The fall and winter seasons are for easy, hassle-free cooking. Nobody wants to be in baker’s mode only to find that a few missing ingredients stand between them and the perfect creation. By the time you make the windy journey to the store, the passion for baking is often gone. Prepare your pantry well and make pumpkin pie bars or apple crumble whenever you want. Here are 16 vegan essentials to keep on hand from September to December.
Without vegan butter, there’s not much you can do in the world of fall baking. It’s essential for flaky pie crusts, cookies, buttercreams, rich dessert bars, crumbly fillings, and more. Stock up so you’re always ready to whip up something delicious. Plus, check out The Complete Guide to Vegan Butter for an in-depth roundup of all the vegan butters on the market.
Unless a recipe specifically allows you to swap coconut oil for another vegetable oil, don’t. Because this oil is solid at room temperature, it is a necessary component for no-bake desserts. Without it, they would never firm up. Melted coconut oil can also be used as an egg wash substitute for pie crusts and enriched breads.
3 Warming spices
Pumpkin pie spice is obvious, but if it’s the only spice you use during the fall season, you’ll tire of it quickly. By using the individual spices that make up this spice blend, you can make certain flavors more pronounced or omit those you don’t like. Stock up on cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg (fresh, if you can get it), ginger, allspice, cardamom, and black peppercorns. The latter is a secret ingredient to making any pumpkin filling truly exceptional. All it takes is a pinch of these crushed peppercorns to add a complementary depth of flavor to pies, bars, puddings and cheesecakes.
good for lips
4 Apple and pumpkin butter
These concentrated fruit spreads always make baked goods even better. You can make them yourself by cooking a colossal amount of apples or pumpkin with sugar and a few spices, but the potted varieties are so much more convenient. Find both of these products in virtually any supermarket during the holiday season and keep a flavor of each on hand for apple spice muffins, pumpkin waffles, cinnamon pancakes and puff pastry cookies.
Granulated sugar is a given, but fall baking requires a few other sweet ingredients as well. You will need brown sugar for brownies, blondies and cookies; powdered sugar for frostings and dustings on Bundt cakes; maple syrup for toppings and sweet sauces; and coconut sugar if you like alternative baking.
Yes, you will need several types of flour – all purpose, almond and chickpea tend to be the most commonly used. You usually can’t substitute one for the other, so save yourself the cooking disaster and just keep all three handy in airtight containers. For longer shelf life, store them in the freezer (just be sure to bring them to room temperature before using).
It is your ideal thickening agent for pies, cobblers and puddings. Without it, you would have a very runny apple pie. In a pinch, it can be replaced with flour, but that’s a bit of a gamble.
Melissa de Rocco
What is the difference between a crisp and a crumble? Oats. A crisp is oat-free, a crumble must always contain oats. Pro Tip: Never buy oatmeal. If you have old-fashioned oats on hand (not steel cut), you can make your own oatmeal at a fraction of the price by pulverizing the oats in a high-speed blender.
Whether you’re picking them from a local farm, choosing them at a farmer’s market, or packing them at the store, apples are the star of early fall baking. When making cobblers, chips, and pies, incorporate a mix of varieties for the best flavor and texture. Solid baking apples include Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, and Pink Lady.
Applesauce serves two purposes: it can be used to replace oil in a recipe for a healthy spin, and it can also serve as an egg substitute in some recipes such as brownies and quick breads. Learn more about basic vegan baking swaps here.
Good & Gather
You don’t need to worry about making your own pumpkin puree. The canned option is convenient, affordable, and works just as well. Just make sure you’re getting pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling (the latter is sweet and spicy).
12Whole coconut milk or cream
For creamy toppings, fluffy cakes, and fluffy whipped creams, you need a can of whole coconut milk. Many recipes only call for the solid part, so save time by keeping a few cans in the fridge and don’t shake them unless the recipe calls for it. It tends to sell out during the holiday months, so be sure to stock up.
13 vegan cream cheese
Who doesn’t love a giant, chewy pumpkin spice muffin with a sweet cream cheese filling? Cream cheese frosting and pumpkin go together, so make sure you always have a jar in the fridge. Favorite brands include Kite Hill and Miyoko’s Vegan Cream Cheese.
Don’t drain the chickpeas! You need the brine to make vegan magic meringue (aka aquafaba). When whipped into oblivion with a little sugar, this bean liquid turns into fluffy peaks that perfectly mimic an egg white. Toss actual chickpeas on a salad or make chickpea blondies.
The charm of nature
You can make your own, but we love having a tub of Nature’s Charm Coconut Caramel Sauce on hand for an instant drizzle over apple spice cakes, vegan pumpkin ice cream, and apple cider. coated in whipped cream.
vanilla bean project
Vanilla is a flavor, but it’s also a complementary ingredient to an array of other flavors. When vanilla isn’t the star of the show, it helps the rest of the cast shine, which is why we rarely cook anything without it. You don’t need to splurge on the actual vanilla bean (although that’s fine if you want a really punchy vanilla flavor), but steer clear of imitation vanilla extract. A middle ground in price between basic vanilla extract and vanilla bean is vanilla paste. It is a mixture of concentrated vanilla extract and vanilla bean powder. We like to use it when baking for others and settle for cheaper all-natural vanilla extract for home-only treats.
For more vegan cooking tips, read:
How to cook vegan
The Complete Guide to Vegan Butter
The VegNews Guide to Making Any Vegan Pie