Tuesday, December 18, 2007

book review: My Sweet Vegan




Greetings from Los Angeles! I can't believe that almost 10 days have gone by since I last blogged, but time just kind of got away from me in the whirlwind of writing, packing, grading, cleaning, baking, and traveling that was the past week. Now, things have calmed down and Daiku and I have 3 weeks to get our hands on all the vegan food goodness that southern California has to offer, so I can relax and catch up on blogging.

My first post is about something I'm very excited about- My Sweet Vegan, the new cookbook written by the lovely and talented Hannah of BitterSweet. I had been waiting for this book to come out ever since getting to know Hannah through her photos and blog over the summer, and so didn't hesitate when asked to write a review of the book.

This book caps a great year for vegan cookbooks, and makes me believe that vegan baking has truly come into its own. There is simply no reason to ever think that "decadent vegan" or "vegan dessert" are oxymorons any more! Even though it was difficult deciding what to make from this book first, the fact that I received it in the middle of holiday baking narrowed down the field a bit. Daiku and I noticed that Hannah included a recipe for Pfeffernusse - traditional German spice cookies laced with anise. Between Daiku's German heritage and my love of all things anise, we knew that these cookies would be added to the rotation.



Here they are going into the oven. While they were baking, they filled the house with an indescribable scent- sweet, spicy, evocative of everything that is good about the holidays.



Here they are after baking and covered with powdered sugar. These cookies exceeded expectations in both taste and texture. Fluffy yet chewy, full of the scent of anise and other flavors, they were a great twist on the traditional ginger holiday cookie. My uncle, who used to live in Germany, loved them. So did my mom, who is not even a big fan of anise- ok, she hates the stuff! But she loved the cookie!

Here are just a few of the recipes that I hope to make from My Sweet Vegan soon:
  • orange hazelnut biscotti
  • ginger dream pie
  • coconut custard pie
  • baklava tart
  • root beer float cupcakes
  • poppy seed cupcakes with lemon curd filling
This is a book you'll want to read both in and out of the kitchen- the elegant photographs, informative text, and skillful recipes will give you a lot to enjoy. My only warning is this- if you are easily sent into existential crises, you might start freaking out that an 18 year-old college student has written this book and set the bar higher for all of us! Try to get over the angst though, and reward yourself by trying a recipe or 3 from this book.

Congratulations, Hannah!

(check out My Sweet Vegan on Amazon.com)

Soon to come- more holiday baking, quick meals, and of course, posts about traveling and eating in Southern California, my former home. Have a great day, everybody!


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33 comments:

Vegan_Noodle said...

Woohoo!! Vaca in So Cal! You deserve it, sounds like you had a busy end of the year!
Thanks for the review of My Sweet Vegan. I actually just ordered it yesterday from Amazon. Supposed to get here before xmas, yay! It does freak me out that she is only 18, makes me wonder what in the world I was doing at that age.... nothing that awesome! Go Hannah!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Another book to add to my Christmas list!

Have a TERRIFIC vacation!

SaraJane said...

Welcome back! I keep hearing such amazing things about Hannah's book. I'm jealous, Amazon Canada hasn't had it the last few times I've checked. :(

Candi said...

Hi Bazu! Good to hear from you! oh, you are so lucky to be in CA now! Thank you for making time to blog hop and post this wonderful review!

The cookbook looks great, and I must be buried in work because I had not even heard about it!! Your first recipe from it looks like it was a huge hit! Your description makes me want them right now with the powdered sugar. What a very unique recipe.

I hope you have a fun time in CA!!

Candi said...

:o I'm so behind the times here, but is that a tattoo'ed ring? I love it!! Why have I not noticed it before? If it is one, does Daiku have one too? I'm scrolling through your older photos now to see what I've missed!! :)

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

if i didn't have a mountain of cookbooks to make stuff from already, i would have already bought this.
AND she is 18??? how inspiring!

bazu said...

Hi Candi!

Good to hear from you. Yes, indeed, we have tattoos for wedding rings. Neither of us are really jewelry people, so this seemed like the way to go- I like them!

maybepigscanfly said...

Where in So. Cal. are you? I'm just outside of LA (thousand oaks). Email me if you are free and want to get together. It would be awesome to meet you! But if not- have an awesome time!

Sarah said...

These cookies looks scrumptious! I'm a brand-spankin-new vegan and have been worried about a lack of vegan dessert choices. This books seems like a must have for me. Thank you for the review and the mouthwatering photos!

Sarah
www.spiralcreek.wordpress.com

Unilove said...

Welcome back to SoCal! We have been having some rain and cool weather, but at least it's not snowy! Enjoy all that we have to offer ~ looking forward to hearing what you did, what you ate, and pics pics pics :)

Unilove

Celine said...

your cookies are perfection!

Veganista said...

I love reading reviews of vegan cookbooks by fellow vegans! Thanks Bazu. Your cookies look PERFECT. So glad you are getting a chance to relax a bit now.

bittersweetblog said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out the book- Your cookies look perfect, too! I hope that you continue to enjoy every recipe you try just as much as this first one.

Enjoy California, by the way! I've only been once, but I'd kill to go back (all those amazing vegan restaurants..!)

Ashasarala said...

I have this book on my wishlist. I'm very excited to try it. Root beer float cupcakes? Now THAT sounds EXTREMELY interesting.

I am jealous that an 18-year-old wrote this book. I have to admit it. I thought she was my age and I felt a little bit better about it. haha Ah, well.

textual bulldog said...

I want this book soooo badly! I begged for it for Christmas, so we'll see what Santa brings ;)

Cakespy said...

Those cookies look awesome. Is the anise flavor really strong? I od'd on anise once and have to take it in small doses now. :-)

Vegyogini said...

Hi Bazu! I just received my copy of this book today and am already making a list of pantry items to buy in preparation for all the baking! If you'd like to get together while in L.A., please let me know. I'd love to meet you and Daiku and I'm sure Your Vegan Mom and the lovely blogger behind To Live and Eat in L.A. would be on board, too. :)

VeggieGirl said...

Welcome back to posting!! Yes, Hannah's book IS fabulous - the Pfeffernusse turned out perfectly!! I've already made 4 recipes from Hannah's book (which I have been showcasing recently, on my blog) - all 100% successful!

theONLYtania said...

Wow, those cookies look so good! I should have put that book on my Christmas list. Hope you're having a great time!

Theresa said...

Yep, adding this one to my wishlist. Those cookies look fantastic. Have a great time in California!

the little one said...

Thanks for letting me know about this book. I'm especially intrigued by the root beer float cupcakes. Have a great Cali trip!

springsandwells said...

Hi Bazu!
Oooh, I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I am hoping to find it under the Christmas ficus this year! Otherwise I'll just have to buy it for myself. :)

Thanks for the wonderful goodies! We're looking forward to a warm cup of chai.... mmmm.

hope you're having fun in LA.
love Amey

Liz² said...

Pfeffernusse are so amazing, I want this book more than ever!

Mihl said...

I am so exited for you! Have lots of fun while baking and enjoy your time in California. Wow, I didn't know there was a recipe for Pfeffernüsse in the book. Yours indeed look great. Happy Holidays.

runswithdog said...

Hope you are enjoying yourself and the weather there in Sunny SoCal. Say hello to the sun for me. *Does begrudge translate into the written word well? LOL*

Does Daiku know about this apparent love affair you are having with dumplings? :-)

dreamy said...

That looks great! Reminds me of onde-onde :9 but I guess it would taste very different :)

madeinalaska said...

ha! Too funny...That book just came up on my list of recommended books on Amazon. I did add it to my evergrowing wish list!

aTxVegn said...

Have a wonderful time in sunny SoCal!

I am continually impressed with the number of youthful bloggers who cook and what great chefs they are.

Candi said...

I love your rings! What a very cool idea. Thank you for answering me on that.. I know I'm nosey! ;)

Hope you are having fun in CA.... I'm shoveling snow AGAIN! <_<

Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream said...

Hello, sorry to contact you on your blog but I can't seem to find your email listed anywhere...

I wanted to know if you were interested in receiving some free samples of Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream for a taste-test and review? I know you've been keeping up with our progress as we try to get our product out there, so we definitely wanted to see if you're interested in this.

If yes, please send us shipping info to icecreamproject2007@yahoo.com

Thanks!
Amy@Wheeler's

Toothfairyrecipes said...

Its a great book and much needed as I dont come across that many vegan recipes. Thanks for sharing:-)
X M

jd said...

Long lost twins?!? I have also taken about 10 days off from blogging before today (okay, 8 days, but still), and I just got a copy of "My Sweet Vegan," too!

:)

Hope your trip was good!

vko said...

looks like I have new book for my ever-growing list...

love the german cookies...