South Shore bakery owner converts dairy lovers with delicious vegan alternatives

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A South Shore bakery owner has managed to make chocolate chip cookies, muffins and cupcakes without "traditional" ingredients, and it's all because she's "programmed" to be vegan.

Betty BOT Bakery has been in business on Chicago's South Side for 12 years.

"When it comes to veganism, everyone has a different reason for being vegan. Some are for the animals or the environment or health," said Betty Alper, the bakery's owner. "For me, it encompasses all the reasons."

"Robots, they do what they are supposed to do," Alper said. "I see veganism as something I'm supposed to do because it affects so many different things."

Armed with her training from the Culinary Institute of America and vegan lifestyle, Alper honed recipes over the years. She said her classic chocolate chip cookies took time to find a vegan balance.

"It's definitely not animal-based, it is plant-based," Alper said.

Instead of eggs, Alper uses ground flax seeds.

"When you take flax and add water, it gets slimy and acts as a binder," Alper said.

The chocolate chips don't include dairy.

Alper also shared her family's favorite waffle recipe made with a plant-based butter alternative, soy milk and more of that ground flax.

Her bakery supplies vegan baked goods to cafes and stores around the area, including Build Coffee in Woodlawn.

Even some carnivores are converts.

"I just expected it not to be not as sweet as a full and nourishing dessert but it was better," said customer Davon Clark.

Maira Khwaja said the baked goods "tasted amazing."

"I asked her, 'Are you sure all of these are vegan?'" Khwaja said.

Alper's treats give vegans who are used to passing up dairy-rich desserts more options.

As mainstream restaurants expand their menus, Betty BOT keeps cooking and staying ahead of the curve on South Shore Drive.
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