A few weeks ago, The Vegg, posted a call on facebook asking for vegan bloggers to review their new cookbook and product. We were quick to ‘offer’ our time to get a free cook book and chance to try out Vegg in a purposeful, systematic way. For those who aren’t familiar, Vegg is a ‘vegan egg yolk’ which can be used as a substitute for egg yolks in baking and cooking. It comes in a flaky, powder form and has gelling properties which can be used to spherify into a yolk or bind other ingredients.
We had used Vegg before, but without much thought, basically using it in lieu of the usual egg substitutes, Ener-G Egg Replacer, flax meal, etc. Now, though, with a whole cookbook of recipes, we were excited to try them out. The book has recipes divided, basically, into breakfast/brunch, entrées and desserts. The fun thing about the cookbook is that many of the recipes tackle the egg as a main ingredient. Things like egg noodles, omelets, egg salad, frittata, egg nog, and my first Vegg Cookbook dish, quiche.
I’ve never had quiche before, at least that I can remember, and never really had a strong urge to make it, especially eating vegan. There a re a few quiche recipes in the book. I made the Broccoli Quiche by Helen Rossiter of Vegetarian Recipe Club and Lots of Nice Things. I’ll tell you, I was very impressed by this recipe. In fact, I loved it. The recipe made one quiche in a 8″ pie plate and I ate half of it in one sitting.
The crust was very flaky, the consistency (primarily a silken tofu and vegg mixture) was rich and delicious and the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes were a perfect filling.
For the pastry, I added the flour, salt and margarine in a food processor and pulsed a few times until a sandy consistency, then added just enough water to bring it together (less than a teaspoon). This made the dough difficult to roll and lay over the pie plate, so I did my best and pieced together most of it. I think this allowed for a more flaky pastry as adding 2-3 Tbs of water would have made it too tough and chewy.
Also, I mixed my broccoli, onion-garlic mixture and sun-dried tomatoes with the tofu-vegg mixture, then poured into the parbaked pastry crust. This ensured even distribution and prevented the veggies from burning by sitting on top.
Topped with a mixture of Diaya mozzarella and cheddar shreds.
After this first success, we are very excited to keep plugging away at the cookbook and trying our own recipes with The Vegg. Many of the recipes in the book were user submitted and credit the chef. This is another cool way to find new vegan recipe blogs to follow and share in the vegan community. However, a downside to this is that there isn’t much consistency as far as directions, serving sizes or methods. Some may be intimidated by this… or see it as a fun challenge!Posted on August 29th, 2013 by Dan
The second recipe we made out of the Vegg Cookbook were these little bite-size Indian croquettes. Fried quinoa and potato patties, coated with bread crumbs from Nancy Montuari Stein of www.ordinaryvegan.net. We only had them fried, but she gives a baked option in the cookbook.
In the cookbook, they’re suggested to be served with a spicy dipping sauce, which, disappointingly, is not in the cookbook, so we ate them with Trader Joe’s “Goddess” tahini dressing and peach, cherry chutney from last summer’s preserves, along with sauteed lemony kale and garlic from the garden.
One of the things I’m most excited about with using Vegg is with desserts. I bought a “Chocolate Bible” from a discount store a while ago and every cake recipe calls for 7-10 egg yolks. I tried one once, using a combination of flax meal and Ener-G Egg replacer… it was a thick, dense disaster. I’m optimistic that I can figure out how to veganize a sponge cake eventually, and maybe the Vegg is in that equation.
The best-sounding dessert in the Vegg cookbook, in our opinion, was the Tiramisu Cupcake recipe by Matthew Calverley of Vegan Heartland. We made it for a family dinner with my parents and siblings to see how they felt about a Vegg dessert.
Overall, approval was high. The cupcake, was much denser and chewier than cupcakes I’ve had before (vegan or not). The cream cheese frosting was very tasty, though a bit runny on a hot summer day.
The reason for the chewiness, I believe is over mixing. The recipe called for whipping the wet ingredients. Then, folding in the dry ingredients. Then, stirring in additional milk and vanilla extract. I think this caused too much mixing and thus too much gluten development, thus a denser, chewier cupcake. I think the milk and vanilla extract should have been added to the wet ingredients to reduce the amount of mixing.
Also, the tiramisu flavorings came from cocoa powder in the frosting and a coffee glaze poured over top the cupcake. Unfortunately, I don’t think this provided enough flavor, especially since the coffee glaze didn’t really soak into the cake. Instead, next time I would add some coffee liquor/ground coffee powder and cocoa powder into the batter from the start.
I didn’t have enough cream cheese on hand for the frosting recipe, so I subbed in enough shortening to make it hold together. This worked pretty well and made a nice frosting which was easy to pipe onto the cake.
Overall, we were really pleased with how these cupcakes turned out, we can’t wait to experiment a little more with them.Posted on September 8th, 2013 by Dan
It’s always such a task to be the first one out of bed on a weekend morning and make what everybody is craving- pancakes. So far, we have utilized two pancake recipes, one for fluffy hand-sized pancakes and another for thin, silver-dollar ones. The latter, by the way, is terrific since you make it in a blender.
In our recent efforts to use Vegg in our cooking, especially from the Vegg Cookbook, we decided to try out the lemon poppy seed pancakes from the cookbook. This recipe, from Meggie Woodfield of The Vegan Adventures of Meggie and Ben, was one of the best pancake recipes we’re ever had! “I forgot what pancakes tasted like”, Susanna surprised me after eating them Saturday morning. But she was right, these were not just good pancakes, but delicious. They were light and very fluffy and the lemon poppy seed was icing on the
pancake. And so of course, I had to do that cliche pancake photo shot: staked up high with maple syrup running down.
I used 1.5 cups of white flour and 0.5 cups of whole wheat and stirred everything until just combined (with a few lumps), then fried them without letting the batter rest for 10 minutes as the recipe suggests.Posted on October 13th, 2013 by Dan
I get most excited for the first pumpkins to mark the fall harvest. I bought two sugar pumpkins last week and used it all up in a week. Since we did such a great job canning tomatoes, I was hoping to do a lot of pumpkin preserving for the winter. However, I was disappointed in finding out that you can’t safely can pumpkin puree, though you can do pumpkin chunks, which I plan on trying.
Since I immediately pureed my pumpkin, I had to find ways to use it all up (which wasn’t so hard). I made double batches of our pumpkin granola, delicious pumpkin cake (recipe to come), pumpkin red lentil curry, and these tasty cookies.
The cookies are soft and chewy with a hint of pumpkin and spice, though they probably could have taken more of each. The brown butter idea is from some similar recipes I found that used it to add flavor. Since Earth Balance doesn’t have as much lactic sugar as dairy butter, I added some Amaretto to add some toffee notes.
Makes 24 cookies.
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
- 1/4 tsp Amaretto (optional)
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp Vegg powder + 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 cups AP white flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- Brown the butter in a small sauce pan on medium-low heat and melt, stirring in the Amaretto. Let bubble for a few minutes (no more than 5) until a slight, but noticeable color change (light brown) and a nutty odor occurs.
- Add the now browned butter to a large bowl (or one of your stand mixer) and beat with the sugars. Add the Vegg powder and water and combine. Then add in the pumpkin puree, spices, vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Sift in the flours, cornstarch and baking soda and fold with a rubber spatula, then fold in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop tablespoon sized balls on a baking sheet (parchment or silpat) and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are browning (the tops will still seem soft, but they’ll firm up out of the oven).
We unexpectedly got about four inches of snow today, which didn’t really change our plans for the day (crunch time with schoolwork), but made the day cozy and put us in the mood for baking. With all the recent talk of the potential shutting down of Baltimore’s Berger cookie bakery because of the ban on trans fats, we decided we’d give making them a try. We used King Authur’s recipe and veganized it with the obvious substitutions of butter, milk, cream, and egg (vegg), and we also used agave syrup in place of corn syrup. They turned out delicious and the icing is pretty close to how I remember the original Berger cookie icing, but the cookie isn’t much like the original. But at least they are trans fat free!
Other notes on the recipe in case your going to try it: we cut the recipe in half and it made 9 Berger-sized cookies, but they didn’t need 10 minutes in the oven, they started to burn a little- so keep an eye on them.