POV: It’s Valentine’s Day, and you want to show off all of your new quarantine baking skills and make some cute Valentine’s Day treats, but your best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, or S/O is vegan. What even is a vegan and what can they even eat?
As alarming as being a vegan may sound, it’s really not too scary, and they can eat everything except things with animal products. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, honey, gelatin, and anything else made from an animal or made from anything an animal produces (ie. eggs, milk, and honey), but do not fear, there are plenty of other foods that contain a sufficient amount of protein.
Now that we’re all on the same page, I have found and tried a few vegan-friendly recipes that don’t taste like grass, so all of your vegan and omnivorous friends can share a fun Valentine’s Day treat.
If you want to have a COVID-safe brunch and you love a good carb, you really can’t go wrong with waffles.
A lot of the basic waffle or pancake mixes that you can buy at the store have dairy products in them, but my favorite brand of waffle mix, Kodiak, actually has created a plant-based mix that is completely vegan. That being said, this recipe for vegan waffles (https://veganheaven.org/recipe/vegan-waffles/) was super quick to make and tasted great.
This recipe calls for almond milk, but I used oat milk because that’s what I had. I used oat milk for all of these recipes, and really, you can substitute any non-dairy milk for these recipes. Also, if you have a gluten allergy you could always use gluten-free flour or something like almond flour.
To add a little Valentine’s Day spice, I put red food coloring into the batter to make a light pink color, but once they cook, you can’t see it as much. If you want to do that, definitely add enough. Also, I added some vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is a good brand) just for fun, but you don’t have to.
I have a mini waffle maker because my big one broke, so this recipe made around a dozen waffles, so if you have a mini waffle maker too, you can freeze the ones you don’t eat and warm them back up in the toaster. Then, it’s just like the ones you buy at the grocery store.
The batter was super quick to make, and most of these ingredients you probably already have in your house.
Overall, I would definitely make these again, and I would recommend this to any vegan, vegetarian, or anyone who just wants to try something vegan, but is scared that it will taste bad. 11/10 you cannot tell a difference at all, and they’re delicious (non-vegan, aka my brother, approved).
The other brunch recipe you could try if you’re feeling a little more adventurous (or if you just love this food even a fraction as much as our editor Laura does) is pop tarts. This is the recipe I used to make mine: https://www.sarahbakesgfree.com/2016/02/gluten-free-vegan-pop-tarts.html .
If you’ve ever tried to make pastry dough, you know that it is different than regular dough, and even with my knowledge of my lack of pastry dough skill, I still decided to attempt this recipe.
The recipe calls for a gluten-free flour blend because it is a gluten-free recipe, but I knew that no one who would be eating these needed gluten-free flour, so I just used regular flour, but once again, either option will work fine.
The four to six tablespoons of water definitely seemed like a suggestion to me; however, if you are a pro baker, you will probably just stick with that. I ended up using eight or nine tablespoons of water for the pastry dough because it just seemed way too dry for me, so honestly just make that part up; you’ll be okay.
Another creative liberty I took was the elimination of a pastry cutter. I do not own one, but Google said that you could just use a fork. The fork method for mixing the vegan butter into the flour and sugar worked perfectly fine for me. I would suggest not concerning yourself with a pastry cutter and instead, cutting the butter up into small pieces and mixing it in with a fork.
I was skeptical of the plastic wrap rolling method, but it was actually quite successful, and I would not try it any other way. Once you get the hang of it, it works very well because you aren’t getting dough all over your rolling pin.
Fun tip: if you want to help the environment a bit, you can use Silpat silicone cooking mats instead of single-use parchment paper on your baking sheets
I made my icing pink for Valentine’s Day, but the decorating is really just your choice. Also, if you don’t like coconut, you could easily substitute any non-dairy milk for coconut milk because you get a faint taste of coconut in the icing. I used strawberry preserves in my pop tarts.
I was pretty impressed with how these turned out. They are not cute, but they are so good. 8/10 because I’m docking a point for presentation, but that is not the recipe’s fault.
If brunch is not your vibe, or if you want something you can make a big batch of and drop it off at your Valentine’s house, I also tried a chocolate chip cookie recipe and a cupcake recipe.
These chocolate chip cookies are not very Valentine’s Day-y, but this recipe (https://domesticgothess.com/blog/2018/04/10/vegan-chocolate-chip-cookies/) was super simple, and they taste just like any normal cookie.
This recipe was a little exciting to read because it is “HIGHLY” recommended that we use gram measurements for the ingredients to make the perfect cookie. Spoiler alert: I did no such thing, but do as you please.
Once again, I used oat milk as my non-dairy milk of choice, and the vegan butter I used was the brand Miyoko’s Creamery because that’s what they had at Target. If you frequently forget to take your butter out of the fridge to soften it beforehand, like myself, you can set it on top of the oven while it’s preheating, and it will make it a little softer. However, it’s probably fine to use it not softened too.
Overall, these cookies are perfect. However, they would’ve been a bit better if I had baked them for the amount of time that the recipe suggested. I probably added at least eight minutes, if not 10 or more, to the baking time because they didn’t look ready, but that was a big mistake because now they are very hard. They might not get as dark as you think they should, but just take them out of the oven.
Also, I doubled the batch because I wanted to make enough to take to my church friends, but now they might not want them because they are like rocks. If you did not heed my warning, maybe just dip them in the non-dairy milk of your choosing so you don’t chip a tooth.
9.5/10 because they are delicious, but -1 if anyone breaks a bracket off of their braces.
Lastly, the most controversial, for reasons that will be disclosed later, of these recipes: cupcakes. I used this recipe for the cake part of the cupcake (https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-chocolate-cupcakes/) and this recipe for the frosting (https://www.icanyoucanvegan.com/easy-vegan-vanilla-frosting/) because I wanted to make it pink for Valentine’s Day, but if you prefer chocolate, just use the recipe that is with the cupcakes.
To begin with, the chocolate cupcake was delicious and all the things that you would expect from a cupcake.
The issue arose with the frosting. I thought that it tasted off, and I have chalked that up to possibly be some expired powdered sugar. However, all of my resident food testers thought the icing was amazing (if I do say so myself), including my Grandmother who is an absolute icon of a baker. I would’ve thrown these cupcakes straight in the trash if she told me to, but she loved it.
I gave it some time and tried the frosting again another day, and it was quite delicious, so I really believe it was just a user error. If I were you, I would not let this slight dilemma prevent you from trying this recipe.
The only creative liberties I took for this recipe was not using apple cider vinegar to make “buttermilk,” and it turned out fine.
Out of all of the recipes, these were definitely the cutest, so if you want to impress your Valentine, maybe try this recipe and decorate it really cute. If you don’t have piping bags for the frosting, just put it in a Ziploc bag (preferably a gallon-sized bag because they’re thicker and sturdier), and cut a hole in one corner so you can squeeze the icing out in a nice design.
9.8/10 because of our little icing scare, but these were so good and very festive.
You absolutely can’t go wrong with any of these recipes if you want to make some tasty Valentine’s Day treats, and maybe this will encourage you to try some more vegan foods.
If you want to make one of these recipes and be featured on the Eagle’s Eyrie Instagram, DM us @godwineagleseyrie, and follow us while you’re there.