Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik
These easy-to-make, sensational desserts are all lactose- and cholesterol-free. Now you can create the luscious flavors and familiar textures of traditional desserts without the use of eggs or dairy. Straightforward ingredients are used to create a variety of the best cakes, cookies, pies, puddings, and other treats. Full-color photos provide inspiration for making these tempting sweets.
So, my first cookbook review, and I choose a vegan cookbook? I know, it's a little crazy - I'm not a vegan- but the idea of "better for me" desserts won me over, and I had to try it. The book itself is quite nice - large pictures for each recipe make it easy to see what you are trying to make, and I felt all the recipes were explained in a way that made them seem quite logical to follow. The "green" part of this book is, of course, that all the recipes are vegan, and also that the book itself is printed on paper that contains postconsumer recycled content, which apparently saved 89 trees.
The author gives many ideas and suggestions for the vegan cook, including what to do if you don't have the ingredients you need, substitutions for many of the ingredients, and the option to make most of the recipes with non-vegan ingredients if necessary. She states that all the specifically vegan ingredients are easy to find at your local grocery store, and for the most part I found that to be true. So, how are the recipes you ask?
The first recipe I tried was Chocolate-Pecan Paradise Pie. (Here's a picture of my finished product). It was described as looking like a thick brownie pie - I thought maybe it would be a cross between a brownie pie and a pecan pie. It was....not exactly that. I thought it tasted alright, but not really like what I expected when I read the recipe. There is molasses in the recipe, and I felt like that taste came through quite strong.
It wasn't bad, but not as fantastic as I would have hoped based on the description.
I also made the recipe for Pumpkin -Chocolate Chip Muffins, but left out the chips, and baked it into a loaf. (Again, my finished product - halfway eaten!) I thought this recipe was quite good, although not as good as other pumpkin bread recipes I've tried.
I also tried to make Cappuccino Custard, but that was a pretty serious fail. It required mixing of cornstarch and soy milk over medium heat - don't let the mixture come to a boil - don't let the mixture form lumps. I tried making this twice, and each time ended up with paste. I'm sure it was my own error, but didn't have the patience to try again.
I think if you are a vegan, or interested in starting a vegan lifestyle, this would probably be a great resource. For someone like myself, who was just an interested observer, I don't think the recipes are good enough to warrant purchasing the book. However, if eating vegan is something you are interested in, there is a lot of good information in this book, and I would recommend it.
Thanks to the publisher for sending my this book to review. If you are interested in learning more about the Green Books campaign, including a list of other books reviewed, make sure to visit their website!