Vegan Holiday Baking Tips from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
The pleasures of the yuletide season are many, but for some of us, the list can be narrowed down to just three: cookies, cake, and pie. The sweet allure of those ubiquitous holiday treats is hard to resist this time of year, especially when you toss in the homey smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Ah, but you’re a vegan-baking newbie, you say? Don’t fear the oven says Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, revered author and founder of Compassionate Cook. Recreating your beloved baked goodies at home using plant-based ingredients is easy-peasy, she says, once you grasp the fundamentals.
“Really, what baking is all about is fat, leavening, binding, and moisture,” says Patrick-Goudreau, whose book The Joy of Vegan Baking has become the go-to tome for would-be bakers everywhere during the holiday season. “All of these things are found in plant foods.”
Patrick-Goudreau says a baker’s best friends include baking soda, baking powder, and yeast for leavening, and non-dairy butters and vegetable oils for fats. To add moisture to your batters and doughs, she proposes plant milks, vegetable oils, bananas, and even water. Flax seeds blended with water, as well as oils and non-dairy butters, offer the best binding properties.
Part of the fun of baking is sharing the end results with friends, family, and co-workers. Patrick-Goudreau’s no-fail, go-to favorites are her Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. “They’re just moist, familiar-tasting, and delicious,” she says. “All of my recipes are meant to transport people to a familiar memory and taste sensation, and baked goods do this so easily because they’re such comfort foods.”
These Lemon-Poppyseed muffins, from Patrick-Goudreau’s latest project, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, are Sunday-brunch-worthy and taste as delicious the next day as they do fresh out of the oven. Try them with warm mug of spiced apple cider for a holiday-inspired treat.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Lemon-Poppyseed Muffins
Makes 12-16 muffins
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water
3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/4 cups organic granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from the 3 lemons you use for the juice below)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
3/4 cup canola oil or melted nondairy butter, such as Earth Balance
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil one or two muffin tins.
In a blender or food processor or in a bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip the flaxseed and water together, until you have a thick and creamy consistency. The result should be rather gooey. This can all be done by hand, but a food processor/hand mixer does a better job in about 1 minute.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, poppy seeds, and salt.Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the flax eggs, coconut milk, lemon juice, oil, and vanilla extract, and stir mix until smooth, about 1 minute.
Pour batter evenly into the prepared muffin tins.Spoon about two tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup. You will have enough batter for 12 to 16 muffins, so either bake in two batches or use a second lightly oiled muffin tin. (Tip: if you’ve already oiled all of the cups of the muffin tin but don’t fill all of the cups with batter, add a small amount of water to each cup that doesn’t contain batter. Baking an empty, greased cup makes for hard cleanup!)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.