I’m not a vegan personally but I love challenging myself to make recipes for various dietary restrictions, vegan or otherwise. For whatever reason, people always assume that the “vegan” version of something must taste worse than its non-vegan counterpart, thus I usually reframe from telling people that whatever I made is vegan until after they have tasted it and proclaimed how good it is. Take that butter and eggs, we don’t need you after all! Unless of course you are making brownies, in which case I have yet to find a vegan recipe that replicates the fudginess produced by butter and eggs.
Anyways, let’s talk about these vegan roasted strawberry coconut muffins for a bit. I will walk you through the process so you can try your hand at veganizing some of your own baking recipes. The #1 thing is that you have to know what purpose eggs and dairy serve in your recipe so that you can replace them with something that still manages to accomplish this. Say you take out the eggs from a soufflé – they are what cause the soufflé to rise. In order to do so successfully, you are going to have to find another ingredient that soufflés up like eggs do. It’s an awful example really because I am not sure I have ever seen a successful vegan soufflé before.
Never fear though, muffins are much easier! 99% of the time muffins involve a very basic process of mixing together wet ingredients, mixing together dry ingredients and then combining the wet with the dry. Usually there is nothing in the dry ingredients that is not vegan, so we are good there. Moving over to the wet ingredients, the 3 top culprits would be milk, eggs and melted butter. Melted butter is the easiest to replace, simply swap it out for equal parts oil. Milk is pretty simple too. It’s basically just providing moisture so swapping it with a non-dairy alternative, like almond milk, is no big deal. Eggs are a little bit trickier but only marginally. In muffins eggs serve two purposes; they add some leavening power and they act as a glue to hold everything together. By taking them out, you have to compensate for both of these factors elsewhere. In terms of leavening, I just add a bit extra baking powder (not much, if the recipe called for 1.5 tsp, up it to 2) and call it a day. As for the structural aspect of eggs, you can always use flax eggs in their place to prevent things from crumbling apart. The thing about most muffins is that they are wet enough that this never becomes an issue. Once that flour combines with the wet ingredients it should get gluey enough, for lack of a better word, to hold everything together. In other words, you can remove the egg(s) with little to no negative repercussions.
Then of course you have to make sure not to throw in any non-vegan additions. So sorry, no non-vegan chocolate chips or cream cheese filling. Although that should not be a probably when you can still use roasted strawberries and coconut. Combine that with a crunchy coconut oat streusel on top and no one will ever know your little secret. Vegan baking is not half as daunting as you would think, in fact cutting out ingredients makes it even easier than many traditional recipes. Let’s bake some muffins!
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup bran
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup oil (neutral flavoured like canola, grapeseed or light olive oil)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup roasted strawberries, chopped
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2-3 tbsp oil (neutral flavoured like canola, grapeseed or a light olive oil)
- To make the muffins:
- First heat your oven to 350F and line a 12 cup muffin cup with cupcake liners.
- Combine the bran and milk and let stand for 15 minutes or so to rehydrate the bran.
- In the meantime, combine the first quantities of flour, oats, baking powder, salt and coconut.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and brown sugar. When the bran is done soaking, mix the bran/almond milk mixture into the oil and sugar.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Add in the strawberries and stir until everything is incorporated but not over-mixed.
- Portion the batter equally into the 12 muffin cups and top with streusel (see below). Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool and eat.
- To make the streusel:
- Mix together the second quantities of flour, coconut, brown sugar, oats and oil.
- Sprinkle this liberally over top of the muffin batter before baking.