It’s that time again – when hundreds of Daring Bakers bloggers are challenged to create a recipe and hope that the results are somewhat different yet unique at the same time. For vegan and other dietary lifestyles that don’t include the standard ingredients that most of the bakers have no problem using, it’s that much more of a challenge. If only you could read some of the conversations going on behind the scenes during each month. People feverishly trying to figure out good replacements for eggs or flour, or lamenting about their second or third try in the month because the first miserably failed.
But I come to you here on my first try, and I lament that these chocolate eclairs are not really eclairs, but rather miniature cookies (I say this not because I tried to make them cookies, but more or less to comfort myself and live in denial.). In the words of my husband, who after his first bite made a face and exclaimed with irritation, “These aren’t eclairs!” (Yet he managed to eat at least half or two-thirds of them.)
So with this admission, keep in mind that this recipe may not yield what you know to be an eclair. However, with that said, other vegan bakers had success, so it could be that I did something wrong or used an ingredient I shouldn’t have or inadvertently omitted a key part of it (although I’m pretty sure I didn’t).
- 2 tablespoons Ener-G Egg Replacer whipped until stiff with 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (or baking powder)
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter or margarine
- 1 cup soy milk or almond milk
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare baking sheet – either parchment paper or a non-stick pan. Prepare egg-replacer. Stir together flour, vegan sugar, salt, cream of tartar. In a sauce pan (non-stick works well), bring the vegan milk and margarine to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the flour all at once, and reduce heat to low. Stir constantly until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the pan and the spoon and is glossy and smooth (this happens VERY fast). Working quickly, remove from heat and add the Ener-G Egg Replacer, about a third at a time, beating well after each addition until the dough is glossy, smooth, and pulls away from the pan.
Shape the puffs as desired – I shaped mine into little eclair shapes that was about a tablespoon of dough more or less.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 350 for another 20 minutes, then turn off oven and allow to cool, with door slightly cracked for another 20 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks before serving or filling.
Here’s where I ran into trouble. As much as I was baking these, and as small as they were, they were still doughy inside when I taste tested one of them.
So I poked holes in them and baked them for another 20 minutes. They were still doughy, so I cut each in half length-wise and baked them AGAIN for about 10-20 minutes.
I could tell that they were already at the crunchy stage and I decided to stop baking.
I decided to fill these little suckers with chocolate pudding, and top with a chocolate glaze.
The chocolate pudding recipe comes from Susan at Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. The last couple of times I’ve made this I have found that it tastes too bitter. It could be the chocolate I’m using, but to be on the safe side I’d recommend reducing the cocoa powder by one or two tablespoons and increasing the milk by 1/2 cup. Note I also made this on the stove and not in the microwave as she suggests doing.
The chocolate glaze recipe I found at Allrecipes.com, and it turned out really nicely. I used Soy Garden for the butter and instead of corn syrup I used agave nectar.
For the glaze I create my own double boiler by filling the bottom pan with water, and placing a slightly larger pan on top. I have found this works very well for me, although you must pay close attention to what you are doing.
As you can see the chocolate melted nicely (you can see lumps, but it was all very smooth when done).
After everything was made, I laid out the cookies (might as well call them what they turned out being) in preparation for filling and topping with glaze.
I spooned the pudding onto the bottom half, and dipped the top half in the glaze. I then put the pan in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes or so to get the chocolate to set.
I then assembled them, and of course, then we ate them for the rest of the day.
Despite these not really turning out like typical eclairs, they did taste good – and truly, they tasted and felt like cookies. Is there a foolproof vegan recipe for eclairs? Who knows? If you do a search on the Internet it is hard to find many vegan eclair recipes out there. Like I said, though, some of my vegan compatriots in the land of the Daring Bakers had success even if I did not. If, of course, you call having soft eclairs turning into cookies a failure, which I don’t entirely. :)