By Erin Trauth
Depending on whom you ask, honey may or may not be vegan. PETA claims it isn’t cruelty-free, while others (usually those touting honey-based products) claim it’s just fine for vegan consumption. Since honey is technically derived from an animal, however, I’m just going with “no” for all intensive purposes.
Honey can play an important part in the sweetening and browning of many baked goods, including honey pie crusts and many cookie variations, especially those of the oatmeal kind (yum!). What’s a vegan baker to do?
Thankfully, there are plenty of easy honey substitutes. One fabulous plant-based honey substitute is agave nectar, which is easily found in most natural health food stores and can also be added to teas and smoothies. However, there is some controversy around agave–specifically over whether or not it is “natural.” Check out Ayinde’s take on it. (Pssst! Gossip alert! He calls agave a ‘skank!’)
Organic maple syrup is another alternative as adaptable a sweetener as it is easy to get your hands on.
For a thicker consistency in your baked goods, try some molasses – it smells like heaven and will give your crusts a rich texture you won’t get any other way.
Here’s one of my favorite agave nectar-based fruit and oatmeal cookie recipes. Give it a try and let us know how it goes in the comments!