This review was prepared by Michele Durante of Veggie Num Nums.
I’ve been looking forward to reviewing The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes: Amazing Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Pies, Brownies and Breads by Kris Holechek because though I’m not a vegan, I really want to cut back on dairy products in my baking. I frequently make vegan savory dishes, but until now I’ve not even attempted vegan baked goods. I am very happy to report that everything I made was really tasty, and surprisingly easy with no weird health food-y ingredients required.
Kris makes vegan baking simple, and one way she does this is by giving you lots of latitude with ingredients. If a recipe calls for “milk”, you can choose any vegan milk substitute that you favor—rice milk, almond milk, soy milk. She also has a very handy chart in the front of the book that gives you options on what to use in place of eggs, so for many of these recipes you’ll have everything you need to make a delicious baked treat already in your home.
The book is broken down into a bunch of categories from cookies to quick breads, and from cakes to yeasted breads. Kris gives you vegan recipes for all the favorites—chocolate chip cookies, coconut cake, blueberry muffins, brownies, and even pizza dough. I’ve made six recipes from this book so far, and I plan to make many more. The recipes I tried are Pumpkin Cinn-A-Zag Bread, Polski Apple Crisp, Ezekiel Bread, Rosemary Focaccia, Sweet Potato Bread, and Pump-Can Pie. None of the recipes are difficult, and the results were pretty impressive.
The two yeasted recipes I made, Ezekiel Bread and Rosemary Focaccia, were both really good. I love that the mix of whole grains in the Ezekiel Bread makes a hearty loaf of bread that’s perfect for slicing and toasting. The focaccia had so much flavor, but it ended up being a bit dry which I’m fairly sure was due to my over-baking it. The dough itself was gorgeous, so I think my trouble with the focaccia was due to operator error.
I made two quick breads, the Sweet Potato Bread and the Cinn-A-Zag Bread. I made the Sweet Potato Bread with the addition of some diced roasted chestnuts. It was good, but next time I make it I will add a little extra sweetener. The Cinn-A-Zag Bread is outstanding and I think it’s the favorite thing I’ve made so far. It’s moist and full of cinnamon flavor, and looks gorgeous with the cinnamon swirl running through the middle. This bread would make a lovely gift wrapped up for the holidays.
The Polski Apple Crisp is wonderful—the topping is to die for. It’s a simple recipe to make, but no one will ever know because it’s just so good. The Pump-Can Pie is sort of a pumpkin pie-pecan pie hybrid with a bit of maple flavor thrown in. It tasted really good, but the texture was a little loose and not quite as custard-y as I was expecting. Though, after chilling overnight it firmed up a quite a bit. I think this pie filling would also be really good baked in custard cups and topped with non-dairy whipped topping.
The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes is a really fun, and completely accessible introduction to vegan baking. And this book is not just for vegans—the recipes are delicious, and non-vegans will never even know that these goodies are dairy-free. This is also a great baking book if you’re looking to cut back on animal fat in your diet, since of course by being vegan all these recipes are cholesterol free.
This is a cookbook that I’ll be using over and over. I love that the recipes are so easy, but also taste so great. If you’d like to order a copy of this book you can find it at amazon.com in The Daring Kitchen shop http://astore.amazon.com/thedarkit-20.