Just before the holidays, I was asked to review My Sweet Vegan, the new cookbook by Hannah Kaminsky. I was warned up front that the cookbook wasn’t even close to fat-free, but since it was close to Christmas and I was looking for some decadent vegan recipes to bring to my family’s celebration, I agreed to check it out with one caveat–that when I was finished looking it over, I’d give my review copy away. After all, there’s just so much temptation I can take.
And it’s definitely tempting. This is one of the few cookbooks that has a photo of every single recipe, and no food is more photogenic than dessert. If you’re familiar with Hannah’s blog, Bittersweet, you know the girl can wield a camera as well as she does a whisk. From Golden Glazed Doughnuts to Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (one of my pre-vegan favorites), the recipes and their accompanying photos seem designed to seduce even the most hardcore fat-free eater into a life of sugary debauchery. What a way to go!
I chose two recipes to try. The first, Peanut Butter Bombs, appealed not only to my old love for peanut butter cups but also to my desire to keep the margarine to a minimum. Peanut butter makes up part of the fat in these cookies, and they came out rich and cake-like. Because I made them too big, I managed to get only 12 instead of the 18 the recipe advertised, so I recommend making them as small as you can; they are so flavorful and rich that you may need to cut them into halves or quarters otherwise, spoiling the surprise-inside effect.
I knew as soon as I saw the recipe that I’d have to attempt the Turtle Shortbread Wedges. My father is a lover of those Turtle chocolates, so I figured he’d love these, and though I had a little trouble with the recipe, I was right. It was hard slicing through the pecan halves, and as a result the shortbread base crumbled a bit and I had to cut them into squares (a good idea, as it turns out, because you will want to stretch these babies as far as possible). And my “caramel” topping came out more like “praline,” even though I used a candy thermometer. It must be the mark of a good recipe that the cook can mess it up and still have it come out tasting divine. I’m going to be making these for my dad every Christmas, if he has anything to say about it.
My Sweet Vegan is a great source of recipes for when you really want to wow people with how good vegan desserts can be. You won’t find any health food here–no whole wheat flour or fat substitutes–but there is a food allergy index so if you’re looking for soy-, nut-, or gluten-free delicacies, this is the place to find them.
Even though I keep finding recipes I want to try (like Peanut-Plus Cookies, which use ground lentils instead of flour), I’m sticking to my promise to give the book away…to one of you! If you’d like my slightly-used copy of the book, just leave your contact info in the comments, sometime between now and Monday at midnight Central Time. After the clock strikes the new year, I’ll have my daughter pick one lucky person at random to receive this sweet book. Happy New Year!
Update: The comments are now closed. Thanks to all 136 of you who took the time to leave your contact info. Tune in later today for the announcement of the winner.