Vegan foods cannot contain any type of animal product. Poultry, fish, and meat are the most obvious items that must be eliminated from this type of diet. Eggs, honey, and dairy products cannot be eaten by vegans either, and create a bigger problem when finding acceptable vegan desserts.
For any baked good to be considered vegan, it can not be made with eggs, milk, cream, or butter. Acceptable egg substitutes are soft tofu, applesauce, mashed banana, or cornstarch. Milk can be replaced with soy milk, nut milk, rice milk, or even water. For buttermilk, a mixture of soy milk and vinegar can be used as a substitution. Vegan margarine is available in some supermarkets and health food stores.
Placing several substitutions in a regular recipe can be tricky. Using a vegan recipe for baked goods is the best option for making satisfying vegan desserts. Vegan recipes can be found for cookies, cakes, pies, and brownies.
Fruit crisps and cobblers are among the easiest vegan desserts to make. For a quick and easy crisp, simply pour oatmeal prepared with soy milk or water over fruit. Blueberries, sliced apples, and peaches are great options. Fruit salads combined with vegan marshmallows and nuts are a simple dessert choice as well.
Nut products, such as peanut butter, are important to a vegan diet because of their protein content, which vegans may have trouble getting elsewhere. Desserts containing nuts such as chocolate peanut butter pie, or macaroons made with coconut and dates, can be healthful as well as delicious. Cookies are particularly easy to work nuts into, from peanut butter cookies to chocolate chip cookies loaded with extras such as pecans and almonds.
For those who prefer prepackaged dessert products, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has put together a list of vegan baking mixes. Included on the list are Betty Crocker Bisquick baking mixes, Aunt Jemima Coffee Cake Mix, and Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Gingerbread Mix. Several flavors of Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Frosting made the list, as well as Pillsbury® Treat Toppers in chocolate or vanilla. Many Jello-O instant puddings are also considered vegan by PETA. Vegan baking products on PETA’s list include Crisco® Original Cooking Spray and All-Vegetable Shortening, Keebler® Ready Crust Graham Cracker Pie Crusts, and Blue Bonnet® Light Margarine.
By working creatively with dairy substitutes, nearly any traditional dessert can be made into a vegan dish. When purchasing packaged mixes, consumers should always double check the label to make sure that the contents adhere to vegan standards. Many products that aren’t labeled as vegan, still meet the appropriate requirements and can be used as delicious vegan desserts.