As a non-vegan who eats, cooks, and bakes with animal products daily, I don't think about vegan baking in the slightest. However, I have experimented in special diet and vegan baking a few times at the request of clients. When the opportunity pops up, I take it as a challenge to devise a recipe that tastes delicious and as close to "the real thing" as possible (apologies for any offense here). When I bake up these recipes, one thing is important to me—I don't want to use any "substitute" ingredients, such as egg replacers, xantham gum, and the like. This is mostly because I just don't stock the stuff and I want to use whatever I have in house.
Years ago, an order for vegan chocolate chip cookies came in at my bakery. As I searched for recipes, I came across a popular one called "Unbeatable Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies." I glanced it over, eliminated the oddball ingredients such as the egg replacer and soy milk, made a few tweaks, and whipped up a batch. Even without the egg replacer binder, they were truly great. Admittedly more delicate than an egg-bound cookie, the cookies were still great thanks to the oats and coconut which impart a decent chew. They were so good, in fact, that I'd bake up a batch to sell in the pastry window whenever I had the chance. I wouldn't even say they were vegan, and no one ever knew.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.