Recipe follows at the end
This is the recipe that got my boyfriend to go vegan. What made him take the final step from not caring what he ate to someone who wants to live a vegan life (and does, he is doing very well at it).
What makes that click varies between people, it might be seeing a piece of meat on a plate and thinking “that used to be a living creature” to a desire to change the world. It was eating these muffins that produced the click, he said “I get it now” and is now vegan.
This story came to mind recently, when I got into a discussion with my boyfriend about “how vegan is too vegan”. Does there come a point where you are avoiding too many things in ‘just in case’ that you cease to be a productive member of society. (Tyres of vehicles contain animal products, so do you walk everywhere, and what if trains and buses have leather seats? And what about rodents and insects that die when crops are harvested, do you only eat food you grow yourself. Books, may have animal products in the ink or the binding glue, does it still count if you borrow the book from a friend or library?)
Neither of us are big sugar eaters, but the issue of sugar does come up occasionally, and do we eat it.
It is something that I find interesting there are vegans (or “vegans”) who eat honey and think nothing of it (and no, honey is not vegan), and then there are other vegans who avoid sugar.
Sugar in itself is a vegan product. It is produced from the juice of sugar cane. It is the refining process which can in some instances make it not a vegan product. Some companies use bone-char to refine and bleach their sugar, this applies to white and brown sugar.
In the USA, the Sugar Association, and some of their largest sugar producers claim that the bone-char is from “cows have died of natural causes“… If you say so.
This might be the reason why people think vegans don’t eat dessert, or it might be they think vegan is a weight-loss diet, who knows. I know vegans who say they are often served fresh fruit as a dessert while everyone else eats delicious creamy, sugary concoctions, and know they are missing out. On the other hand, being served fresh fruit, you know what you are getting, and not taking the risk of someone assuring you that the cake they made is vegan and what they mean is it contains “free-range organic eggs” (yes, Judy Davie “Founder of The Food Coach”, I am talking about you).
Is there such thing as a perfect vegan? Or is it a case of trying each day to reduce the suffering in the world. And to never stop trying, in our own lives and in the world.
So here it is…
Vegan Banana Toffee Caramel Muffins
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons vegan margarine OR cold pressed macadamia nut oil
Preheat the over to 180C (less for fan-forced: 160C).
Mash the ripe bananas til very soft, almost liquid. Mix with the milk.
Mix four and sugar in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture.
Stir til just combined. Do not over mix or will lose it airiness.
Pour into greased muffin tray.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
Brown Sugar (quantities vary, equal quantity to margarine)
Vegan Margarine (quantities vary, equal quantity to brown sugar)
Soy or Nut Milk (quantities vary)
Cornflour – one tablespoon for every cup of milk
The amount of sauce is dependent on the amount of milk used.
Mix the cornflower into the milk until it is blended.
Melt the sugar and margarine, over a low heat in a small saucepan. Quantity depending on desired level of sweetness, for every tablespoon of sugar add a tablespoon of margarine. Do not allow to burn.
Slowly add the milk mixture. Stir continually. Should thicken and go sticky depending on the heat. If not, add more cornflour, blended with a little milk til dissolved. Stir through well.
(Also makes a good frosting/filling for cakes)
200g caster sugar
12 tablespoons water
8 teaspoons lemon juice
Melt the sugar, water and lemon juice on low heat in a heavy based saucepan until fully dissolved.
Turn up the heat to high and watch constantly. After about 5 minutes, it should turn caramel. Thicken and darken.
Turn heat down to very low, enough to keep the caramel liquid but stop it turning more brown. Be very careful, the caramel is very, very hot and you can burn yourself very easily. It will cool within minutes.
Take two forks and cooling the toffee slightly, make strands by dipping them into the toffee and making circular motions around the muffin. The strands cool and harden. If strands do not occur then the toffee needs to cool a little further. If it cools too quickly, keep it on the stove on very low so that it can be reheated if the toffee sets too hard while you are spinning it.
Make the muffins, and either split open or smother the outside with the caramel sauce, decorate with pecans optional. Then swirl over strands of toffee.
Shout out to The Sweetest Vegan: Vegan Dessert Connoisseur. Anyone who can blog about sweet desserts gets my full appreciation.