allows you to get a slightly higher extraction rate out of your toasted coconut flour. Once the draining has subsided and the coconut mixture in the colander is cool enough to touch, fold all four sides of cheesecloth over the top of the coconut mixture, twist it and use your hands to squeeze out as much toasted coconut milk as you can.

Strain the toasted coconut milk

6) Store in the refrigerator if not using immediately.

Transfer the toasted coconut milk to a small container, cover and place in the refrigerator for several hours to cool. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:48:32 -0500
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-shortenings/vegan-shortening-cocoa-butter-base <![CDATA[Vegan Shortening - Cocoa Butter Base]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-shortenings/vegan-shortening-cocoa-butter-base Vegan Shortening - Cocoa Butter BaseShortening definitely has its place in vegan baking. From pie crusts, shortbreads and puff pastry, it’s a basic building block for texture. This solid fat is so integral to these types of desserts because it alters the way gluten is formed in baked items that utilize wheat-based flours. For more on the food science of shortening, check out my article on how to make vegan shortening.My original recipe for vegan shortening utilized a mixture of coconut oil and vegetable oil such as canola, light olive oil or rice bran oil. The coconut oil is solid at room temperature. When it’s mixed with a certain ratio of fats that are liquid at room temperature, a certain level of softness can be dialed in that makes it suitable to use as shortening. This recipe utilizes deodorized, also known as refined cocoa butter. {loadposition share}Vegan Shortening - Cocoa Butter Base

Shortening definitely has its place in vegan baking. From pie crusts, shortbreads and puff pastry, it’s a basic building block for texture. This solid fat is so integral to these types of desserts because it alters the way gluten is formed in baked items that utilize wheat-based flours. For more on the food science of shortening, check out my article on how to make vegan shortening.My original recipe for vegan shortening utilized a mixture of coconut oil and vegetable oil such as canola, light olive oil or rice bran oil. The coconut oil is solid at room temperature. When it’s mixed with a certain ratio of fats that are liquid at room temperature, a certain level of softness can be dialed in that makes it suitable to use as shortening. This recipe utilizes deodorized, also known as refined cocoa butter.
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Why would you want to make your own shortening? 

Why go through the hassle of making your own shortening? There are many reasons:
  • The United States is one of the only places in the world where shortening can be found.
  • Most of the shortening available in the US is derived from palm oil, which, as of this writing, is associated with environmental destruction in Sumatra.
  • Much of the shortening commercially available has additives that you might want to choose to avoid.
  • Making your own shortening allows you to unlock more creativity with your baked items. For example, if you want to add a layer of white chocolate or hazelnut flavor to your dessert, you could swap out some or all of the refined cocoa butter for unrefined cocoa butter and some or all of the canola oil with hazelnut oil. How about a hazelnut shortening that doesn’t resort to hazelnut extract for flavoring? Making your own Vegan Butter or Shortening and using hazelnut oil allows this to be possible! Toasted sesame oil in a vegetable pot pie crust? Why not?

What is Cocoa Butter?

Cocoa Butter is the fat from the cacao bean, the bean used to make chocolate. It’s had all of the dark cocoa solids removed so it’s an opaque white instead of chocolate colored. Even though the dark solids have been removed, cocoa butter in its unrefined state still has a certain level of chocolate flavor. It’s important to use refined, also known as deodorized cocoa butter in this shortening recipe in order to produce a flavor-neutral shortening. 
 
Refined cocoa butter has been passed through a filter to remove all traces of chocolate flavor. If you’d like to leverage chocolate flavor in your shortening, by all means, use unrefined cocoa butter. 

Cocoa Butter

Where do you find Cocoa Butter?

I usually order my cocoa butter online because it’s not yet available at my local health food store. When ordering online, it’s very important to confirm that your refined or unrefined cocoa butter is food grade. If it doesn’t specify food grade, assume that it’s cosmetic grade and look elsewhere. Food grade fats are processed in a way that either adequately preserves or removes flavor. For example, if you’re looking for good quality unrefined cocoa butter, food grade will ensure that the manufacturer uses processes that preserve maximum chocolate flavor. Conversely, food grade refined cocoa butter will be handled in a way that removes as much of the flavor as possible. 
 
The opposite of food grade cocoa butter is usually cosmetic grade. Cosmetic grade cocoa butter may or may not be safe for human consumption, depending on the processes used for preparing it for market. In my experience, cosmetic grade cocoa butter usually contains slight off-flavors, making it unsuitable for food applications if even if it were refined in a way that would be safe for food consumption.

Why use Cocoa Butter?

To understand why cocoa butter is so valuable in vegan shortening, we must understand the limitations of coconut oil. Coconut oil has a melting temperature of about 77F (25C). Cocoa butter melts at about 93-100F (34 to 38C). This is more in line with the melting point of palm oil, which is 95F (35C) and animal-based fats. The lower melting point of coconut oil means that once it’s mixed with vegetable oils, the shortening starts to melt at somewhere right below 77F (25C). In the United States this isn’t much of a concern, but in hotter climates, your shortening will often melt so quickly that it’ll be partially liquefied before you get a chance to bake your dough. Cocoa butter gives you added insurance that your dough will remain at the optimal texture before it goes into the oven in these hot conditions.
 
This Vegan Shortening recipe utilizing cocoa butter, in contrast to the vegan shortening that utilizes coconut oil, has a melt point between 80 and 85F (27 to 29C). 
 
Due to the slightly lower melting point of coconut oil, I realized that it would be beneficial to have recipes for Vegan Butters, Shortenings and Frostings with higher melt points. I mean, have you seen frosting slide off a cake in hot weather? What a bummer! 
 
Regular Vegan Butter - Cocoa Butter Base is another example of a Vegan Butter that likely has a slightly higher melting point than Regular Vegan Butter - Coconut Oil Base

Vegan Shortening

Learn more about the melting temperatures of fats.

Vegan Shortening Recipe - Cocoa Butter Base

6 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons refined cocoa butter (72 grams)
9 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (140 ml) canola, light olive oil or rice bran oil

1) Melt and mix your fats

Melt the cocoa butter in a microwave so it's barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. Measure it and add it and the canola oil to a food processor. Making smooth shortening is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it's mixed. This smoothness depends on the fats solidifying before they get a chance to separate. This is why it's important to make sure your coconut oil is as close to room temperature as possible before you mix it with the canola oil.

2) Transfer the Vegan Shortening to a mold and freeze

Process for 1 minute, scraping down the sides halfway through the duration. Pour the mixture into a mold such as an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer to solidify. An ice cube mold works well. The vegan shortening should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 2 years. This recipe makes 1 cup, 215 grams, or the equivalent of 2 sticks Cocoa Butter Vegan Shortening.

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Mon, 01 Dec 2014 05:22:31 -0500
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/spreadable-olive-oil-vegan-butter <![CDATA[Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/spreadable-olive-oil-vegan-butter
Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan ButterI've gotten into the habit of using various Vegan Butters in my baking projects. I like having the peace of mind in knowing I have complete control over what goes into it. These butters were designed to mimic real butter. But lately I’ve been noticing something. The same hard consistency that allows the butter to work well with creaming into cookie batter, cutting into pie crust dough and rolling with croissant dough can also be its downfall.
 
This firmness inhibits the butter from being enjoyed on a completely different level: being spread onto toasty pieces of hearth breads, smeared on steamy biscuits and dabbed on pancakes fresh off the griddle. In these cases, butters that are optimal for baking tend to sit on the food, desperately depending on the residual heat to allow them to melt so they hopefully spread out as they ooze along. Then while you’re eating, hopefully you’ll eventually get to the part with the melted butter on it. What a treat that’s going to be! It shouldn’t have to be this way.
{loadposition share}Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter

I've gotten into the habit of using various Vegan Butters in my baking projects. I like having the peace of mind in knowing I have complete control over what goes into it. These butters were designed to mimic real butter. But lately I’ve been noticing something. The same hard consistency that allows the butter to work well with creaming into cookie batter, cutting into pie crust dough and rolling with croissant dough can also be its downfall.
 
This firmness inhibits the butter from being enjoyed on a completely different level: being spread onto toasty pieces of hearth breads, smeared on steamy biscuits and dabbed on pancakes fresh off the griddle. In these cases, butters that are optimal for baking tend to sit on the food, desperately depending on the residual heat to allow them to melt so they hopefully spread out as they ooze along. Then while you’re eating, hopefully you’ll eventually get to the part with the melted butter on it. What a treat that’s going to be! It shouldn’t have to be this way.
 
So naturally, I’ve been using my Vegan Butters for baking only and I only noticed there was a problem when another type of commercial vegan butter somehow ended up in my refrigerator, unannounced. “How did that get in there?” I wondered. If I'm having trouble spreading Vegan Butter that's designed for baking, how many other people out there are having the same issues? Sharpen your butter knives, it's time to enjoy Spreadable Vegan Butter!

Spreadable Vegan Butter on bread

Let’s break some buttery rules

The most exciting part of developing this Vegan Butter was that I didn’t have to follow as many rules as I did when I worked on the vegan-baking-centric Vegan Butters. This is because we’re not emulating real butter from the ground up here. I decided to keep the fat-to-water ratio about the same as regular butter which is in the neighborhood of 80% fat, 20% water. Since we’re free to focus on spreadable, savory butteriness, let’s see what else we have in our food toolbox!

Not all extra virgin olive oils are created equal

Why not showcase the regal, grassy, earthy flavors of extra virgin olive oil and pair it with buttery flavors? This would make it a healthier and possibly more flavorful option than the commercial competition. To really drive olive oil notes, I recommend seeking out unfiltered extra virgin olive oil because it contains more tasty compounds such as polyphenols and terpenes. I’m a huge fan of unfiltered arbequina and kalamata extra virgin olive oils. Most of the stuff on the US market seems to be intentionally dumbed down and relatively light on flavor. Go forth and be bold ye olive oil taster! Don’t be afraid to try a variety of extra virgin olive oils and select what you prefer. No matter what type of olive oil you choose, keep in mind that the olive oil notes will be in the background due to it only consisting of about half of the overall fat content of this Vegan Butter. The ratio of fats is important because the refined coconut oil takes care of enabling just the firmness we need so things remain spreadable.

The subtle role of acids

Originally I preferred the light tang of apple cider vinegar in my Vegan Butters. Apple cider contains both malic acid as well as acetic acid. The malic acid profices a sharp, fruity tang followed by the acetic acid notes that can emulate cultured flavors. For some people this initial malic acid burst can be a bit much. It also tends to drop off rather quickly after its initial rush. Recently I’ve come to enjoy the smooth, soft acidity of coconut vinegar. I now prefer to combine these characteristics in my Vegan Butters so there's a more subtle fruity start which evolves into a drawn out, smooth and buttery finish that lingers longer on the palate. Of course all of this should be perceived in the background. If it's a little too strong for your liking, feel free to reduce the acid content. If you're having trouble locating coconut vinegar I recommend adding the full amount of apple cider vinegar.

Let’s upgrade the salt

Since we’re going to be spreading this vegan butter on our favorite eats, why not enhance it with a larger amount of a next-level salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon salt? That’ll elevate the olive oil and butter notes to Butter 2.0! Alright then! 
 
If you haven’t tried fleur de sel or Maldon salts for finishing, or sprinkling on top of already cooked or raw food like salads and bruschetta, you’re missing out. I’m obsessed with this stuff. These salts offer layers of complex, minerally, earthy saltiness. Normally you wouldn’t put them inside your food; they’re usually used strictly as finishing salts only. But since we’re breaking the rules, we’re going for it! Just please don’t tell anyone. 
 
Not into breaking the rules or having a hard time finding these salts? If you’re having difficulty ordering them online, there’s hope. Ready? Just use regular salt. Your vegan butter will still rival commercial spreadable vegan butter. I promise.
 
One of the caveats of using these types of salts is that they’re made up of large, rather strange looking flakes that don’t dissolve easily. This is one of the reasons these salts are used mostly for finishing. To get around this, I call for some extra time in the food processor so these little guys get a chance to dissolve completely.
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Spreadable vegan butter prefers jars, not cubes

Since this Vegan Butter is spreadable, it’ll melt into your warm toast on-contact. This spreadability and meltability means that it should be poured into a mold resembling a small jar or bowl so it can be easily accessible by your spreading knife. That's right- no more juggling with cubes anymore! This spreadability also means that this Vegan Butter shouldn’t be left out of the refrigerator for extended periods. Since it’s not loaded with hydrocolloids like the commercial alternatives, it’ll eventually soften and liquify. In this case It'll need to be whizzed in the food processor and frozen to get back to its buttery self again.
 
The great thing about using a jar is that it makes your Vegan Butter even easier to make; just pour it into the mold and place it in the freezer so it solidifies quickly. An hour later, place the lid on, transfer it to the refrigerator and marvel at never having to buy the store-bought stuff again. I love wire bale jars because, hey, life is short. Why not store your vegan butter in a cute Bormioli Fido 200 mL wire bale jar? This size happens to hold exactly what this recipe makes.

Spreadable Vegan Butter in a jar
 
Be fearless when it comes to mixing up your Vegan Butter by adding fresh or dried herbs, swapping out the olive oil for hemp oil or swapping out the refined coconut oil with unrefined coconut oil. You could even include a dash of smoked paprika or other spice to see how it affects the savoriness. Oh and one more thing: smoked Maldon salt. It’s waiting for you when you’re ready.
 
This Vegan Butter is for spreading and general cooking only. For baking applications, use other non-spreadable vegan butters such as Regular Vegan Butter. This link also covers the food science of Vegan Butter in more detail.

Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter Recipe

¼ cup + 2 teaspoons soy milk
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon coconut vinegar (if you can’t find coconut vinegar, substitute with ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar so the total is 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
4 grams fleur de sel, Maldon salt or regular salt (if you don’t have a scale, use ¾ + ⅛ teaspoon regular salt)
 
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon refined coconut oil, melted
¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
 
1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin or liquid sunflower lecithin or 2 ¼ teaspoons soy lecithin granules
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ + ⅛ teaspoon psyllium husk powder

1) Curdle your soy milk

Place the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar and salt in a small cup and whisk together with a fork. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles.

2) Mix your Vegan Butter ingredients

Melt the coconut oil in a microwave so it's barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. Measure it and add it and the olive oil to a food processor. Making smooth vegan butter is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it's mixed. This is why it's important to make sure your coconut oil is as close to room temperature as possible before you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.

3) Transfer the Vegan Butter to a mold so it solidifies

Add the soy milk mixture, soy lecithin and xanthan gum to the food processor. Process for 3 minutes then scrape down the sides with a spatula. Process for 3 additional minutes. This lengthy processing time is to allow the salt to dissolve completely. Pour the mixture into a shallow jar or other container and place it in the freezer to solidify with the lid removed so it solidifies as quickly as possible. A 7 ounce wire bale glass jar or similar container works well. The Vegan Butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 1 year. Makes about 1 cup (215 grams), or 8 fluid ounces Spreadable Olive Oil Vegan Butter.

For more Vegan Butter recipes check out the Vegan Butter recipe section.

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Wed, 30 Apr 2014 06:52:33 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cakes/sponge-cakes/vegan-toasted-coconut-cake <![CDATA[Vegan Toasted Coconut Cake]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cakes/sponge-cakes/vegan-toasted-coconut-cake
Vegan Toasted Coconut CakeCoconut is one of my favorite ingredients due to its neutral flavors that add richness to almost anything. Coconut contains flavor compounds called lactones that are among the same flavor compounds that give traditional dairy cream its trademark creamy flavor. And we all wondered why coconut and cream went together so well! In this Toasted Coconut Cake I wanted to maximize these layers of coconut and cream for a truly decadent cake.
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Coconut is one of my favorite ingredients due to its neutral flavors that add richness to almost anything. Coconut contains flavor compounds called lactones that are among the same flavor compounds that give traditional dairy cream its trademark creamy flavor. And we all wondered why coconut and cream went together so well! In this Toasted Coconut Cake I wanted to maximize these layers of coconut and cream for a truly decadent cake.
 
This cake is borne out of the success of my Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. While developing that recipe I found that using multiple types of coconut provides layers of coconut flavor.

How to build maximum coconut flavor

You’d think that coconut milk would be one of the most effective ways to infuse coconut flavor right? That’s what I thought too. After several test batches, I found that coconut milk contains too much water and not enough solids or fat to contribute a substantial amount of coconut flavor. And even if it did, there’s just way too much variation from brand to brand and even can to can. Some tend to have way more fat than others and some even have added guar gum which can throw things off if you’re not looking out for it.
 
Coconut flour and coconut oil tend to be where all the flavor is, probably because there’s no water to get in the way which makes the flavors more concentrated.

To toast or not to toast

Coconut usually has an extremely smooth, rich, creamy flavor, unless of course it’s lightly toasted. In this case, you get to experience the more edgy, complex, nutty and toasty side of coconut. I love the combination of both of these flavor profiles so I utilize toasted coconut flour for the batter and toasted shredded coconut for the frosting to provide the toasty notes in this recipe. If you’re not a fan of this edgier side, I won’t judge if you forego the toasting.

Toasted Coconut
 
Unrefined coconut oil is another great way to pack coconut flavor into baked items. Unrefined just means that the oil hasn’t been passed through an activated charcoal filter which removes the lactones and other coconut flavor compounds. 
 
Finally, coconut sugar is a subtle but worthy opportunity for us to add another layer of coconut flavor. Coconut sugar is a golden granulated sugar that originates as a sap from the coconut palm. This sap is then cooked down, filtered to some degree and processed into granulated crystals that lend a slight coconut caramel note to baked goods.
 
I should add that since we’re going whole coconut with this thing, Coconut Buttercream Frosting is recommended. This requires you to make Coconut Vegan Butter in advance, but if you don’t have time, any regular frosting of your choice will do.
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Coconut flour’s insatiable thirst

Now that we have our coconut flavor, we need to keep in mind that, as with my Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, the coconut flour is going to absorb about six times the amount of water as regular flour which is going to create a problem. Luckily, we’ve been through this before so the solution is to compensate for this by calling for a considerably larger amount of non-dairy milk in the recipe. 
 
The coconut flour is also going to displace gluten-based flour, which is the primary protein building block for structure in regular gluten-based vegan cakes. Luckily, we can bring gluten levels back in check by adding a flour with a higher gluten content: good ol’ bread flour. We’ll call for even more non-dairy milk so the glutenin and gliadin have enough moisture to combine into gluten without giving a fuss. Yes, this amount of non-dairy milk is so much liquid for a vegan cake recipe it's almost laughable. But at least now everyone’s well hydrated and happy.
 
One caveat of all these coconutty modifications is that we’re not going to be left with a light and airy sponge of a cake. This cake is going to be on the heavy, dense, rich and moist side. I happen to prefer these types of cakes and I’m hoping you do too.
 
At this point, all we need is a little vanilla extract and salt to tie everything together. Coconut Buttercream Frosting is what they call icing on the cake.

Find more Coconut recipes on Veganbaking.net

Vegan Toasted Coconut Cake Recipe

1 ½ cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
 
2 ¾ cups + 2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons golden flax meal
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
 
1 ½ cups bread flour
1 cup toasted coconut flour
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
 
¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

Coconut Buttercream Frosting

Easy Buttercream Frosting
Coconut Vegan Butter

1) Prepare the toasted coconut

Preheat your oven to 300F (149C). Spread the shredded coconut evenly on one rimmed baking sheet and the coconut flour evenly on another rimmed baking sheet. Place them in the oven for 20 minutes. Set aside. Feel free to find out more information on toasting coconut flour. If you work with it often and you love it as much as I do, you might want to consider making a large amount and storing it in a covered container for future use.

2) Prepare your cake pan and curdle the non-dairy milk

Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Lightly coat two 8 inch round cake pans with vegetable oil and dust them with flour, making sure to shake off any excess. In a small bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk, flax meal and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for at least 5 minutes so the mixture thickens. 

3) Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the bread flour, toasted coconut flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. 

Whisk together the dry ingredients

4) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients

In another medium mixing bowl whisk together the coconut sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt. Now whisk in the flax mixture from Step 2 until well incorporated.

5) Mix the batter

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and whisk together until well incorporated and the lumps are eliminated.

Toasted Coconut Cake before baking

6) Bake to perfection 

Pour equal portions of batter into each cake pan. To eliminate air bubbles lift each cake pan about 2 inches off the counter and drop it onto the counter a couple times. Bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about an hour then transfer to a cake rack to cool completely before frosting.

Toasted Coconut Cake after baking

7) Prepare the Coconut Buttercream Frosting

While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting by using Coconut Vegan Butter in place of Regular Vegan Butter in this Easy Buttercream Frosting recipe. If you prefer less frosting drama, feel free to use another frosting or prepare the regular Easy Buttercream Frosting with store-bought vegan butter.

8) Frost the cake

Frost the cake by first applying a crumb coat to both layers separately and place them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes so the frosting hardens. This extremely thin, cold, hard layer of base frosting will provide a good foundation for the rest of your frosting and ensure that no cake crumbs get caught up into it. Apply the rest of your frosting and sprinkle the toasted shredded coconut on top. The cake can be stored in a covered container at room temperature for about 1 week or in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 6 months. Makes two layers of an 8 inch round Vegan Toasted Coconut Cake.

Toasted Coconut Cake

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Tue, 12 Nov 2013 08:25:29 -0500
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/white-truffle-vegan-butter <![CDATA[White Truffle Vegan Butter ]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/white-truffle-vegan-butter
White Truffle Vegan Butter What I like best about Vegan Butter is how it can be crafted to meet your exact flavor and texture specifications. Since we’re building butter from the ground up, we have the freedom to use building blocks that contribute almost any quality we desire. In that roughly 80% fat and 20% water, we have lots of room to play around. For this version I wanted to showcase the unbelievably smooth, savory flavors of truffle oil for a Vegan Butter that could stand up to traditional dairy-based butter as a bread spread, or even quite possibly outdo it when baked into pastry such as savory pie crusts. But why are we infusing vegan butter with truffle oil? Let’s get some background information on what truffle oil brings to the table.
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What I like best about Vegan Butter is how it can be crafted to meet your exact flavor and texture specifications. Since we’re building butter from the ground up, we have the freedom to use building blocks that contribute almost any quality we desire. In that roughly 80% fat and 20% water, we have lots of room to play around. For this version I wanted to showcase the unbelievably smooth, savory flavors of truffle oil for a Vegan Butter that could stand up to traditional dairy-based butter as a bread spread, or even quite possibly outdo it when baked into pastry such as savory pie crusts. But why are we infusing vegan butter with truffle oil? Let’s get some background information on what truffle oil brings to the table.

Truffles

Truffles are the fruiting body of a fungus. This fungus grows symbiotically with trees such as oaks, hazels and lindens. Like most mushrooms, the majority of the fungus is underground; it’s only when the fungus needs to spore that it cultivates the necessary energy to produce the fruiting body. Unlike mushrooms, the truffle is a fruiting body that grows underground. It emits an aroma that attracts animals that find it, eat it and spread the spores back into the environment through their excrement. This is why truffle hunters often employ animals to help them unearth their bounty.

Black truffles

Black truffles are known to be subtle and earthy, with a flavor that is thought to be slightly enhanced by cooking. Bonus: it also contains a compound called androstenone that can be found in men’s underarm sweat! Though not everyone can perceive this particular aroma quality.

White truffles

White truffles have a stronger pungent aroma more akin to garlic, which is a result of their more complex sulphur compounds. These truffles are more suitable to be eaten raw. This quality, as well as the more complex, garlicky characteristics, is why I selected white truffle oil to be used in this Vegan Butter.
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Truffle oil

Truffle oil is traditionally a vegetable oil such as olive oil that has been infused with the flavor of truffles, usually by immersing a few slices of truffles into the oil. These days, due to the expense of truffles, most truffle oil is made with the use of natural flavors. By this I mean that food scientists have figured out that the majority of truffle flavor is produced by a compound called 2,4-dithiapentane
 
This compound creates most of what we know as truffle flavor but there are other compounds that produce or highlight other flavor attributes which differentiate black truffle oil and white truffle oil. I’m unsure of whether other compounds are added to truffle oil to achieve these flavor characteristics, or whether real truffles are used in smaller amounts in these cases.
 
This natural flavoring conundrum has caused a great deal of controversy in the food world, with many chefs proclaiming that truffles not produced from the real thing don’t belong in the kitchen. At the same time many world class chefs counter that, although real truffle oil is broadly preferred, the artificially flavored version is still a great tool for enhancing flavor as long as you know when and where to use these truffle oils. Combine this controversy with the truffle-oil-mania backlash of the early 2010s and it appears that every chef these days has a strong opinion on it.
 
The fact is that the unaffiliated palate never really knows whether truffle oil has been produced from real truffles or 2,4-dithiapentane; there’s no regulating body that certifies truffle oil so you can’t really be sure that you’ve ever tasted the real thing or not unless you’ve been lucky enough to eat a real slice of truffle. That brand that the famous chef recommends: maybe they used real truffles in it a few years ago but who knows now? It’s anybody’s guess. This makes it almost impossible for me to recommend a particular brand of truffle oil.
 
I happen to believe that truffle oil in small amounts is fantastic; as long as special attention is paid to how, when and where it’s used, it can be an extremely useful and fun tool to expand your flavor repertoire in the kitchen. If you agree, then keep reading.

"What?! Are you attemptlng to justify putting chemical flavorings into my food?" Keep in mind that many flavorings such as almond and vanilla often feature their true flavor compounds, but created in a controlled environment instead of in the natural world. I look forward to purchasing real truffle oil the next time I come across it. I'm not concerned that small amounts of the compound that provides true truffle flavor, natural or not, is detrimental to my health. You're free to come to your own conclusion.
 
I found that white truffle oil’s smooth, funky garlic notes were enhanced further by lemon juice as the acid component in this vegan butter. Salt significantly amplifies the savoriness of truffles so I increased it slightly. I then added white pepper and thyme to round out the buttery flavors.

Learn more about the food science behind Vegan Butter.

White Truffle Vegan Butter Recipe

¼ cup + 2 teaspoons soy milk
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt
 
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon refined coconut oil, melted
1 Tablespoon white truffle oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 pinch white pepper
 
1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin or liquid sunflower lecithin or 2 ¼ teaspoons soy lecithin granules
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ + ⅛ teaspoon psyllium husk powder

1) Curdle the soy milk

Place the soy milk, lemon juice and salt in a small cup and whisk together with a fork. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles slightly.

2) Blend the fats, thyme and white pepper

Melt the coconut oil in a microwave so it's barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. Measure it and add it to a food processor along with the white truffle oil, thyme and white pepper. Making smooth vegan butter is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it's mixed. This is why it's important to make sure your coconut oil is as close to room temperature as possible before you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.

3) Blend the mixture together and place it in a mold to solidify

Add the soy milk mixture, soy lecithin and xanthan gum to the food processor. Process for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides halfway through the duration. Pour the mixture into a mold and place it in the freezer to solidify. An ice cube mold works well. The vegan butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 1 year. Makes 1 cup (215 grams), or the equivalent of 2 sticks White Truffle Vegan Butter.

For more vegan butter recipes check out the Vegan Butter section.

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Tue, 29 Oct 2013 05:38:06 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cookies/black-and-white-cookies <![CDATA[Vegan Black and White Cookies]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cookies/black-and-white-cookies Vegan Black and White Cookies“I’ve never had a black and white cookie before” I mumbled to my vegan food friends, not thinking that it was that big of a deal. “Living in New York City, you’ve never had a black and white cookie?!” they desperately exclaimed. Right then, I perked up. What is it about these flat perfectly looking cookies that straddle the line between black and white so mysteriously? After all, this is New York City’s cookie. Does this cookie dare to celebrate chocolate and vanilla at the same time? What about the cookie part? Is it just a boring pseudo shortbread crust underneath or something special? I had to know more. {loadposition share}Vegan Black and White Cookies

“I’ve never had a black and white cookie before” I mumbled to my vegan food friends, not thinking that it was that big of a deal. “Living in New York City, you’ve never had a black and white cookie?!” they desperately exclaimed. Right then, I perked up. What is it about these flat perfectly looking cookies that straddle the line between black and white so mysteriously? After all, this is New York City’s cookie. Does this cookie dare to celebrate chocolate and vanilla at the same time? What about the cookie part? Is it just a boring pseudo shortbread crust underneath or something special? I had to know more.
 
Soon after trying one I learned that it in pure New York City style, it in fact does, boldly dare to celebrate chocolate and vanilla at the same time. All while sporting a light but compact cake inspired cookie with a hint of lemon that is rich enough to where it can stand up to the chocolate and vanilla. It straddles the line between cake and cookie, with the dual icings dealing a deathly blow of chocolate and vanilla intensity if you take a chance and eat right down the middle. I was hooked! 

The search for the ultimate Black and White Cookie

It wasn’t long before I integrated my quest for the ultimate black and white cookie into my search for the ultimate New York City bagel, due to most bagel stores in the city also happening to sell outstanding black and white cookies. 
 
Over the years I was able to drill down and find the aspects of the black and white cookie that I preferred most: The cookie has to be light in texture, slightly rich in flavor and soft with a hint of lemony acid but not too sweet. The icings need to complement not only each other, but the cookie too. None of the components should be the star of the show; they should all build on each other to make a memorable cookie experience. But don’t get too crazy; this cookie’s amazingness should lie in its simplicity which just happens to make you happy.
 
This vegan Black and White cookie recipe is designed to have all those traits. A touch of tapioca flour enables the batter to be extra light and perfectly moist. A specific combination of apple cider vinegar, lemon extract and vanilla extract gives this vegan cookie both richness and brightness that enables it to be on par with its traditional dairy-laden counterparts.

Find more Soy-free recipes on Veganbaking.net
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Vegan Black and White Cookie Recipe

For the cookies

2 cups non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
 
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
6 Tablespoons tapioca flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
 
1 ¾ cups granulated white sugar
¾ cup + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon extract

For the icings

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
 
¼ cup amber agave, corn or glucose syrup
5 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons water
5 cups (650 grams) confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
 
½ teaspoon water

1) Curdle the non-dairy milk

Preheat your oven to 375F (191C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles.

2) Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour tapioca flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

3) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients

In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, salt, vanilla extract, lemon extract and the non-dairy milk mixture from Step 1.

4) Whisk the batter together

Transfer the wet ingredients to bowl containing the dry ingredients and whisk together until well incorporated.

5) Pour the cookies out onto the baking sheet and bake to perfection

Using a dry quarter measuring cup and a dining spoon to catch drippings, scoop up the batter and pour it on the baking sheet, making sure to leave at least 1 inch between each cookie. The batter should be in a disc that’s roughly 2 ½ inches round after it’s poured onto the sheet. The batter will spread out more as you pour the rest of the cookies. Bake until the center of the cookies are firm, about 23 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets halfway throughout the baking duration.

Vegan black and white cookies before icing

6) Melt the chocolate

Make a water bath, also known as a bain marie, by placing a medium bowl over a saucepan of almost simmering water. Melt the chocolate in a the bowl while whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Learn how to make a double boiler or bain marie.

7) Prepare the vanilla icing

In a medium saucepan, prepare the vanilla icing by bringing the agave syrup, corn or glucose syrup and water to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until well combined.

8) Prepare the chocolate icing

Transfer ¾ cup of the vanilla icing and 1 teaspoon water to the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir until well combined. If the mixture thickens, heat it up in a microwave.

Vegan black and white cookies, ready to ice

9) Glaze one half of each cookie with vanilla icing

Place 2 or 3 large wire racks on top of parchment or waxed paper. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread about 2 tablespoons of the vanilla icing on half of the underside each cookie. That's right, since the underside of the cookie is perfectly flat, we're frosting it and it now becomes the top of the cookie. Tilt the cookie and run the spatula around the edge of the cookie to scrape off excess icing. Place the cookies on the wire rack and allow the icing to harden, about 15 minutes. 
 
If the vanilla icing begins to thicken, stir in hot water, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the icing is fluid enough to coat the cookies. Alternatively, if the icing is too thin and runny, whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the proper consistency is attained. 

Vegan black and white cookies glazed with vanilla icing

10) Glaze the other half of each cookie with chocolate icing

Using the spatula, spread the chocolate icing on the other half of each cookie, tilting the cookie downward and scraping away excess icing. If the chocolate icing thickens and cools, reheat it over a water bath until it's fluid enough to coat the cookies. If the icing is still too thick, stir in hot water, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the proper fluidity is reached. Place the cookies on the wire rack and allow the icings to harden, at least 1 hour. The cookies may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, for up to 3 days. This recipe makes about 24 to 26 Vegan Black and White Cookies.

Vegan black and white cookies glazed with chocolate icing

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Sat, 03 Aug 2013 05:19:22 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cookies/toasted-coconut-chocolate-chip-cookies <![CDATA[Vegan Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cookies/toasted-coconut-chocolate-chip-cookies Vegan Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip CookiesI decided to assemble Team Coconut: an all-star team of players dedicated to bringing in some serious coconut action. Like a Quiet Riot - Bang Your Head (on the Coconut) remix. Based on my Vegan Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, Vegan Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies boast toasted coconut flour, unrefined coconut oil, coconut sugar and shredded coconut that toasts during baking. Let’s do this. {loadposition share}Vegan Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I decided to assemble Team Coconut: an all-star team of players dedicated to bringing in some serious coconut action. Like a Quiet Riot - Bang Your Head (on the Coconut) remix. Based on my Vegan Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, Vegan Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies boast toasted coconut flour, unrefined coconut oil, coconut sugar and shredded coconut that toasts during baking. Let’s do this.

Infusing multiple layers of coconut into a cookie recipe

Reworking my vegan Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe into a toasted coconut version was much more difficult than I had anticipated. A couple months and many happy taste testers later I had an entirely different recipe. I say many happy taste testers because even when this recipe doesn’t turn out, it’s still just coconut, chocolate and sugar; you can’t really go wrong with that.

Did you know you can toast coconut flour and it becomes twice as good? Check it out. Below is coconut flour before toasting.

Coconut flour before toasting

Now here's coconut flour after toasting at 300F (149C) for 20 minutes, below. It makes your house smell real nice.

Coconut flour after toasting

Working with Coconut Flour

The piece of the puzzle that made this recipe so hard to master was the coconut flour. How much coconut flour should you add? It can lend a sandy mouthfeel to things like cookies and cakes when used in excess so you probably want to add just enough to where you have coconut flavor, but just before you feel like you’re eating something from the beach. 
 
Coconut flour absorbs about six times the water content of regular all-purpose flour. This means that once you find out how much coconut flour you can cram into your recipe, you’re going to need to know how much more water-based ingredients to add. Now since your recipe contains more water, you’re going to need to know how much longer you’re going to need to bake it. Oh and your recipe now has less gluten than it used to so the texture is going to be different too. Good luck with that. 

Getting gluten levels back in check for optimum texture

Less gluten normally means that you’re not going to have the chewiness you used to have. So I got around this problem by using gluten-rich bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, which increased the water requirements even more because gluten absolutely lurvs water. "Can you make these cookies gluten-free?" you might ask. Unfortunately the simple answer right now is no. It would require a complete rebuild from the ground up. A challenge which I'll probably rise to someday.
 
Unrefined coconut oil and coconut sugar is used to increase the level of coconut flavor as much as possible. It's actually still on the subtle side but if you’re a fan of chocolate chip cookies and coconut, you’re going to love these cookies. Please don’t skimp on the molasses. I use it instead of brown sugar because brown sugar is just granulated white sugar with molasses added anyway. It’s crucial to moisture retention and chewiness in cookies and it adds a subtle background richness. It’s all part of Team Coconut.

Find more Coconut recipes on Veganbaking.net
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Vegan Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1 cup + 2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
2 Tablespoons golden flax meal
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
 
1 ½ cups bread flour
¾ cups toasted coconut flour
¾ teaspoon salt
 
1 ½ cups + 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar or granulated white sugar
½ cup + 3 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons molasses
 
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
 
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1) Toast the shredded coconut

Preheat your oven to 300F (149C). Toast your coconut flour by placing it on a rimmed baking sheet and baking it for 20 minutes. Set the toasted coconut flour aside. Feel free to find out more information on toasting coconut flour. If you’re working with toasted coconut flour often and you love it as much as I do, you might want to consider making a large amount of it and storing it in a covered container for future use.

2) Curdle the non-dairy milk mixture

Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). In a small bowl whisk together the non-dairy milk, flax meal and apple cider vinegar. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes so the mixture thickens and slightly curdles. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

3) Whisk together the dry ingredients

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the bread flour, toasted coconut flour and salt. Set aside.

4) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients

In another medium mixing bowl whisk together the coconut sugar or granulated white sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract and molasses until well mixed. Add the flax meal mixture from Step 2 and beat until well combined.

Add the ingredients then beat until well combined

5) Mix the dough

Add the flour mixture from Step 3 and hand mix with a spoon until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips until well mixed but no more. This recipe utilizes bread flour to add additional gluten to make up for the lack of it in the coconut flour. Overmixing this dough will activate too much gluten which will result in cookies that don’t spread and come out excessively dry and crumbly due to gluten’s ability to hold onto moisture the more it’s activated. This is why it’s important to mix this dough by hand with a spoon only until just combined. Do not use an electric mixer to mix the dough.
 
After mixing, allow the dough to sit for about 1 minute so the coconut flour can soak up extra moisture in the dough. The cookie dough will be easier to handle this way.

6) Form the dough into balls, place them on the cookie sheet, coat with coconut and bake to perfection

Form the dough into 1 ½ inch balls. Place them on the cookie sheet so they're spaced about 2 to 3 inches apart. Using your hands, press the shredded coconut up against and on top of the cookies so it’s sticking to the dough while still leaving the dough mostly in the shape of a dome. If you were careful to not overmix your dough during mixing, they will flatten adequately during baking.

Form the cookies into balls then press the shredded coconut into them
 
Bake for 26 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking duration. This long baking time is required due to the cookies containing a significantly higher amount of water due to coconut flour's absorptive properties. The cookies will store in an airtight container at room temperature for about one week or in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to six months. This recipe makes about 22 to 24 Vegan Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Thu, 01 Aug 2013 04:59:06 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cakes/cupcakes/green-tea-cupcakes <![CDATA[Vegan Green Tea Cupcakes]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cakes/cupcakes/green-tea-cupcakes Vegan Green Tea CupcakesI love how green tea has a subtle ability to refresh coupled with a slight hint of savoriness. I adore how vegan cupcakes can be a celebratory canvas for almost any flavor combination, that you get to just pick up and take a bite out of. But how do you infuse green tea into a baked cake product? Easy, right? {loadposition share}Vegan Green Tea Cupcakes

I love how green tea has a subtle ability to refresh coupled with a slight hint of savoriness. I adore how vegan cupcakes can be a celebratory canvas for almost any flavor combination, that you get to just pick up and take a bite out of. But how do you infuse green tea into a baked cake product? Easy, right?

Gray’s Vegan Cupcake Anatomy

When I first started embarking on this a few years ago, I realized that it was obvious (or totes obvs, as I often say to purposely make my friends cringe) to use strong green tea and/or matcha powder as part of the liquid in the recipe. This would then be combined with all-purpose flour. What could possibly go wrong? Wait for it... gray cupcakes, that’s what. Try bringing that to a party and practice saying “oh but they’re green tea cupcakes” because that’s what you’re going to be saying to everyone that contemplates eating one.
 
I soon learned that I’d have to once again delve into the depths of food science to figure out why this was happening and, more importantly, figure out how to make real green tea cupcakes. This is war. I’m not going to let those little gray cupcakes get the best of me.

All-purpose flour contributes to yellowing

It turns out that there were two things that were contributing to gray cupcakes. The all-purpose flour I was using was the first culprit. Most cake flour is bleached which denatures proteins which allows the gluten in the flour to bind less and enables to flour to absorb more water. Another often overlooked benefit of this bleaching process is that it causes the flour to remain white throughout the baking process. All-purpose flour, which is often unbleached, will turn a golden yellow after it’s baked or heated. I’m unsure exactly why bleached flour appears to resist yellowing. Perhaps the compounds that change color during baking are deactivated during the bleaching process. It could also be that since the proteins are denatured, they’re less affected by heat related browning.

Cake flour enables baked items to remain white

Switching to cake flour made the cupcakes turn out brown. We’re getting somewhere! But I would still have to tell everyone these were green tea cupcakes. But at least brown is more appetizing than gray, right? There are now unbleached cake flours on the market and I haven’t had a chance to test this recipe with them. If you give it a go, please report back and let us know how it worked out in the comments section below. 
 
A popular way to create a cake flour substitute is to take 1 cup of all-purpose flour, subtract 2 Tablespoons from it and add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch or tapioca flour to it. This won’t work for this recipe because you’re still using all-purpose flour which will turn yellow during baking.

Enzymatic browning effects matcha during baking

But what was making the cupcakes turn brown? As I learned from my Vegan Blueberry Beetnik Muffin recipe, there was enzymatic browning that was occurring during the matcha’s exposure to heat during baking. In the muffin recipe I was having issues with them turning gray during baking until I remembered that alkaline accelerates browning and acid inhibits it. This is why if you add lemon juice to a sliced avocado or apple, you will have less browning as they sit in the open air. The acid deactivates the enzymes that oxidize them. 

Matcha Green Tea Powder
 
It’s important to note that acid and alkaline have the same effects on other forms of browning, not just enzymatic browning. To illustrate this, add a couple pinches of baking soda the next time you caramelize onions in a skillet. You’ll save about 20 minutes!

Fine tuning the acid in the cupcakes allowed the color to shine

After some testing I found that increasing the apple cider vinegar to 1 Tablespoon would provide the perfect amount of acid to deactivate the browning of the matcha, resulting in about as much green color I could legally get from green tea. This would also be enough to probably convince people that these were actual Green Tea Cupcakes without needing a full-time announcer to be present.

Vegan Green Tea Cupcakes showing some crumb
 
I then made a few batches to figure out how much matcha to use to create a subtle green tea flavor while enabling the proper green tea colors to come through. Early on I found out that using actual brewed green tea was unnecessary because it made barely any difference with color and contributed unwanted bitter flavors. In contrast, since matcha is just dried green tea leaves ground into a powder, it contributes more color, less bitterness and a wonderfully rich, smooth green tea flavor. The result is what I think you’ll find, are totes obvs green tea cupcakes.

Find more Easy recipes on Veganbaking.net
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Vegan Green Tea Cupcake Recipe

¾ cup + 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
 
1 cup + 3 Tablespoons cake flour, sifted
2 Tablespoons matcha green tea powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
 
½ cup + 3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt

1) Curdle the non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 375F (191C). In a small mixing bowl whisk together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar until smooth. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture thickens slightly.

2) Sift the matcha with the other dry ingredients

Place a flour sifter in a medium mixing bowl. Add the cake flour, matcha powder, baking powder and baking soda to the sifter and sift it into the bowl. Sifting these ingredients will accomplish two things: First, it will eliminate lumps in the matcha flour. Second, it will incorporate a small amount of air into the mixture which will enable to cupcakes to be as light and fluffy as possible.

3) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients

In another medium mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk in the non-dairy milk apple cider vinegar mixture from step 1 until well incorporated.

4) Whisk the cupcake batter together

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and briefly whisk together until just incorporated and the lumps are eliminated. It’s important to not over whisk here. Doing so will bind too much gluten and cause the cupcakes to become dry and mealy.

5) Bake the vegan cupcakes to perfection

Pour the batter into a cupcake mold lined with cupcake liners so the mixture is ½ the way up to the top of the cupcake liner. Bake for 17 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Store at room temperature in a covered container for up to 3 days. This recipe makes 12 Vegan Green Tea Cupcakes.
 
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Wed, 31 Jul 2013 23:05:53 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cake-decorating/frostings/easy-buttercream-frosting <![CDATA[Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/cake-decorating/frostings/easy-buttercream-frosting Easy Vegan Buttercream FrostingThis Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting is just a simple, versatile, delectable frosting that will elevate your cakes and cupcakes to a new level without requiring you to put on your lab coat and don your frosting goggles. You can either use Regular Vegan Butter with a cocoa butter base which is recommended, Regular Vegan Butter with a coconut oil base, or, if you haven’t gotten around to buying a walk-in freezer to store your Vegan Butter in yet, go the easy route and use store bought stick margarine. {loadposition share}Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting

This Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting is just a simple, versatile, delectable frosting that will elevate your cakes and cupcakes to a new level without requiring you to put on your lab coat and don your frosting goggles. You can either use Regular Vegan Butter with a cocoa butter base which is recommended, Regular Vegan Butter with a coconut oil base, or, if you haven’t gotten around to buying a walk-in freezer to store your Vegan Butter in yet, go the easy route and use store bought stick margarine.
 
Confectioners sugar provides the sweetening and a blend of apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, salt and almond extract round out the buttery flavor. Making this vegan frosting with Regular Vegan Butter with a cocoa butter base is recommended because it will enable your frosting to remain stable at temperatures in the neighborhood of 93-100F (34 to 38C). This means no more homemade vegan frosting sliding off your cake at summer gatherings. Whew!

Find more Easy recipes on Veganbaking.net
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Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting Recipe

1 cup (215 grams) Regular Vegan Butter or margarine, refrigerator temperature
 
2 cups (260 grams) confectioners sugar
 
1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons (24 mL) non-dairy milk
¾ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon almond extract

1) Prepare your chilled Vegan Butter

Prepare your Vegan Butter if using. Transfer the Vegan Butter or stick margarine to a medium mixing bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes so everything chills. This will allow the Vegan Butter to melt slowly and whip properly.

Prepare your Vegan Butter

2) Whip the Vegan Butter

Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and whip on low while working your way up to high until the Vegan Butter is smooth. This should take about 30 seconds.

Whip the Vegan Butter

3) Beat in the confectioners sugar

Add the confectioners sugar and beat on high until the sugar has been moistened by the Vegan Butter, about another 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl down towards the center with a spatula.

4) Beat in the rest of the ingredients

Add the non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, salt, almond extract and beat on high until the frosting is smooth and slightly fluffy, about 4 minutes. Due to coconut oil having a melting temperature of 77F (25C), beating beyond 4 minutes can result in the frosting melting if you’re using a Vegan Butter that contains this oil. If this happens or if you’re working in an especially hot kitchen, don’t hesitate to place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator briefly to give the frosting a chance to firm back up slightly. Keep in mind that your cake will need to be kept below 77F (25C) in order for the frosting to maintain its shape on the cake. If you’d prefer a frosting that stays put in higher temperatures, look to Vegan Butter made with cocoa butter which has a melting temperature of 93-100F (34 to 38C) which is closer to the melting temperature of milkfat found in most traditional frosting recipes.

Find out more about the melting temperatures of fats.

Beat on high until the frosting is smooth and slightly fluffy

5) Chill the vegan frosting briefly for optimal texture

After whipping, place the frosting in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm it up enough to apply to a cake. Store the frosting in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Remove it from the refrigerator about 2 hours before using so it can soften accordingly. This recipe makes about 1 ¾ cups of Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting which is enough to frost one layer of an 8 inch round cake.

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Wed, 31 Jul 2013 01:06:54 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/regular-vegan-butter-cocoa-butter-base <![CDATA[Regular Vegan Butter - Cocoa Butter Base]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/regular-vegan-butter-cocoa-butter-base Regular Vegan Butter - Cocoa Butter BaseWhen I originally developed my first Vegan Butter recipe I had no idea it would be helpful to so many bakers. I just wanted something that was truly homemade where I had full control of the production process so I could introduce variations to tailor the vegan butter to the application I was working on. Other advantages were that it didn't need to rely on palm oil, which much of the commercial vegan butter industry utilizes, which is linked to rainforest destruction, as well as placing Sumatra orangutans in perilous danger. 

The original Vegan Butter recipe uses refined coconut oil for a base, but what happens if there begins to be environmental issues with that type of oil? What if it's difficult to find coconut oil in your area? What if you recently had a dump truck empty 3500 pounds of deodorized cocoa butter in your driveway and you're wondering what to do with it? I don't know which one of these issues led to this, but soon after posting the first Vegan Butter recipe, people started inquiring how to make it using cocoa butter instead of coconut oil. 
{loadposition share}Regular Vegan Butter - Cocoa Butter Base

When I originally developed my first Vegan Butter recipe I had no idea it would be helpful to so many bakers. I just wanted something that was truly homemade where I had full control of the production process so I could introduce variations to tailor the vegan butter to the application I was working on. Other advantages were that it didn't need to rely on palm oil, which much of the commercial vegan butter industry utilizes, which is linked to rainforest destruction, as well as placing Sumatra orangutans in perilous danger. 

The original Vegan Butter recipe uses refined coconut oil for a base, but what happens if there begins to be environmental issues with that type of oil? What if it's difficult to find coconut oil in your area? What if you recently had a dump truck empty 3500 pounds of deodorized cocoa butter in your driveway and you're wondering what to do with it? I don't know which one of these issues led to this, but soon after posting the first Vegan Butter recipe, people started inquiring how to make it using cocoa butter instead of coconut oil. 

So, by popular demand, here is the recipe for Regular Vegan Butter - Cocoa Butter Base. Due to the difficulty of melting cocoa butter, the process of making this variation of Vegan Butter is different which is why I decided to post it on its own recipe page. Just like coconut oil, cocoa butter comes in both regular and deodorized, also known as refined versions, where they run it through an activated charcoal filter to remove its chocolatey flavors. This results in a wonderfully versatile solid fat that's extremely useful for a variety of uses. Looking to take advantage of the chocolate flavor of regular, unrefined cocoa butter? Then check out White Chocolate Vegan Butter.

Vegan Butter Mold

When making these vegan butters it's highly recommended that you use a silicone mold like the Tovolo King Cube Extra Large Silicone Ice Cube Tray. This will allow you to make gorgeous butter cubes that can easily be slid out of the molds.

Learn more about the food science behind Vegan Butter.

Regular Vegan Butter Recipe - Cocoa Butter Base

¼ cup + 2 teaspoons soy milk
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon coconut vinegar (if you can’t find coconut vinegar, substitute with ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar so the total is 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
¼ + ⅛ teaspoon salt
 
¼ cup + 3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (85 grams) refined (deodorized) cocoa butter, melted
¼ cup canola oil, light olive oil or rice bran oil
 
1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin or liquid sunflower lecithin or 2 ¼ teaspoons soy lecithin granules
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ + ⅛ teaspoon psyllium husk powder

1) Curdle your soy milk

Place the soy milk, apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar and salt in a small cup and whisk together with a fork. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles.

2) Mix your Vegan Butter ingredients

Melt the cocoa butter in a small saucepan over low heat so it's barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. You can also use a microwave but the melting is considerably faster using the saucepan melting method. Measure it and add it and the canola oil to a food processor. Making smooth vegan butter is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it's mixed. This is why it's important to make sure your cocoa butter is as close to room temperature as possible before you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.

3) Transfer the Vegan Butter to a mold so it solidifies

Add the soy milk mixture, soy lecithin and xanthan gum to the food processor. Process for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides halfway through the duration. Pour the mixture into a mold and place it in the freezer to solidify. An ice cube mold works well. The vegan butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 1 year. This recipe makes 1 cup (215 grams), or the equivalent of 2 sticks Regular Vegan Butter - Cocoa Butter Base.

For more vegan butter recipes check out the Vegan Butter section.

Vegan Butter

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Thu, 11 Jul 2013 02:01:10 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/chocolate-vegan-butter <![CDATA[Chocolate Vegan Butter]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/chocolate-vegan-butter Chocolate Vegan ButterOne of the benefits of Vegan Butter is that since you’re building it up from scratch, you can have full control of what you want it to be. It doesn’t have to go down the route of completely replicating traditional butter if you don’t want it to. Why would you want to replicate the texture of butter but not necessarily the flavor? Frostings and short doughs such as tart dough, pie crust and shortbread come to mind. You have much more variability in your end result if you can control flavor through your actual fat in addition to other ingredients. Imagine chocolate croissants where the butter is replaced with a fat that has the texture and flavor characteristics of both chocolate and butter. This is the reason I developed Chocolate Vegan Butter. Oh and you can spread it on toast too. {loadposition share}Chocolate Vegan Butter

One of the benefits of Vegan Butter is that since you’re building it up from scratch, you can have full control of what you want it to be. It doesn’t have to go down the route of completely replicating traditional butter if you don’t want it to. Why would you want to replicate the texture of butter but not necessarily the flavor? Frostings and short doughs such as tart dough, pie crust and shortbread come to mind. You have much more variability in your end result if you can control flavor through your actual fat in addition to other ingredients. Imagine chocolate croissants where the butter is replaced with a fat that has the texture and flavor characteristics of both chocolate and butter. This is the reason I developed Chocolate Vegan Butter. Oh and you can spread it on toast too.
 
This version of vegan butter took considerably more work to develop than I thought. This is because I needed to dial in the chocolate flavor and butter flavor all while keeping the texture as close to traditional butter as possible. 
 
The amount of chocolate added was important because it needed to be assertive but not too overpowering so the butter flavors could shine through. I also needed to tune in sweetness to enhance the chocolate flavors, but not too much or else the butter flavor would suffer. Finally, since chocolate has solids and cocoa butter doesn’t, the hardness of the vegan butter will change depending on the ratio of these two ingredients. The end result is a vegan butter that walks the line between butter and chocolate and can be used anywhere you’d normally use traditional butter. This results in the vegan butter having an extremely subtle sweetness.

Due to the different melting temperatures of cocoa butter and coconut oil, it's not possible to substitute coconut oil for the cocoa butter in this recipe and have the texture resemble traditional butter. In this case it would be excessively soft so it's not recommended.

Learn more about the food science behind Vegan Butter.
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Chocolate Vegan Butter Recipe

¼ cup + 2 teaspoons soy milk
¾ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
 
55 grams unrefined cocoa butter, melted
40 grams 100% unsweetened dark chocolate, melted
2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
¼ + ⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon instant coffee powder
 
1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin or liquid sunflower lecithin or 2 ¼ teaspoons soy lecithin granules
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum or ½ + ⅛ teaspoon psyllium husk powder
¼ vanilla bean (or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)

1) Curdle the soy milk

Place the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small cup and whisk together with a fork. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture curdles.

2) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients

In a medium saucepan, add the cocoa butter, unsweetened dark chocolate, sugar, salt and instant coffee powder. Whisk over medium-low heat until the fats are melted.

3) Whisk in the final ingredients

Whisk in the soy milk mixture from Step 1 followed by the lecithin, xanthan gum and vanilla. Whisk over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

4) Transfer the Vegan Butter to a mold so it solidifies

Pour the mixture into a mold and place it in the freezer to solidify. An ice cube mold works well. The vegan butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 1 year. This recipe makes 1 cup (215 grams), or the equivalent of 2 sticks Chocolate Vegan Butter.
 
For more vegan butter recipes check out the Vegan Butter section.

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Wed, 10 Apr 2013 00:31:15 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/egg-replacers/flax-seed-egg-replacer <![CDATA[Flax Seed Egg Replacer - An Egg Substitute That's Almost Magic]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/egg-replacers/flax-seed-egg-replacer Vegan Flax Seed Egg ReplacerTraditional bakers have been able to create a vast variety of foods over the last several hundred years of baking evolution. It’s surprising when you realize that everything from puddings to cakes to cookies vary little in the range of ingredients used. Versatile ingredients such as flour, sugar, fat and eggs make this sort of variation possible. These are the building blocks of pastry. Vegan baking is easy when all you have to worry about is manipulating flour, sugar and fat. So what are we do to do in regards to replacing the almighty egg? There is a legend that the Romans believed in chicken eggs so much, they mixed them into their concrete. To first understand what we need to replicate this building block we need to understand what an egg does in the world of baking.
{loadposition share}Vegan Flax Seed Egg Replacer

Traditional bakers have been able to create a vast variety of foods over the last several hundred years of baking evolution. It’s surprising when you realize that everything from puddings to cakes to cookies vary little in the range of ingredients used. Versatile ingredients such as flour, sugar, fat and eggs make this sort of variation possible. These are the building blocks of pastry. Vegan baking is easy when all you have to worry about is manipulating flour, sugar and fat. So what are we do to do in regards to replacing the almighty egg? There is a legend that the Romans believed in chicken eggs so much, they mixed them into their concrete. To first understand what we need to replicate this building block we need to understand what an egg does in the world of baking.
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Understanding the Egg

Love them or hate them, the chicken egg is an extremely useful food. If they were discovered today, they would trigger a revolution in how food is prepared. Eggs work in the following ways in traditional baking applications:

Structure builder

Eggs contain a particularly useful protein, among other egg proteins, called ovalbumin that is found in the translucent white, or albumen. These and other proteins consist in their natural state on the microscopic level as little rolled up balls. Think of them as tiny balls of yarn. When this protein is exposed to heat, it denatures or distorts it which causes them to unfold into little protein strands. The strands then join together to form a strong protein network that gives foods structure. This structure gets stiffer and stronger and actually pulls together slightly as more heat is applied and water is driven off. I visualize this as how rebar strengthens concrete. This network reinforcement is similar to how glutenin and gliadin come together to form a gluten network that creates structure in wheat-based bread. Ingredients that give foods this property are known as structure builders. This is why it is possible to have cake-like consistency in traditional flourless cakes; the eggs provide most of the structure in the absence of flour and actually work just like it.

Foaming agent

This is somewhat similar to structure building in that the egg proteins are not only good at strengthening, but also trapping air bubbles. Egg proteins and many other types of proteins can be denatured by heat but also by friction such as kneading or whipping. In this case, the egg proteins are denatured by whipping, join together and trap air bubbles. This is why eggs foams work so well in leavening cakes.

Emulsifier

An emulsifier is any molecule that has a water loving, or hygroscopic side and an oil loving, and hence, water repelling or hydrophobic opposite side. Emulsifiers are used in food to mix oil and water. This allows fats to more easily be dispersed in a food and water to be held in the food longer, leading to softer textures that take longer to stale. It is this ability of oil and water to work together that enables smooth ice creams, supple cakes and soft and chewy cookies.
 
There is no one type of food that can replicate all of these properties like an egg can so when looking into egg substitutions we need to use the ones that work for what we’re specifically trying to accomplish in the food. Flax seeds tend to be one of the most versatile foods for replacing eggs.

Flax Egg Replacer

Golden Flax Seeds

Flax seeds have an outer hull consisting of five layers. The outermost layer, called the epiderm, contains a mucilaginous material which makes up about 8% of the flax seed by weight. This goopy material, known in the food science world as a mucilage, or gel, can be drawn out of the seed in several ways and used as an egg replacement that is suitable for many vegan baking applications. Flax gel is a hydrocolloid, which is defined as a substance that forms a gel when combined with water. The term comes from hydro, meaning water, and colloid, meaning a substance microscopically dispersed throughout another substance. The hydrocolloid family is huge, with vegan variants including foods such as tapioca starch, corn starch, potato starch, arrowroot starch, agar, carrageenan and even lesser known ones with weirder sounding names such as xanthan gum, guar gum and sodium alginate. It seems almost as if there is a law somewhere that states that many hydrocolloids need to have names that sound like scary alien rulers. Fear not, because most of the time, these wonder ingredients are made up of basic food building blocks known as polysaccharides. Hydrocolloids usually work either build structure, emulsify and soften mouthfeel; many things that eggs already do in traditional baking applications.
 
Flax gel is made up of mainly polysaccharides which is a type of starch. Polysaccharides, from the words many sugars, consist of continuous strings of monosaccharides, or single sugars; individual sugar molecules such as glucose, fructose, or other sugar molecules. Make a necklace out of a dozen or so Fruit Loops cereal rings. Now open that necklace end-to-end and lay it out in a straight line on a table. What you have now is a model of a polysaccharide where the Fruit Loops rings are the monosaccharide molecules. Polysaccharides are important in foods because they are exceptional at holding onto water molecules. Their long sugar strings also bump and tangle into each other when poured which causes them to increase the viscosity of water-based fluids. To illustrate this, visualize pouring a cup of rice compared to pouring a cup of water. Water pours easily because water molecules are tiny and slide past each other with minimal friction. Rice grains are larger and have more surface friction so they don't pour as fluidly. Polysaccharides are also responsible for the thickness of molasses and why brown sugar retains more water to make for chewier cookies. Molasses also contains smaller sugar molecules that fit into the flavor receptors on our tongue and are perceived as sweet. Polysaccharides are too large to fit into these flavor receptors so their flavor is not significantly sensed on the palette.

Other plants such as chia seeds, aloe vera, okra and even some basil seeds also contain polysaccharide gels. I have experimented with okra and chia and found that chia seeds can be substituted for flax seeds on a roughly one to one basis, although they are considerably more expensive. I found okra gel to lack suitable density to be superior to flax and chia gels.
 
Plants use polysaccharides as food by breaking them down into their individual sugars and metabolizing them into energy. This is especially important to the flax plant because its seed will use these polysaccharides during the sprouting phase. Since they’re made up of sugars which are water loving or hygroscopic, they are especially good at holding onto water for the plant to use as well.
 
Fortunately for us, many of the reasons polysaccharides are useful for plants are the same reasons they work great for egg substitutes. Flax gel can work as a mild structure builder, low foaming agent and emulsifier in vegan baking applications. Most other vegan egg replacers such as fruit purées, legume flours and non-dairy yogurts can only do one or two of these things. Flax gel is able to do all three without imparting off flavors, colors or textures when it is done properly. Depending on how flax egg replacers are prepared, they can be a healthy alternative to other egg replacers due to their excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein content.

Flax Seed Drawbacks

Like most other egg replacers, flax seeds are never going to perform exactly like eggs. Eggs rely on proteins to do most of their work and flax seeds use polysaccharides so the results will not be exactly the same. Flax seed egg replacer is not a terrific foaming agent. That means it's next to impossible to use it to make extremely airy desserts like angel food cake, choux pastry or popovers. In fact, flax seed egg replacer can even do more harm than good in cakes due to its tendency to hold onto excess moisture. It also is not a structure builder in that it won’t form protein networks that reinforce doughs like an egg will. It will work to stick things together instead.

Finding the right Flax Seeds

When using flax for any food application it’s important to keep in mind two crucial points:
 
  • Never buy pre-ground flax seeds. Flax seeds contain oils that are extremely perishable. When the flax seed is ground, the oil is exposed to oxygen and begins to oxidize almost immediately. This oxidization turns the oils rancid which makes them toxic and causes them to impart a linseed oil aroma and flavor to your food. Linseed oil is in fact oxidized flax oil. When you buy pre-ground flax seeds there’s no way to tell how long they’ve been sitting around oxidizing. Always buy flax seeds whole, grind them yourself with a coffee grinder if you’re using them ground and store them in an airtight container in your freezer where they will keep for about a year. If you detect the taste of linseed oil in food prepared with flax seed egg replacers, this means that the flax seeds have gone rancid and should be discarded.
  • Look for golden flax seeds instead of brown.The brown variety will be more likely to darken your baked goods due their brown hulls.

Using Flax as an Egg Substitute

There are two ways to use flax seed as a vegan egg replacer. One is to use the whole ground flax meal dispersed in a liquid such as water, non-dairy milk or fruit juice and use it after it forms into a gel. The other, more involved way to use flax seed as an egg substitute is to boil whole flax seeds with water which extracts the gel, strain the flax gel off then discard the flax seeds. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks. Both methods are illustrated below.
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Flax Meal Egg Replacer Recipe

In this method, golden flax seeds are ground into a whole flax meal with a coffee grinder. This flax meal is then mixed into a slurry with water and allowed to sit until a gel forms. This slurry, as well as the gel that accompanies it is used to replace the egg. I use the same grinder for my coffee as I do for my flax grinding. To ensure my flax meal doesn’t take on coffee flavors, I first grind a small amount of either corn flour, dried rice or flax seeds and discard it. This first grind will remove all of the coffee flavor so you can grind flax seeds without having them absorb coffee flavors or aromas.

Ground Golden Flax Seeds

Pros of this method

  • It’s fast and works great for most egg substitutions where eggs are used, such as in baking applications where moistness and denseness are desired qualities. 
  • If you bake rarely you can pre-grind a large quantity of flax seeds, store them in your freezer and only use what you need when you need it.

Cons of this method

  • Flax meal has a subtle mealy flavor that's usually not prominent enough to stand out in most baked items as long as you don't add any more than about 3 Tablespoons of flax meal per normal, family-sized recipe. 
  • Flax meal can work as the opposite as a structure builder in cakes because its slippery nature holds onto moisture. The mucilage can actually coat the gluten and gliadin, effectively blocking gluten bonds from forming. So I recommend against using it in cakes. I admit, it took me a while to figure this one out!
  • This method won’t work when a smooth, creamy texture or a uniform light color is desired; the flax seed particles will make soft ingredients such as frostings and sauces grainy and light colored baked items will have golden flecks.
This recipe makes the equivalent of 1 egg.
 
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon golden flax meal

1) Grind your flax seeds

Grind the golden flax seeds into a meal in a blender or spice grinder. You may want to grind a larger amount and store it for future use. Like flax oil, flax seeds are extremely perishable so if you grind a larger amount for later use, store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one year. 1 cup of golden flax seeds equals about 1 ⅓ cup of flax meal. 

2) Whisk water into your flax seed meal

Add the water to a small bowl or cup. Add the flax meal and mix together with a whisk or fork. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes so it develops a gelatinous texture similar to a raw egg. Warm water will speed up this gelling process and make it happen about twice as fast.

Flax Gel Egg Replacer Recipe

This method involves extracting the flax gel from whole flax seeds using hot water then discarding the flax seeds. The gel is used to replace the egg. I must give credit to Miyoko Schinner for possibly inventing this method and popularizing it in her teachings.
 
Want to use flax gel in an already vegan recipe for extra binding power or to swap out another egg replacer? In this case, substitute the flax gel for the water in the recipe and whisk it in with the water-based ingredients. For instance, if your vegan recipe calls for 1 cup non-dairy milk, use ¾ cups + 1 Tablespoon non-dairy milk (1 cup minus 3 Tablespoons) and 3 Tablespoons (45 mL) flax gel to replace one egg equivalent and whisk them together. It’s ok if there are some other ingredients included when you whisk them together but since flax gel is water based, it will disperse best in water based liquids as you’re progressing through your recipe. Whisking flax gel into the vegetable oil in your recipe will not work because it won't allow the flax gel to disperse into the ingredients so it can do its job.

Pros of this method

  • Since there are no particles in the flax gel and it is translucent, it performs much more like an actual egg. It won’t impart as much flax flavor, color will not be affected and it won't contribute to a mealy texture. The purity of this flax gel allows you to use more of it where you need extra binding or emulsifying power such as soft and chewy cookies, bars or even ice creams.
  • Preparing flax gel allows you to make it in large quantities which can be a benefit if you bake often.

Cons of this method 

  • This method is far more involved than the Flax Meal Egg Replacer. If you don’t bake often it may be more trouble than it’s worth.
  • It can be tricky to measure flax gel due to its high viscosity and elasticity, but a solution is below.
  • Once you make flax gel, its life is limited to about 1 week in your refrigerator or up to 3 months in your freezer where it will have to be thawed out before each use. You can make this convenient by measuring out small quantities into an ice cube tray, placing it in a plastic freezer bag and freezing it.
3 Tablespoons (45 mL) Flax Gel equals 1 egg.

3 cups water
5 Tablespoons (50 grams) flax seeds

1) Boil the flax seeds in water

In a small saucepan, add the water and flax seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a low boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is gelatinous and stringy, about 20 to 25 minutes. It’s important that the mixture is boiled uncovered here because not only are we coaxing the polysaccharides out of the husk of the flax seed with heat, we’re also boiling off some of the water to get an extra thick consistency.

Flax Gel Before Boil

Flax Gel After Boil

2) Strain off the flax seed mucilage

It’s extremely important to use a strainer that has holes small enough so that the flax seeds don’t fall through but not too small or the flax gel won't drain off. This is the colander I recommend. A cheesecloth will not work because the flax gel won’t be able to flow through it. Immediately after boiling, place the strainer inside of a bowl and pour the mixture into the strainer. Wiping back and forth along the mesh of the strainer with a spatula can accelerate the straining process. It’s important that you strain the mixture immediately after boiling because as soon as it cools it will thicken to the point of where it's too thick to strain. If this happens, you can always reheat the mixture to a boil then strain it. Discard the flax seeds.

Straining the Flax Gel

3) Allow the flax mucilage to cool

Transfer the mixture to a small container and allow it to cool in the refrigerator until room temperature, about 1 hour. If using later, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you’re freezing the mixture you should consider measuring out 3 Tablespoon quantities, placing them in an ice cube tray and placing the tray in a plastic freezer bag before freezing. That way you can easily use one egg of flax gel without the burden of preparing it every time. Makes about 1 cup flax gel.

Flax Gel

Frozen Flax Gel

Measuring Flax Gel

Flax gel is a very powerful egg replacer but it can be difficult to measure out due to its extremely high viscosity and elasticity. It’s almost as if someone’s playing a trick on you when you need to measure it. Using Tablespoons, teaspoons and even transferring it to a container to weigh it is nearly impossible because it seems to want to go everywhere except where you want it to go. By far the best way to work with flax gel is with a $10 food grade syringe. By using a syringe it’s effortless to measure out a 3 Tablespoons, the amount that replaces one egg, when you note that 3 Tablespoons equals about 45 mL. You simply dip the tip into the flax gel mixture, pull the top of the syringe to draw the mixture inside of it to the desired measurement, transfer the syringe to where you’re dispensing it and push the mixture out. After using a food syringe for this purpose, I discovered that it works so well for transferring liquids that I ended up discarding my baster because it worked so much better. If you're into making sauerkraut you're going to love how easy it is to use one of these to draw off excess liquid.

Food Syringe
 
Not into remembering conversions and doing math? Me too. To easily convert Tablespoons and teaspoons to milliliters, check out the Baking Measuring Unit Converter.
 
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Tue, 02 Apr 2013 04:38:00 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/cultured-european-style-vegan-butter <![CDATA[Cultured European Style Vegan Butter]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/fats/vegan-butters/cultured-european-style-vegan-butter Cultured European Style Vegan ButterThe more I learn about pastry, the more I realize that European pastry is on a completely different level compared to classic American pastry. My impression is that European pastry is all about introducing flavor depth through manipulating eggs, butter and technique. Croissants, strudel and danish pastries come to mind. American pastry, on the other hand, tends to build off bold flavors with a strong sugar backbone accentuated by spices. Apple pie, cupcakes and cookies come to mind here. 
 
In the quest to become an adept baker, it’s important to draw from as many influences as possible. One trick that many American style bakers use to improve flavor depth is taking a cue from European bakers by using cultured European style butter.
 
How does American style butter differ from European style butter? Let’s take a look.
{loadposition share}Cultured European Style Vegan Butter

The more I learn about pastry, the more I realize that European pastry is on a completely different level compared to classic American pastry. My impression is that European pastry is all about introducing flavor depth through manipulating eggs, butter and technique. Croissants, strudel and danish pastries come to mind. American pastry, on the other hand, tends to build off bold flavors with a strong sugar backbone accentuated by spices. Apple pie, cupcakes and cookies come to mind here. 
 
In the quest to become an adept baker, it’s important to draw from as many influences as possible. One trick that many American style bakers use to improve flavor depth is taking a cue from European bakers by using cultured European style butter.
 
How does American style butter differ from European style butter? Let’s take a look.

American Style Butter

American style butter has about 80 percent fat and is frequently pasteurized. Pasteurization wipes most of the naturally occurring microbes so the butter tastes clean. Most American cows are raised in factory farms and fed a diet of corn and soy so the butter is white and devoid of minerals also which accentuates this clean flavor. 

European Style Butter

European style butter is about 82 to 86 percent fat and is developed more slowly which enables the cream to slightly ferment which allows the butter to develop a subtle sour tang. European cows are more likely to be grass fed which contributes carotenoids and minerals to the butter, contributing to a more rich flavor and yellow color. The slightly higher fat to water ratio compared to American style butter means that layered doughs will have a slightly lower tendency for gluten development and the fat will remain solid for a longer period which can be beneficial for layered doughs and short crusts.

The Components of Vegan Cultured European Style Vegan Butter

I set out to create a vegan European style butter so I could have other options when baking things like croissants and danishes. I wanted this vegan butter to be easy to make so other bakers could replicate it so I utilized plain non-dairy soy yogurt to make the water-based component. I then used slightly more fat than I normally do in Regular Vegan Butter to be true to style. 

The Sad, Sorry State of Vegan Yogurts

Have you had vegan yogurt lately? If you haven’t tasted dairy yogurt in a while you may believe that it’s close to the quality of dairy yogurt and be content. It turns out that, in my opinion, vegan yogurt is in a very interesting place in the food world. Is it that vegan yogurt manufacturers don’t know any better or is it that most vegans keep buying lackluster yogurts to the point of where the vegan yogurt industry doesn’t feel compelled to change? It’s like the difference between Sunny D and fresh squeezed orange juice. Most vegan yogurts are just glorified starch slurries that have been hurried through any fermentation at all if they’re lucky. This made it tough to recommend a vegan yogurt for this vegan butter. I should mention that I do have a friend that is working to change the state of vegan yogurt in the form of a fermented coconut yogurt which I’m thrilled about.
 
Cultured butter utilizes slightly fermented cream so I would have to find a yogurt that had as complex of a flavor as possible. This automatically ruled out anything other than a couple soy yogurts. After reviewing vegan yogurts, I found that the yogurts with the most complex flavor available in the United States would be Wildwood Plain Soyogurt and Wholesoy Plain soy yogurt, in that order. I currently don’t recommend anything other than those two soy yogurts in the US.  If you make your own vegan yogurt or know of a small producer who uses traditional methods to make a higher quality yogurt, then use that. If you’re thinking of using coconut or almond yogurt made by a major manufacturer, don’t waste your time and just make Regular Vegan Butter. Furthermore, if you’re interested in producing European style vegan butter as authentic as possible, I strongly advise you to not sacrifice that container of peach non-dairy yogurt you have in the back of your refrigerator; the sweetness alone will not make your vegan butter true to style.

Wildwood Soyogurt
 
Combined with the slightly higher fat content and preferred soy yogurt, the vegan butter still didn’t have enough of the cultured flavor I was after so I included a small amount of apple cider vinegar to amplify it. Vegan yogurts are usually loaded with hydrocolloids so I was able to get away from using xanthan gum, but not lecithin. The lecithin will make your butter more plastic which means it will melt more uniformly without separating. This is especially important in layered pastry.

When making these vegan butters it's highly recommended that you use a silicone mold like the Tovolo King Cube Extra Large Silicone Ice Cube Tray. This will allow you to make gorgeous butter cubes that can easily be slid out of the molds.

Learn more about the food science behind Vegan Butter.
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Cultured European Style Vegan Butter Recipe

¼ cup + 1 teaspoon plain, non-dairy yogurt (unsweetened if possible and preferably soy)
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ + ⅛ teaspoon salt
 
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil, light olive oil or rice bran oil
 
1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin or liquid sunflower lecithin or 2 ¼ teaspoons soy lecithin granules

1) Curdle the yogurt

Add the non-dairy yogurt, apple cider vinegar and salt to the food processor. Process it for about 30 seconds and allow it to sit for a few minutes so the soy yogurt slightly curdles.

2) Mix the Vegan Butter ingredients

Melt the coconut oil in a microwave so it's barely melted and as close to room temperature as possible. Measure it and add it and the canola oil to the food processor. Making smooth vegan butter is dependent on the mixture solidifying as quickly as possible after it's mixed. This is why it's important to make sure your coconut oil is as close to room temperature as possible before you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.

3) Transfer the Vegan Butter to a mold so it solidifies

Add the lecithin and process for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides halfway through the duration. Pour the mixture into a mold and place it in the freezer to solidify. An ice cube mold works well. The vegan butter should be ready to use in about an hour. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for up to 1 year. This recipe makes 1 cup (215 grams), or the equivalent of 2 sticks Cultured European Style Vegan Butter.

For more vegan butter recipes check out the Vegan Butter section.

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Wed, 27 Mar 2013 03:35:04 -0400
http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/breakfast/granola/apple-granola <![CDATA[Vegan Apple Pecan Granola]]> http://www.veganbaking.net/recipes/breakfast/granola/apple-granola Vegan Apple Pecan GranolaThis Vegan Apple Pecan Granola recipe brings on the apple flavor with the help of both apple chunks and apple sauce. Cashew butter forms its base and packs extra protein so you'll have sustained energy throughout your morning. I go low on the sugar for this same reason and to give the other ingredients a chance to contribute flavor. Nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon work to highlight the apple. Chopped pecans toast during baking and add a welcome nutty crunch. Once you've chosen your preferred apples and baked this granola to perfection you can add it to ice cream, splash it on non-dairy milk or top it with a dollop of non-dairy yogurt. {loadposition share}Vegan Apple Pecan Granola

This Vegan Apple Pecan Granola recipe brings on the apple flavor with the help of both apple chunks and apple sauce. Cashew butter forms its base and packs extra protein so you'll have sustained energy throughout your morning. I go low on the sugar for this same reason and to give the other ingredients a chance to contribute flavor. Nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon work to highlight the apple. Chopped pecans toast during baking and add a welcome nutty crunch. Once you've chosen your preferred apples and baked this granola to perfection you can add it to ice cream, splash it on non-dairy milk or top it with a dollop of non-dairy yogurt.

Find more Low-sugar recipes on Veganbaking.net

Vegan Apple Pecan Granola Recipe

¾ cup granulated white sugar
¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce, chunky
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup cashew butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest (or ½ teaspoon lemon extract)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon Maldon salt (or regular salt)

5 cups rolled oats (aka old fashioned)
1 cup wheat germ, wheat bran or oat bran
1 cup chopped pecans

2 cups chopped apples (about 1 ½ apples)

½ cup golden raisins

1) Preheat your oven

Preheat your oven to 300F (149C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Whisk together the flavor building ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, apple sauce, vegetable oil, cashew butter, vanilla extract, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt.  

3) Mix together the rest of the ingredients

In another large bowl, add the oats, wheat germ and pecans. Chop the apples and add them to the mixture. Add the wet mixture from Step 2 and stir until well incorporated. 

Chop the apples

Add the wet mixture from Step 2

4) Spread the vegan granola on the baking sheet and bake to perfection

Place the mixture evenly on each baking sheet and spread it out flat so it's evenly dispersed. Bake until the granola starts to dry, about 1 hour, rotating the baking sheets halfway throughout the baking duration. Remove from the oven and let cool.  

Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool

5) Break up the granola and mix in the raisins

Break up the bunches of granola into smaller pieces, transfer them to a large bowl and stir in the raisins. Transfer the granola to an air-tight container and store at room temperature for up to three months. This recipe makes about 8 cups of Vegan Apple Pecan Granola.

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Sun, 10 Feb 2013 22:05:00 -0500