How to get your vegan cooking right

In recent years, the vegan lifestyle has caught on in everyday, mainstream society for a number of reasons. Many people simply believe it is a more ethical way of living in terms of reducing cruelty to animals raised in modern, mass-production agricultural systems. Others point out its environmental benefits, noting that a plant-based diet generally consumes fewer natural resources and leads to less pollution. Still, others do it for health benefits, as the vegan diet has been shown to be a lifestyle that is easier on the heart, and can reduce many types of disease associated with the traditional Western diet.

While being vegan can be a beneficial and healthy lifestyle, most vegans do not want to completely forgo all the foods they once loved. This can mean eating a vegan Boca “cheeseburger” or making a faux “pepperoni” pizza once in a while. And, of course, there are the desserts, because who wants to live without their favorite treats?

Natural food stores and even vegan bakeries have popped up all over the country. If you’re a lucky vegan, there’s a tasty store or bakery near you where you can grab a cupcake, muffin, or cookie when you get a craving for sweets. Sometimes though, you just want to be able to bake up some chocolate chip cookies in your home and eat them warm and fresh out of the oven with your favorite non-dairy beverage. And really, who doesn’t like it when their home smells like sugar cookies or chocolate cake?

When it comes to vegan baking, there are some easy parts, and then there are the trickier elements. Of course, you can easily substitute any milk a recipe calls for with your non-dairy beverage of choice. I’ve had a lot of success with Silk soy milk in baking, although some people prefer to use almond, hemp, or rice milk. I find that plain soy milk has a consistency and flavor that doesn’t detract from the taste of baked goods, but that is a matter of personal preference, and most non-dairy choices will work perfectly fine.

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