07/31/2012 01:05 EDT | Updated 09/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Cookbook featuring muffins for vegans has versatile and easy-to-make recipes

The growing number of Canadians who have chosen the vegan way of eating now have a book dedicated to satisfying a craving for muffins.

And “150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes” by Camilla V. Saulsbury (Robert Rose, $19.95, paperback) will appeal to another audience as well — those with allergies to eggs and dairy products.

“What I like about this approach to baking, especially with the egg-free method, is that I have found the way out of the biggest hurdle to baking for vegans is how to make quick breads rise so they don't turn out like rocks,” says the Texan freelance food writer, recipe developer and cooking instructor.

With persistent research and experimentation, Saulsbury has discovered that simply by using ingredients such as non-dairy milk, soy yogurt and other vegan-friendly components it is possible to turn out marvellous muffins.

“They are baking favourites because, in addition to their ease of preparation and quick baking time, the essential ingredients are familiar and commonly stocked in most home pantries,” she writes.

If the cook is cutting back on refined sugar he or she can use an alternative sweetener such as agave nectar, turbinado sugar, brown rice syrup, molasses or maple syrup in place of granulated sugar.

Leavening agents such as baking powder and baking soda can be used in moderation, Saulsbury says. When the latter is combined with an acidic ingredient, such as non-dairy yogurt, citrus juice or molasses, it creates carbon dioxide bubbles, giving baked goods a dramatic rise.

The book includes information on other key vegan ingredients, a list of essential equipment and baking tips and advice. And many ingredients can be found in most supermarkets and health-food stores.

There are muffins for every occasion. Here is a delectable recipe for a double dose of decadent chocolate muffins.

Dark Chocolate Muffins

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour

125 ml (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder

1 ml (1/4 tsp) baking soda

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

175 ml (3/4 cup) vegan granulated sugar or evaporated cane juice

250 ml (1 cup) plus 30 ml (2 tbsp) non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, hemp)

50 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil

15 ml (1 tbsp) cider vinegar

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

90 g (3 oz) vegan bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla until well blended.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in chocolate.

Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 3 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to rack to cool.

Makes 12 muffins.