|Clockwise from top: Pistachio Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Toffee Bites, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Lemon Cranberry Cookies, Molasses Crinkles|
Easy vegan baking substitutions
Butter: This one seems like a no brainer: pick up some margarine and you're set, right? Not necessarily. Only a few margarines are actually vegan. A quick peek at the ingredients reveals that many margarines have whey, lactose or other dairy products. The vegan stand-by is Earth Balance, but there are some others that are accidentally vegan (and therefore cheaper!). Fleishmann's Kosher margarine is dairy free, as is Celeb calorie-reduced margarine (find in Loblaws family of stores), and Irresistibles calorie-reduced, lactose-free margarine (find this one in Metro family of stores).
**UPDATE** I've just discovered that Becel makes a VEGAN margarine! Best of all, they haven't taking advantage of this niche market by charging extra, it's the same price as their other products.
Eggs: In baking, eggs do double duty: binding and leavening, aka they help ingredients stick together and add extra puff. This is an easy fix if you pick up a box of Egg Replacer powder. It's actually a very simple mixture of starches (binding) and baking powder (leavening). Can't find egg replacer? I've been known to make my own by combining 1/2 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 2 tbsp water.
A batch of cookie dough usually only contains one egg (a low egg-to-flour ratio) an easy substitution. Other baking, such as some kinds of cakes, that call for a high egg-to-flour ratio, and requires more creative solutions since the eggs are actually adding a lot of body to the recipe and cannot be replaced by water and starch.
For more great ideas on baking substitutions, check out these baking substitution guides from VegNews and VegKitchen.