"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper." --W.B Yeats
Do you believe in magic? I certainly do. When I can't wrap my head around how something exists or occurs in nature I write it off as magic. I may not be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but when I accomplish something that was seemingly impossible I declare, "I'm a magician!"
One of the things that feels like an impossible feat of hocus pocus is the 'incredible, edible egg." The chicken, duck, goose, ostrich, emu, quail (not caviar) egg. The yolk, the white, the shell, the laying. It's magic.
As a cook, eggs are one of my favorite ingredients. They can perform a multitude of magic tricks: soufflé, omelet, sunnyside up, hard boiled, soft boiled, meringue, poached, and then the binding, the breading, the baking. These are all unbelievable feats of culinary goodness.
This last weekend, I was asked to perform a few magic tricks. I catered the wedding of my friend Leigh Angel. (Follow her on Instagram and sign up for her vegan food blog It's A Mock Lobster.) I gave you a clue there, Leigh doesn't eat eggs, or animal protein of any kind. Many of her guests were vegan as well. I had so much fun coming up with vegetable forward flavor combinations. We did a creative taco bar/Mexican buffet.
I have a lot of experience omitting meat and dairy in savory cooking. Vegan desserts? Nada. Nope. Uh-uh. Not a lot of experience in that department whatsoever. Leigh had mentioned in a recent post that there is a vegan 'egg' solution when a recipe calls for the yolked and white ovoid.
1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 2.5 tablespoons water = 1 egg. (Set aside for 5 minutes.) What?! Yup.
I could wrap my mind and imagination around the savory dishes we put on the wedding menu, but I was really nervous about the desserts. Leigh and her now husband, Brian, opted out of many wedding traditions and created their own template for how to get hitched. Thankfully, one of the traditions they chose to forego was a wedding cake. I was only asked to prepare passed sweets. Phew! I wanted Leigh and her guests to love my vegan treats. But more importantly, I wanted to come through for Leigh and Brian on their big day. I needed a magic wand to pull this off.
Here's the thing about magic; we are all magicians capable of achieving impossible tasks. There actually is a 'recipe' I use all the time.
Magic = Research + Practice + Intention + Belief.
When I don't know how to do something, I look it up. I gather evidence that it is possible and explore the ways people before me accomplished it. And then I practice. I employ my research and try out the techniques of others. Intention seems like a no brainer, but I skip over it all the time and it is truly the key ingredient. I don't ever set out to fail, but if I don't declare a positive outcome or imagine my success before I begin, I'm doomed. It's easy to become one of those, "We'll wait and see what happens" kind of people. No! I don't wait and see. I set an intention and then I root for myself, giving myself a say in the outcome. And that is tied closely to belief. We must believe our trick is possible and that we can pull it off. We must move forward with a positive expectation.
Abracadabra....I did it! Look at these beauties! My flax eggs performed beautifully. The passed desserts were so delicious and everyone was pleased. Egg eating and non egg eating guests alike! I can now officially add vegan cinnamon blondies to my repertoire. (I also made vegan Mexican chocolate brownies,) "I'm a magician!" We all are magicians. Here's to doing the things we think we cannot do!
Vegan Cinnamon Blondies
Adapted from The Spruce
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter sticks
- 1 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 flax eggs (see recipe in the blog above)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 12-ounce bag dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon mixing until well-combined. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, use an electric hand mixer set to medium speed and beat the soy margarine with the brown sugar for about 3-4 minutes or until creamy and fluffy.
- Add the flax eggs while beating the mixture.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Gradually beat in the flour mixture until well combined.
- Fold in the dairy-free chocolate chips.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Allow blondies to cool completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack before cutting into squares and serving.