Sweet & Easy Vegan is my kind of cookbook. I’ve been eating a dairy-free, egg-free diet for years, and at the time when I first started out on my vegan adventure, I was sure that cheese would be the thing I missed the most. Not so! As it turned out, I found myself craving traditional desserts more than anything else. Luckily I quickly discovered that vegan treats can be just as delicious— especially homemade vegan treats. I’ve since spent many a day in my kitchen experimenting with making vegan versions of my favorite desserts and baked goods, which can be rewarding when it works (sweet success!), but frustrating when it doesn’t (what a waste of time and ingredients!). That’s why I love Sweet & Easy Vegan—author Robin Asbell has already done that work for you, so you can jump right in and bake delectable vegan treats with confidence. When our friends at Chronicle Books offered us a copy to review, we knew that we just had to do a giveaway so we could share this gem with you.
In the book, Asbell offers over 80 sweet vegan recipes including cookies, cakes, tarts, fruit desserts, muffins and more. The author has also written a thorough introduction that covers the basics of vegan baking, discusses the benefits of whole grain flours and natural sweeteners, and includes a glossary of vegan baking ingredients. Sidebars sprinkled throughout the book give helpful tips on topics such as whole wheat pie crusts, alternative flours, and fair trade chocolate.
All this knowledge makes Sweet & Easy Vegan a great book for someone who is new to vegan cooking, but the appeal isn’t limited to beginners, or even to vegans for that matter. Anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate the recipes here, which range from classics like yellow cake to more unusual treats like Lemon Pine Nut Cookies, and from decadent desserts like Chocolate Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting to lighter fare like Summer Fruits in Vanilla Syrup. And who wouldn’t love a book with an entire chapter devoted to “Sweet Breakfast Treats”?
We hope you’ll enjoy this cookbook as much as we do. To get your mouth watering, here is a sample recipe from Sweet & Easy Vegan.
Coconut, Almond and Chocolate Chip Cookies
There is something about the texture of coconut in a cookie; the way it stays moist and chewy is irresistible. The addition of chocolate and almonds makes for a triple temptation that will call to you from the cookie jar.
Makes about 8 big cookies
- 2 tbsp nondairy milk, plus more as needed
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- ½ cup/60 g unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup/65 g whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup/120 ml canola oil
- ½ cup/100 g granular palm sugar, palm sugar paste, or Sucanat
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 cup/90 g unsweetened shredded dried coconut
- ½ cup/55 g sliced almonds
- ½ cup/85 g vegan chocolate chip
Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas 5.
In a cup or small bowl, whisk the 2 tbsp nondairy milk and the flaxseeds together and let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine both flours, the nutritional yeast (if using), baking soda, and salt and whisk until well mixed.
In a food processor, combine the canola oil and sugar and process until smooth. Add the almond extract and pulse to combine. Add the flaxseed mixture and process until thoroughly combined. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the coconut, almonds and chocolate chips. If the dough is too crumbly to hold together, knead in up to 2 tbsp more nondairy milk.
Scoop a ¼ cup/60-ml portion of dough (oiling the measuring cup makes it easier to remove the dough) and form it into a ball. Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving about 2 in/5 cm of space between them. Using wet palms, flatten slightly to a thickness of just over ½ in/12mm.
Bake for about 16 minutes, until the cookies are quite golden around the edges, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.
Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the cookies will keep for about 1 week.
Would you like to win a copy of Sweet & Easy Vegan? To enter the contest, comment on this post and tell us who you would bake treats for if you win this cookbook. Would you make vegan sweets for your kids, your friends, your sweetheart—or maybe just for yourself? To help you get started with these yummy recipes, we’ll also send the winner a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, a package of Sliced Almonds, and a package of Shredded Coconut. We’ll pick a winner from those of you who enter by 11:59 pm on 8/23. Good luck!
Robin Asbell, chef and author of Big Vegan and Sweet & Easy Vegan, will be teaching a class next month at the Bob’s Red Mill Cooking School in Milwaukie, Oregon! Get details on the class, “Healthy Baking with Robin Asbell,” and registration information here.