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Hello all, Happy September!

I don’t know about you but this month is going to be very busy for me as I juggle full-time work, part-time grad school and family time.  I’ve been baking up a storm to have healthy goodies to send to school for my kids, including my youngest who just started kindergarten this week!  Our favourite has been the Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini Bread.   It’s my Banana Zucchini Bread with Cranberries, just omitting the nuts and switching the cranberries for chocolate chips for a fun treat, recipe here.   We use Camino Bittersweet chips which we like for the great chocolate taste not overpowered by sweetness.  They are organic, vegan, and fair trade.

Earthgiven Kitchen chocolate chip banana zucchini bread

I was pleased to have a request from a guest blogger to post on Earthgiven Kitchen on the subject of vegan baking.  It’s so easy to swap eggs, dairy and honey in baking for other binders, leavening agents, oils and sweeteners.  It certainly doesn’t have to be very expensive either.  My box of EnerG egg replacer (potato starch based) cost about $7 and replaces about 100 eggs!

A handy cheat sheet for newbie bakers:

infographicVeganBaking_PETA_REVISED72Source: PETA.org

I’m going to put my feet up now and study my textbook, savouring the last piece of zucchini bread while you enjoy this guest post….thanks to Ana for the submission!

Why You Should Try Vegan Baking!

What used to be a fad has now evolved into a lifestyle practiced by many people around the world. The vegan style of living has even reached cultures which are dominantly inclined to meat eating because of abundance in livestock breeds. Recent statistics published in StatisticBrain.com show that there are about a million vegans living in the US. Going vegan has a lot of benefits; there’s a reduction of saturated fats, which will in turn improve cardiovascular health. A vegan diet prevents diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and cataracts. Physically, it can lower your BMI, and it also improves skin health.

The vegan movement has not only affected main courses—it also invaded dessert items as well. There are now healthy alternatives to baking ingredients which you can apply to your favorite cakes and sweets. Don’t think that just because these substitutes are vegan-friendly, then taste will be sacrificed—in fact, these are as delicious as your traditional ingredients. Which products may be substituted? One staple ingredient when baking is butter. You can opt for vegan shortening such as Earth Balance Natural Shortening for your pie crusts and cookies, instead of using butter. If you want to bake lavish personalized cakes a la Marks & Spencer, go for egg substitutes such as ground flax seeds or mashed banana. Soy yogurt can also be used instead of eggs as it can add richness to your baked treats. Coconut milk may replace heavy cream. Buttermilk can be substituted with soy milk combined with a teaspoon of lemon juice.

Earthgiven Kitchen cupcakesThere are also vegan alternatives for sweeteners. Maple syrup or agave nectar can replace honey as an ingredient. It’s advised, though, that you bring these substitutes to a simmer in order to come up with thicker syrup. Instead of white sugar, use “vegan sugar” such as unbleached sugar or beet sugar. For your pies and gingerbread, you can opt for the bittersweet taste of molasses.

One more thing before you go and start baking…. Ontario peeps, today is the last day of the amazing Toronto Food Festival.  Don’t believe that vegan baking is just as delicious as non-vegan baking?  Check out Sweets from the Earth, Bunners (photos below of their cinnamon bun and butter tart), APIEcalypse Now and more to change your mind!  I’ll be there and hope you will join me too, for a wonderful celebration of peaceful deliciousness!

Sept 9 2012 Vegetarian Food Festival  (28)