Cookies, muffins and cakes, oh my! The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek (2009)

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

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Book cover, The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes: Amazing Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Pies, Brownies and Breads by Kris Holechek (2009)
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Earlier in the year, I happened upon a giveaway of The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes; publisher Ulysses Press was offering up a few copies of the recently-released book for review. Since I was already a fan of author Kris Holechek through her NOM! NOM! NOM! BLOG (and, perhaps more to the point, am unable to pass up a vegan freebie!), I jumped at the chance. Six+ months later, and I think I’ve finally tried enough of the recipes to offer up a review.

The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes features recipes for a variety of baked goods, grouped into the following categories: cookies; bars; muffins; quick breads; cakes; pies and tarts; pastries; yeasted treats; frostings, icings and toppings; and children’s recipes (“Kids in the Kitchen”). The recipes include some standards (Shorbread; Best Banana Bread; Basic Pie Crust; Rosemary Focacia; Going, Going, Gone! Gingerbread) as well as a number of more creative concoctions (Strawberry Lemonade Cheespie; Gas Station Pie; Garden Muffins; Mocha-damia Bars; Blackest Forest Cake). Each recipe is rated for difficulty and prep time, with one “whisk” being the simplest and five “whisks,” the most challenging.

In addition to ten sections listed above, Holechek begins the book with a handy introductory chapter. Particularly useful for novices such as myself, this “vegan baking 101” guide covers the fundamentals, such as the ups and downs and when-to’s of various egg replacers, sugars and sweeteners, and leaveners; the best way to melt chocolate; essential ingredients; and must-have kitchen utensils and gadgets. (Whereas I’d been resistant to buying cooling racks for quite some time, Holecheck – with no small help from Shane! – finally convinced me of the need.)

Over time, I tried a number of recipes, including….

The Lemon Almond Bling Muffins (page 66), which are flavored with almond extract and topped off with a delicious mix of lemon, sugar and raw almonds:

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(More below the fold…)