Healthy Desserts: Baking Egg and Dairy Free

For those of us with a sweet tooth, one of the toughest things about eating healthy is getting good desserts. You always find yourself breaking your diet, or buying low fat or vegan sweets at Whole Foods or local bakeries, which can get expensive. But there are tons of ways to stay healthy and still get your sugar fix. The pecan pie pictured above is an old family recipe, which takes a stick of butter and an egg. We’ve found that vegan butter works just fine when baking, and there are many egg replacements to experiment with.

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We love to use to flax meal to replace eggs. You simply take a tablespoon of flax meal per egg in your recipe (you can add more just to give it a thicker texture) and add warm water. Let it sit for a minute, and the flax will absorb the water. You will notice the thickness resembling the texture of an uncooked egg. It will bind your food really well and mimic an egg’s texture, but it won’t leaven like an egg, so you can always add activated yeast to your mixture to account for that.

You can use applesauce in cookie or pancake recipe’s to replace egg, or pumpkin or peanut butter. Sometimes we’ll try some combination of any of them! It always gives us delicious results.

There is also aquafaba, requiring a more involved technique, that is the preferred egg replacement for vegan restaurants and bakeries. Aquafaba is the water leftover from cooking and soaking garbanzo beans.

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You can use the water in a can of chickpeas bought at the store (if your going to use it to make sweet recipes, avoid pre-salted garbanzos), or soak and cook the chickpeas yourself. You just soak a cup of dry garbanzo beans overnight and drain. Add to a pot, filling cold water to 2 inches above the peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until tender (40 minutes to an hour). You can skip the soaking process, but give yourself more time to cook if so.

When you strain the peas, save the water. Add the water to a pot and reduce the leftover water to a syrupy texture. This is the aquafaba, and a tablespoon can be used at a one to one ratio per egg in your recipe. Again, it will not leaven like an egg, but it will give you genuine texture and flavor. You can make vegan pound cakes, whipped creams and meringues, and hollandaise sauces that would fool any carnivore. Try it out and let us know how it went!

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