Although, I am not vegan nor am I a vegetarian, I love baked goods. I also have a split personality – part healthy eater, part evil dessert lover. So, when possible, I try to merge the two and look for cookbooks like this. Also, what aided my decision in purchasing this book is that my friend (who happens to be vegetarian) and I are both trying to lose weight. Although, we know moderation is key – and
that your moderation and my moderation can be completely different – we thought getting into vegan baking could be a good idea.
The author of this book began her life like every other American her age. As a teenager, like all of my other vegetarian friends, were somehow awakened to how animals are treated before they become “meat”, and then became a vegetarian. Later, the author took it to the next level, as some vegetarians will do, and began to omit
all animal-based products from her diet. For the omnivores here:
honey, eggs, dairy, gelatin…
My friend and I decided we would try out vegan baking purely for the fact that without butter and eggs, the desserts would contain less fat and cholesterol. Yes, yes, I hear you. The flavor! The flavor will be compromised, but…if you need to eat healthier, your other choice is to not eat the bad stuff. And being we have kids, we figure that between parties and school situations, we (and our children) are over-exposed to sweet and fat-laden goodies!
The author appears to have done her research into the reason why we would use fat and eggs in recipes and has come up with some wonderful substitutions. For people who have not ventured down this path, a warning to you, in some areas of the country, your grocery store may not carry these substitute items (tofu, soy butter, agar etc.), so you may need to visit a natural food store.
There are numerous color photographs. They are all of the final product and they are gorgeous.
The author, despite being vegan, and usually one is that for ethical reasons, I did not feel in any way that she was attempting to put her ideals into my life. She did, however, explain her point-of-view, but I never felt that she was preaching to me.
She also thoroughly covers all baked goods AND more: muffins, biscuits, scones; sweet and savory quick breads; cakes and cupcakes; pies and tarts; cookies, brownies and bars;crumbles, cobblers, crisps and whole fruit desserts; strudel, crepes, blintzes and pastries; yeast breads and rolls; mousses and puddings; confections and candy; sorbets, shakes and smoothies; pie crusts; hot and cold beverages; frostings, sauces, syrups and spreads; and more!
I really enjoyed this book! The recipes are extremely well-written and my favorites were her scones! There are three scone recipes in this book: Classic Currant Scones, Gingerbread Scones and Chocolate Chip Scones.
Here is one of the recipes:
Classic Currant Scones
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 tbsp. water
2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. non-hydrogenated non-dairy butter, cold (such as soy)
1 cup currants
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (rice, almond, soy etc.)
Extra milk or water as needed
2 – 3 tbsp. non-dairy milk for brushing tops
cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a cookie/baking sheet or cover with parchment paper.
In a food processor or by hand, whip the egg replacer and water until thick and creamy. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and cut into small pieces with two knives or a pastry blender. You’re not creating a paste; you want a course crumbly batter that resembles breadcrumbs. (To make flaky scones, leave some of the butter pieces as large as peas.) Stir in the currants.
Add the milk and egg replacer, and keep the mixing to a minimum to avoid developing the gluten in the flour (which produces tough scones). Mix with a wooden spoon, fork, or your fingers just until the dry ingredients are moistened or nearly moistened. The dough will not be completely smooth like bread dough.
Gather the dough into a ball (you may need to just add one more teaspoon of nondairy milk or water, but you will be able to form it into a ball), and place on a lighly floured surface. (You may want to lightly flour your hands as well.) Pat or roll the dough out to a 1/2″ round, and cut into 8 – 10 pieces – triangles are a traditional shape. Place them a 1/2″ apart on the baking sheet, brush the tops with the nondairy milk, and sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar.
Bake until the tops are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a rack or serve warm.
Yields: 8 – 10 scones
“The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks’ Traditional Treats
and Sinful Sweets”
Copyright October 2007
Fair Winds Press
Softcover, 288 pages, color photographs