The Joy of Vegan Baking
By Colleen Patrick-Goudreau Review by Cathe Olson
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is the founder of Compassionate Cooks, a great web site that informs people about animal rights and vegetarianism through podcasts, cooking classes, articles, recipes, DVD's and more. I'm a big fan of her blog "Food for Thought" in which she posts entertaining and informative musings. When I found out Colleen was coming out with a cookbook, I couldn't wait to check it out.
The Joy of Vegan Baking contains 150 recipes for "traditional treats and sinful sweets." The book begins with the basics of vegan baking, including information on replacing eggs, milk, and butter. Especially nice for the novice baker are the "ten tips for perfect baking." And then, it's on to the recipes. There are recipes for muffins, biscuits, scones, quick and yeasted breads. My writers' group loved the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and my family loved the Brown Bread I served with a veggie stew for dinner.
The cookbook has recipes for all kinds of cakes, from the incredibly easy to make Chocolate Cake to Carrot Cakes to Lemon or Pumpkin Cheesecakes. The first recipe I tried was the German Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen). It was just like my Oma used to make, except without the butter. I was chosen to bring the cupcakes to my daughters harvest party at school so I made a batch of Vanilla Cupcakes and a batch of Strawberry Cupcakes. The Vanilla Cupcakes had a great flavor but they were a little saggy. The Strawberry Cupcakes, however, were amazing—probably the best cupcakes I've had and so easy to make. These were a hit with both kids and adults.
Traditional pies like apple, peach, cherry, blueberry, and pumpkin are all found in the book—plus some original varieties, such as Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks, No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. There is also a variety of fruit crumbles, cobblers, and crisps, strudels, crepes, blintzes, and pastries. Of course, no cookbook on baking would be complete with a selection of cookies and this one does not disappoint. Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raison and Sugar Cookies are included plus Chocolate Brownies, Lemon Bars, and Pineapple Walnut bars and many more.
Although this book is called "The Joy of Vegan Baking," there are plenty of unbaked treats as well. You'll find creamy mousses and puddings, confections and candy, and even sorbets, shakes, and smoothies. We really liked the Holiday Nog made with tofu, bananas, and spices. Whatever your sweet tooth desires, it's sure to be found in this book.
"The Joy of Vegan Baking" is a well-designed book full of pictures, tips, and suggestions to make your baking experience a success. I found out very quickly that Colleen likes a much higher sweetness level than my family. We preferred her recipes with approximately half the sugar specified. The instructions are clear and easy to follow making this book excellent for a beginners. Even experienced cooks, however, will love the ease and variety of the recipes. This is a great collection of desserts. I'm looking forward to baking my way through the rest of them.