This week we have a special guest reviewer. Hannah of My Sweet Vegan and Bittersweet is one of our regular Go Dairy Free reviewers, but when her schedule became a bit too overloaded, her mom jumped in to test drive one of the hottest new vegan cookbooks, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats. And what makes the review even more fun is the fact that Hannah's mom is not a vegan herself. She is however an experienced baker and editor (yes, this woman can write) who has taste-tested literally hundreds of vegan sweets from her daughter's recipe creations.
So for all of you who like to hear what non-vegans think of vegan cookbooks and recipes, I think you will enjoy this review. Take it away Margo …
"I began by reading Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar carefully. The first section, “Cookie Science,” explains the whats, whys and hows of making great cookies. The recipes are grouped mostly by technique (drop, bar, etc) and most have eye-catching full-color photos, although I was occasionally confused by the repeated placement of photos for the Snickerdoodle and Rocky Road Cookies. I decided to try a Drop Cookie, a Wholesome Cookie and a Sliced and Rolled Cookie.
First, I made the Chocolate Chip Cookies. Having baked the traditional, non-vegan variety all my life and having eaten many of Hannah’s exceptional examples, I know a good chocolate chip cookie when I eat one. These cookies had a great texture – light, chewy but with a bit of resistance around the edges. The flavor, however, was bland. More brown sugar and less white would make these cookies even better.
Next, I tried the Fruity Oaty Bars. Assembling all the ingredients was a bit of a challenge and fairly pricy, but the resulting bars make an excellent breakfast option. The sesame flavor was a nice touch, and the variety of ingredients made each mouthful taste slightly different. The bars were a bit drier than I expected, considering all the dried fruit, but a little jam or peanut butter on top made a big difference. I really enjoyed eating these.
Finally, I chose the Coffeehouse Hermits. Expecting a pliable dough, I ended up with a moist batter, so I added an extra cup of flour and put it in the fridge to chill. Even after an extra hour, I still had a batter, not a dough, so I poured it into two loaf pans and produced very pleasant gingerbreads. After wards, Hannah discovered a correction posted online for this recipe – I should have used ½ cup, not 2 cups, of coffee. I didn’t end up with Hermits, but the gingerbread was delicious.
Overall, I enjoyed this challenge. These recipes are easy to follow and produce tasty treats. Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar is a good resource for beginning bakers, but I can’t say it stands out in the ever-expanding world of vegan dessert cookbooks. One cookbook in particular comes to my mind as the very best for vegan desserts, but since I know its author, you might question my objectivity, so I won’t mention it."