Vegan Baked Goods

So far, it's been our experience that baked vegan desserts leave a little to be desired. Bread doesn't seem to lose much in translation as often bread recipes do not call for non-vegan ingredients anyway. Most of the baked desserts we've tried however, have paled in comparison to their non-vegan counterparts. So when Jane received The Joy of Vegan Baking for Christmas this year, we were both hopeful. Here was an expert who had a published book on the very topic we were having issues with. An answer had to be in sight!

Jane decided that she would bake at least two recipes a month from this cookbook. So far, we've had the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (twice), the Blueberry Lemon Muffins, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and Peanut Butter Cookies. The Peanut Butter Cookies were made with Almond Butter however as Jane doesn't care for peanuts in almost any form.

The Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins were excellent the first time around, but didn't hold their shape well. In other words, they were falling apart even as Jane removed them from the muffin tin. However, they tasted great. They were amazingly moist and tender and the combination of bananas and chocolate always wins in my book. Jane thought that the muffins may have fallen apart because the bananas we bought were rather large. Since the recipe calls for four mashed bananas, rather than an actual measurement, there is a lot of room for error here.

After such an auspicious start, we had high hopes for the recipes that followed. Next in the cookbook is a recipe for Blueberry Lemon Muffins. They cooked up nicely and I thought they tasted good, but Jane felt they had a metallic taste and was thinking it was the baking soda / vinegar combination which is used as a leavening agent here. So, one for two.

Mexican Wedding CookiesNext were the cookies. We had Mexican Wedding Cookies at a friend's house this year, made with vegan butter in our honor. According to our friend, with that change she had a completely vegan recipe. They were excellent. So we had high expectations here. The cookies looked exactly the same. Unfortunately, these were dense and very doughy, not at all melt-in-your mouth as the recipe claimed. But not every recipe is going to work, so this didn't deter Jane from her next endeavor.

Almond CookiesAlmond Butter Cookies. These cookies were very good. The batch didn't last two days (it wasn't just us though, we had company and put out the plate of cookies)! Jane made half the batch as described and half with chocolate chips. Surprisingly, the ones without the chocolate chips were better! Both versions of this cookie would have benefited greatly from a glass of cow's milk. But we don't drink that anymore. Regardless, we will certainly be having these again.

And then it was back to the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. This time Jane only used three bananas, and they were slightly smaller than the bananas she'd used the previous time. Also, she forgot to set the timer so they were slightly overcooked. They still had the same great flavor, but they were a tad hard and that definitely detracted from the experience. Alas.

I wonder what she'll make next?


  1. Thanks Chou.
    I’m afraid that if Jane does perfect this recipe, we’ll gain back all the weight we lost in our initial transition to veganism (me 20lbs., Jane 11).

  2. My wife has this book, as well as a couple other favorites of hers, and everything she has made has come out great. She has become a vegan-baking guru. I honestly can’t understand why people want to put eggs and butter in their sweets after having vegan versions!

  3. I’m glad your wife is getting such good results. What’s been your favorite recipe from the cookbook?
    As for eggs and butter, Jane and I both feel that the non-vegan desserts taste better and have a better mouth-feel to them. We’ve made a conscious choice not to eat those things anymore, so we’re experimenting to find what works. There are some vegan desserts that are delicious, but so far the baked goods haven’t been as good as their non-vegan counterparts, although we have found a few things we like enough to eat again.

  4. If you don’t think the vegan options are far superior then you must be doing something wrong. My wife took a few batches of brownies and cookies to work and they were devoured with the recipes being begged for! My wife uses Earth Balance as a butter replacer and she finds most recipes need no type of egg replacement. Not sure of her favorite recipe, I’ll ask.

  5. So far, we have not found the vegan baked good options to be even on par with non-vegan baked goods. This includes desserts we have purchased at restaurants and vegan bakeries, not just Jane’s attempts at cookbook recipes.
    The only things that we consistently love are the Vegan chocolate (and oatmeal chocolate) chip cookies from Trader Joe’s, and the Fudgey’s dessert at Fatty’s restaurant, which is a chocolate cake, however it’s a tad dry.
    But Jane’s only tried 4 recipes from JOVB and she’s not quite ready to give up yet.

  6. Once she gets it down you’ll never look back, trust me. I can’t believe I bought into the diea that you needed dairy and eggs to make cakes/pies/cookies etc for as long as I did.

    Take a look at Veganomicon as well. It has alot more than just sweets and is a fantastic cookbook.

    Once she gets the hang of it she’ll veganize all of those fatty, cholesterol laden goods and make them rock on her own without the need for a cookbook.

  7. We actually have Veganomicon out from our library right now. (We usually try to test drive before we buy.) Haven’t spent much time with it yet, but it looks promising. Anything in there you particularly recommend?
    Jane’s feeling pressure now for a successful vegan baking session (beyond the chox banana muffins) – ­čÖé

  8. hiyas, i found your site by accident… i wanted to HIGHLY recommend “vegan cupcakes take over the world” for, well, vegan cupcakes. the recipes are amazing and it’s a cute little book. i haven’t made one failed cupcake yet! (and several are “healthy” enough to be called muffins!)

  9. Hi Jennifer,
    We’re actually test-driving (have on loan from the library) Veganomicon by the same authors. We’ve seen a number of blog posts on Vegan Cupcakes take over the World recipes and they wonderful.
    We’ll put ourselves on the list to borrow that book next.

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