Plant-based (vegan) cookies

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by wfpb, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. wfpb

    wfpb

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    Hi all,
    I have been trialling a completely vegan version of my "regular" cookie recipe (butter, brown sugar, molasses, egg, wheat flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips), by substituting the butter and eggs with coconut oil, sunflower oil and water. The thought behind it is that butter and eggs are mostly fat and water.

    The plant-based cookies come out amazingly similar to the originals in looks, flavour and texture, however it seems from the initial tests that they might go stale more quickly (the butter-based version is still excellent at 5 days, the vegan one seems to be showing aging signs on day 3)

    Any opinions on why that is?

    Cheers!
     
  2. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    It's most likely due to the absence of eggs. Eggs perform multiple functions in a cookie dough, and it's an ingredient that's hard to substitute. Yolks provide a lot of tenderness and additional fat, so the loss of this function will be very noticeable. The proteins in whites provide structure and another way to hold moisture in. So if you are substituting eggs with an equal amount of water in your recipe, the shelf life will be much shorter. This is a great article on the function of eggs in cookie doughs: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/12/cookie-science-how-do-eggs-affect-my-cookies.html

    Maybe instead of using water as an egg substitute, use a vegan egg substitute. Ener-G Egg Replacer is one brand. You can also use silken tofu or even ground flax seed. A Google search for vegan egg substitutes yields many results.
     
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  3. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    What @chefpeon said.
    The same question (re shelf life) was asked and answered a couple of weeks ago.... I advised to look at freezing.
    Other very good threads scattered around on CT re vegan and gluten free baking as well.
    Little pearls of wisdom don'tcha know.
    Welcome aboard.
    mimi
     
  4. wfpb

    wfpb

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    Thank you @chefpeon and @flipflopgirl for your replies.
    That's as I thought, I am trying today ground flax seeds to cover the function of the egg and I'll post the results here as a follow-up.

    I agree that freezing is definitely the best option. In order to get them to people's freezers, however, I first have to get them to the people themselves, which usually happens two to three days after baking. My regular cookies stay quite fresh for at least five days, whereas the plant based ones start to stale by day two. Let's see how the protein in the flaxseeds and the other tweaks I'm trying today work.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    I've had good luck using aqua faba as a substitute for eggs in some baked items Ive made. You might give that a try also.
    Good luck,
    Peachcreek
     
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  6. wfpb

    wfpb

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    I'll keep this thread up-to-date with my research and experimentations for the sake of completeness of information, and in case anyone else is interested in the subject of plant based cooking and baking in particular.

    So far ground flax seeds and water have worked very well in my recipe, giving the cookie a better colour, structure and also shelf life.

    Next up is a variation on the same theme: a "gel" very similat to egg whites made by cooking the flax seeds in water and then straining the result. I'm curious to see if the extra browning of the surface in the last batch was due to the actual ground seeds in the dough or rather to the effect of the gel that forms after soaking them in water.

    I've also ordered some lecithin, which is found in egg yolks. It should improve the life span of the plant-based cookies even further. More on that later on.
     
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  7. chefpeon

    chefpeon Kitchen Dork

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    “I've also ordered some lecithin, which is found in egg yolks. It should improve the life span of the plant-based cookies even further. More on that later on.“

    Make sure the lecithin you buy is soy lecithin. Other types probably aren’t vegan.
     
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  8. wfpb

    wfpb

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    Yes, I did order soy lecithin, although I want to try sunflower lecithin as well. Some people are still funny about soy products, doesn't matter how many times you state "gmo free and orfanic"...