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Don’t call it a fake-off: Bakers compete in vegan bake-off • Brooklyn Paper

Don’t call it a fake-off: Bakers compete in vegan bake-off

No dairy, no cry: Vegetarian food festival organizer Sarah Gross will be one of the judges at the upcoming vegan bake-off at the Bell House.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It may be a vegan contest, but expect the competition to be bloodthirsty.

Bakers will have to wrack their creative brains to please judges’ palates at what organizers say is the first butter-less bake-off of its kind in New York.

And the discerning tasters — vegan chocolatier Sarah Gross, chef Adam Sobel, and comedian Myq Kaplan — aren’t considering just any old cruelty-free chocolate chip cookie.

“One particular example: someone is making a vegan version of the Girl Scout Samoa cookie,” said Chris Willets, founder of New York frugal event guide the Skint, which is hosting the competition at the Bell House in Gowanus on Feb. 10. “That’s one that we’re like ‘ooh, we’re really interested.’ ”

Gross, who also organizes the annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival, said she’ll be judging based on originality and unusual flavor combinations. And even though the desserts will be vegan, she won’t be grading on a curve.

“It goes against the classics of baking, which is always using eggs and butter and milk,” she said. “But there are a lot of ways to creatively get around animal products without missing anything.”

One tip she suggested is substituting eggs with applesauce, mashed bananas, or even cornstarch mixed with water.

Submissions for possible inclusion in the competition — only 20 amateur chefs will be chosen — are open through Feb. 1. But carnivorously competitive vegan chefs who miss the deadline shouldn’t fret: the Skint plans to host similar cook-offs every few months, Willets said. The next one will be in June.

“The First Vegan Bake-Off Dessert Competition” at Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510, www.thebellhouseny.com]. Feb. 10, 3 pm, $12, $15 door. Competitors can sign up through Feb. 1.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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