I'll admit it: I was one of those dairy-loving, egg-cracking people who just didn't like vegan baked goods.
Some of my nearest and dearest friends are vegans, and I've always respected their ethics and their unnaturally healthy glows. But their muffins? They tasted like sawdust. Their cookies crumbled at my very touch, and not in the metaphorical way. And if a cake has more carrot than cake batter, count me out.
That is, until I wandered the aisles of Whole Foods jonesing for some raw chocolate chip cookie dough. (I'm a grad student with a bachelor's in stress eating.) I found this brilliant package, which looked just like a pint of ice cream -- perfect for individual scooping. Surely, something in a pint must have milk in it.
I was wrong. It was vegan. Worse, it was GLUTEN-FREE. But I'll try anything once, and that first spoonful of raw dough tasted just like the sneaky Pillsbury forays of my youth. It was perfect. (You can order it online. It's made by a wonderful company called Eat Pastry.)
This dough was my gateway drug. If the vegans had mastered this, what else had they gotten up to while I was busy passing judgment?
Well, for one thing, donuts. Brooklyn's Dun-Well Doughnuts, which makes vegan circles of heaven, is a national treasure.
I had to find more good spots, so I turned to one of those glowing, ethical friends of mine for help. She's a big fan of Van Leeuwen and Lula's Sweet Apothecary for no-cream ice cream, as well as Alternative Baking Company.
And you don't have to live in the New York area to enjoy the surprising goodness of vegan confections. PETA has assembled a handy list of places across the USA.
Despite all this deliciousness, you may still want to keep your soft spot for vegan baking under cover. If so, PETA can help with that too. If all else fails, remember -- Oreos are vegan!
Photos by ancient history and Eat Pastry