Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's Not Easy Baking without Butter

I miss my butter.  Creamy, salty, comforting.  I've been perusing vegan cookbooks and blogs (my favorite right now is this one: Post Punk Kitchen because these women can write - they always tell a nifty story when describing their recipe odysseys) - and the savory is great, I do not miss butter there.  However, baked goods are frustrating me.  They come out too sweet for my taste buds because there is no fat to cut the sugar.  When I cut back on the sugar, cakes and cupcakes become tough.  I've tried substituting brown sugar, honey, molasses, but baked goods still come out, at least for me, with that sweetness that goes right to the frontal lobe and gives me a headache.  

But my dairy allergic girl loves her sweets and so I persist.  There must be some sort of an answer (well other than a lobotomy).  And for me, that answer is the incredible little egg.  Which is why I'll never be a vegan.  Well, that and bacon.  (I once had a friend who became a vegetarian except for pancetta fried up all crispy and who can blame her?)

The other day I was looking through a Nigella Lawson cookbook when I stumbled across a banana muffin recipe that used OIL and EGGS instead of butter and I hit my head Homer Simpson style emitting a big "DOH."  The mashed banana and the oil created a lot of moisture.  I substituted some brown sugar for half the white sugar which also adds moisture.  And, because I didn't have any overripe bananas, I substituted applesauce, and a yummy dairy free muffin was born.  
Here it is:
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt (not kosher or sea)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce (OR: mashed very ripe banana, or a combo of both)
1 cup of non-dairy Enjoy Life Chocolate Mega-chunks (if you don't want chocolate you can use any other kind of chip, butterscotch, peanut butter, or you can use blueberries or raspberries, but if you use fruit please see my note below)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Drop some cupcake liners into a cupcake pan.  This recipe makes about 12 cupcakes.  (I always use liners, and when I don't have liners, I cut up parchment into squares, line the squares up over the 

Whisk oils and eggs together so they create a nice foamy emulsion. 

In a separate bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients, then mix in the eggs/oil.  

Using a wooden spoon, mix in the applesauce (or bananas or whatever).  After that carefully fold in the chips.  (Note: if you are using blue berries or raspberries don't add them now, wait until you are filling the muffin cups drop half of the batter into the muffin cup, sprinkle 3 or so blue or raspberries then top with another scoop of batter)

I like to use a 2 inch ice cream scoop to fill the muffin cups - but you want to fill each cup almost to the top.  Place in the oven for 20 minutes.