Do you believe that brownies, cookies, cakes, crumbles, custards, cobblers, pies, puddings and scones are what make the world go round? Is dinner simply a promissory note that dessert will be forth coming? Do you look at people who don’t eat desserts or baked goods as someone who must have suffered a bump to the noggin that clearly caused injury to the part of the brain that likes good things? If you share these opinions then you are going to love the book “The Joy of Vegan Baking” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!
I have always loved baked goods so when I went vegan over 5 years ago, I actually thought “there goes all the baked goodies that aren’t second rate knock offs”. I, like most people who did not grow up vegan, still believed that you needed eggs, milk and butter to make any delectable dessert or baked good so I didn’t believe for a moment I could bake anything even reminiscent of my beloved treats. Thankfully, I was wrong…very wrong.
When I came across this book randomly in the bookstore I had to stifle an audible snort of skepticism. Really, someone was really trying to convince the world vegan baking was good? Oh but those cookies on the cover drew in my sleeping inner 4 year old. I picked it up and began thumbing through the pages, still holding on the notion that these were going to be second rate knock offs that would leave me feeling unsatisfied. By the 3rd tantalizing photo my inner 4 year old was jumping up and down screaming she wanted ALL of it. Who am I to argue with a severely deprived inner child, whose only want in life is to jam cookies and cakes into her mouth? I closed the book and decided it was my DUTY to try this book for all mankind, and I took it home.
The book is exceptionally laid out for everyone from an experienced baker to a newbie who doesn’t know a spoon from a sieve. It starts out by explaining the whys and wherefores of choosing vegan, which was really an affirmation of my already existing values. It was articulately written and spoke about the author’s journey into veganism.
Next is a section on the how-to’s and what-not’s of vegan baking. This section told me, in no uncertain terms, that vegan baking was not only first rate, but it could be far superior to traditional animal-based baking. By the time I finished that section I was scolding myself for being such a close-minded snob.
This chapter goes into a very clear and detailed explanation of the vegan ingredients that can be used to create superior (and certainly more compassionate!) baked goodies for everyone to enjoy. She lists everything from items that replace eggs, dairy milks, condensed & evaporated milks to animal-based butters. When I finished this section I knew I was destined to vegan baking greatness! Ok, maybe not “greatness” but I would certainly be my own kitchen’s vegan baker of the year!
This wonderful cookbook then goes into a vast array of marvelous vegan recipes that has something for everyone. It is arranged in a way that makes it easy to find just the recipe you are looking for. The chapters break down the different types of goodies in groups such as muffins, biscuits and scones and cookies, brownies and bars. There are chapters solely dedicated to pies and tarts, and others covering all the crumbles, cobblers and crisps you could ever want. And who could forget a chapter just for cakes and cupcakes!
Rest assured all you bread lovers; you are not being left out in this cookbook. There is a section just for you on breads and rolls. Are you more of a pudding and mousse kind of person? Colleen has you covered with a chapter on those too! Prefer sweets and candies? Bingo! It’s there too! She has chapters on hot and cold beverages, sorbets, shakes and smoothies, and even ones just on syrups, sauces and spreads. A chapter I found particularly helpful was the one on the fundamentals of crusts for pies and tarts.
I made those cookies from the cover of the book just days after purchasing the book and I am a changed vegan woman! They are better than any other chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. Period. I’m serious, better than all the chocolate chip cookies I have ever made or eaten in my life. Trust me, that`s a lot of cookies.
I have tried my hand at quite a few of these recipes, everything from all the amazing cookies (peanut butter cookies anyone?) to the muffins that make my mouth water (it’s almost embarrassing). My husband is in love with the brownies, to the point where I hear “Are you going to make those brownies again? Maybe tomorrow? I can pick up what you need”.
The true test of this book is when I bake something and bring it into my work. The staff there devour everything I bring and can’t believe it’s vegan! They ask for the recipes and remind me regularly that I haven’t brought in any goodies in a while. The crowning jewel of this was the day the daughter of one of our staff members said “mommy, these are way better than yours!” Vegan win of the day! Yes, I did a little happy dance in my head.
Overall, this cookbook is my “holy grail” of baking books and has not failed me yet. It was incredibly well done and the recipes deliver in spades. If you have never tried vegan baking, this is the book for you. If you have already been vegan baking but have not tried this book, get it now. No seriously, why are you still here? Go!
“The Joy of Vegan Baking” gets a 10/10 in my opinion and let’s just say my inner 4 year old is happy… and so is my husband.