When I first laid eyes on VT’s recipe for Toffee Apples, I knew I had to make them that very evening. They were just too cute, and the process seemed surprisingly easy. There was just one caveat: as a vegan, I don’t eat dairy; however, the recipe called for 2 Tbs. unsalted butter.
Veganizing a non-vegan recipe isn’t always easy, which is why I usually stick to making recipes that are vegan from the get-go. But don’t discourage: any recipe can be veganized. It just takes a bit of culinary know-how and creativity.
VT’s Ingredient Substitution Guide not only makes it a cinch to veganize any recipe, but can also help you make any recipe meatless, low-fat, allergen-free, or alchohol-free. And, it also offers simple swaps for hard-to-find ethnic ingredients. In addition to the Ingredient Substitution Guide, I have the added bonus of being able to walk down the hall or send off a quick email to ask VT’s Food Editor Mary Margaret Chappell for an extra helping of expert advice.
About the Toffee Apples, Mary Margaret thought it would be fine to sub vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance) instead of butter, but suggested waiting to add it until after the sugar, water, vinegar, and salt had reached crack stage (290°F). She knew for sure the sugar would work that way.
Now that I was confident with my substitution plan, my only dilemma was getting my hands on the most crisp apples around and enough chopsticks to spear them on.
Fortunately, I found some amazing Jonagolds (a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan) at my local Whole Foods and my stash of leftover chopsticks from takeout deliveries proved plentiful. My vegan Toffee Apples couldn’t have turned out any prettier or more delicious. For variety, I rolled half of them in crispy brown rice cereal and the other half in shredded coconut. Not only was it love at first sight, but love at first bite too!