Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Vegan Mofo Book Review Part One: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur
The very nice people at Skyhorse Publishing sent me a message a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to review a couple of their latest, vegany books. Did I ever! I wrote back and said, "Yes!" Then they said, "Whoops, sorry, you can't because you live in Canada." Curses. But then they sent me the books anyway! Hooray! Not sure why that happened, but I'm not going to look a gift cookbook in the mouth.
The first book I cracked open was The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza.
This book is really, really pretty. And packed full of more than 140 cookie recipes. Which is amazing. I like to have books like this in my collection because I tend to bake on a whim. The more recipes to choose from, the more likely I am to have the ingredients on hand to make something delicious. Plus the pictures (and there are a lot of them, which makes me happy) make everything look fantastic. I pretty much whipped out my baking supplies immediately.
The recipe I chose to make is called "Lemon's Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies". She explains in the recipe's introduction that there is no lemon in the cookies, rather they are named after a friend of hers whose name is Lemon. Which made me think of Liz Lemon. Which is always good.
Skyhorse Publishing has given me permission to reprint the recipe here, so I'll do that first and then follow up with my own review!
Lemon's Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies (from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza)
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp soy milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and brown sugar in a large bowl, then create a well in the centre.
Melt the chocolate chips.
Pour the oil, chocolate chips, vanilla, almond extract, orange juice, and soymilk into the well, then mix the dough until completely combined. If it is crumbly, add a splash or so of soy milk.
Take 2-teaspoon portions of dough, roll them into balls, then roll in powdered sugar and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, let sit on the tray for a minute, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.
Mistakes I Made:
1. The recipe says to use only two teaspoons of dough for each cookie and predicts that this will give you almost 3 dozen cookies. I forged ahead without measuring my dough and put too much dough down per cookie. They tasted fine, but I ended up with only a dozen and a half all told.
2. I tapped off a portion of the powdered sugar before I put the cookies on the cookie sheets. I'd never made cookies that needed to be covered in powdered sugar before and I didn't know that you have to really cake it on before baking. My cookies, as you can see, don't look quite as powdered as the ones in the cookbook picture.
I immediately balked when I saw how much sugar was in this recipe. That is a whole lot of sugar! Plus the powdered sugar and the melted chocolate chips, which have sugar in them already. So I ended up only being able to eat one of these because I saw a hypoglycemic coma in my future once the sugar buzz wore off. Perhaps this is the reason why the recipe says to make relatively small cookies. So you can eat one or two and not be overwhelmed with sweetness.
I also had a little problem with the dough not coming together immediately and I definitely had to add those extra splashes of soy milk that she mentions in the recipe.
However! The flavour of these cookies is amazing. All that rich chocolate, plus the almond extract and the orange juice makes for a very tasty cookie. I brought my batch to work and they were eaten up quickly. "They taste like Christmas," said my boss. Good to know.
The other great thing about this recipe was the texture of the cookies. They were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside which is always my preference. All in all, something I'd certainly make again, maybe I'd mess around with the recipe a bit and cut the brown sugar quantity in half. My American friends always tell me that Canadians don't like things sweet enough, so I may just be showing my roots by being so sugar sensitive.
I hope to make and review a few more recipes from this cookbook before the month is through, so stay tuned!