Veganizing Old Favorites

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While I was growing up, there were a few recipes that my mother made on a regular basis, usually with me to serve as her baking assistant.  For cookies, we usually made the “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies” from the lid of the Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats container, but substituted chocolate chips for raisins.  For cake, we almost always went with the “Loaf o’ Gold” recipe from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, but made the “Marble Pound Cake” variation.
When I first went vegan, I didn’t even think of trying to “veganize” these old favorites, and instead looked for new, already-vegan recipes to try.  I just assumed that I would get better results with recipes that were designed to be vegan, and I was not yet comfortable enough with vegan baking to experiment on my own.  After a few years, I did try to veganize some of my family recipes, with limited success.  I made batches of vegan Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, experimenting with various butter and egg replacers, and even making bar cookies (which I had never tried with the vegetarian recipe).  For the Marble Pound Cake, I didn’t try as many vegan substitutions, but I did look for ways to reduce the fat in the original recipe.  The results were always delicious, but on the whole they reaffirmed my belief that veganizing a vegetarian recipe is probably not the best way to make a great vegan dessert.

Marble Pound Cake

For example, both of the original recipes I mentioned call for an entire stick of butter (technically, the Loaf o’ Gold calls for half margarine/half butter, but we always used all butter in my family).  Sure, it would easy to use vegan margarine instead and keep most of the recipe intact, but I wouldn’t want to.  Replacing milk, butter, and eggs in vegetarian recipes can certainly be done with pleasing results, but the final product won’t taste the same as the original, and you’ll forever be comparing your veganized creation to the “real thing.”
If you can’t find an existing vegan recipe for a particular dessert, then you can get creative with vegan baking.  I’ve found that it’s better to recreate your favorite recipes using vegan methods than to veganize old favorites. Going vegan definitely broadened by cooking and baking horizons, and for anyone whose disappointed by vegan desserts, it might be because your stuck in a non-vegan frame of mind for your baking references and are using recipes designed to work with eggs and dairy.
When veganized, the recipes that I thought made the best vegetarian desserts rarely made the best vegan desserts.  I still make adaptations of my old favorites once in a while to satisfy my nostalgia and I always enjoy the taste, but there are definitely vegan recipes that are better!

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June 5, 2009. Uncategorized.

4 Comments

  1. Shelby replied:

    I totally agree! Some of the best desserts are made vegan in the first place. Though I have had some pretty good vegan variations…

  2. Evanna Hope Ossnel replied:

    Yummy…. first pict… first sweet… omg… It must be very tasty-…

  3. Nora replied:

    Can you post the recipe for those veganized healthified choc chip oatmeal bars? I’m dying over here!

    • Vegan Sweet Tooth replied:

      The recipe is still a bit of a work-in-progress, but I hope to post it eventually! The original, non-vegan recipe is available online if you want to try veganizing it too!

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