November 22, 2010

The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur | Keep away from heat

You probably thought the title of the post referred to me, didn't you? Well, not exactly. It refers to Kelly Peloza's new cookbook, The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, which includes more than 140 tempting recipes, like Giant Bakery-Style Double Chocolate Cookies, Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies, and Caramel Apple Bars! Peloza is an art student, blogger and cookzine author, as well as a maker of extraordinary cookies.

She wants her cookies to be made of easily accessible, natural ingredients, and she wants each and every recipe to be delicious. The creative cookie recipes are meant to be a testament to the fabulous taste and texture of vegan cookies, not an ode to healthy vegan fare, and if you are looking to make vegan cookies that are every bit as decadently delicious as butter and egg-laced treats, then this book is for you.

The cookies are divided into chapters such as Totally nuts and Seeds, with myriad versions of peanut-and-other nut butter-filled confections, Blissfully Chocolate Cookies, with recipes for chocoholics, DIY Versions of Mass-Produced Cookies, with recipes for treats like graham crackers and vanilla wafers, and more. There's even a chapter called Healthier Cookies and Baking for Special Needs. The book is loaded with photos — one for each cookie recipe — making it a very colorful and inviting book.

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

My son and his girl friend baked a batch of cookies from the Nostalgia: Everyone's Favorite Cookies chapter. I asked them to make Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies, partly because the recipe was lower in fat than some of the others, and partly because I liked the "soft, chewy" description. They used white whole wheat flour instead of unbleached white, but otherwise made the cookie recipe as written.

The cookies were very sweet, as the recipe said they would be, and wonderfully soft and chewy, very much like the classic chocolate chip cookies I (vaguely) remember. They were delicious, and I would make them again.

I think most people would love this book, but here's a note for my more health-oriented readers. I'm probably in the minority, but not only do I prefer to reduce sugar and fat in my general diet, but also in the "treats" I consume. I'll probably try more recipes from the book, but no doubt will alter the recipes a little to make them "healthier." I understand the concept of separating treats from regular food, and not wanting "special occasion" food to taste too "healthy," but in my experience, special occasions happen with more frequency than most of us admit.

That said, there are lots of recipes in the book that would lend themselves to a little alteration, if that's your style, and the author even gives suggestions on how to do it. A lot of the recipes are already pretty low in fat, compared to similar ones I've seen, but I might make them a little less sweet. I'm looking forward to trying some of the other recipes in The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur — there are loads of tempting ones, and I feel very tempted.
Disclaimer: The publisher sent me a free copy of the book but did not require me to write a review. I didn't get paid to write the review.


Weird product discovery of the day
(or keep away from heat)
I purchased two new potholders over the weekend to replace the ratty, falling apart ones we've been using, but didn't read the tags until I got home. As I was cutting off the tags, I checked to see if the pot holders could go in the washer and dryer, and I found this warning: keep away from heat. Um, these are pot holders.


  1. Great review! It's on my wish list. I am assume the Special Needs might have gluten-free in it? I usually reduce the sugar or fat and try to substitute when possible. I don't like getting sugar rushes.

  2. I just added something to my Holiday shopping list! Yay :D

  3. I'm so impressed with the young people today: what a remarkable young woman...when I was a student, writing a cookbook would have been completely beyond my ken...well, it still is, but you know what I mean!

    I love the section titles: very creative! Those cookies do look really good!

    LOL about the pot holders!

  4. Aimee,
    The special needs section is small and mostly gives suggestions for alternative ingredients, like using gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour.

    You would have to do a lot of substituting, but I guess you're used to that.

    Yes, I know what you mean. Anna Thomas wrote her first cookbook while she was a student way back when, but it does seem that more people are writing books at younger and younger ages.

    The pot holders have me a little worried, but I'll assume it's a translation thing since they are from Japan.

  5. As a true cookie monster, I'm hoping to get either the Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar or this book. Have you seen the VCIYCJ, and if yes, which one would you recommend? Since they're probably not in any bookstores in Denmark, I'll have to order the book without seeing it first. ;)

    As for your pot holders, I have (well, had!) a pair that worked okay when lifting pans out of the oven, but instantly "burned" in the dryer. It was quite weird, but maybe that's the case here as well?

  6. Ha ha, that is just great. Pot holders that can't stand heat. That is a as much use as a chocolate teapot (not the blog of course, it is very useful). Those cookies look good and the other ones you listed sounded pretty fab too!

  7. I feel the exact same way in that I really watch my sugar and fat intake. It's so easy these days to bake treats with minimal cost, not like the 'good old days'. I'm trying to reserve desserts for VERY special occassions. Still, it looks like a good book to have in your collection when you need to bake for a potluck or something and want to dazzle the non-vegans.

    That's slightly hilarious about the pot holders!!

  8. Seglare,
    I have seen VCIYCJ, but I don't own it so haven't really compared the recipes. I've eaten some of the cookies, though, and they were delicious. I honestly don't know which book you should get, but it seems they are both great. Maybe someone will leave a comment about that.

    I think you may be right about the potholders. But I can't understand why the heat of the drier would burn them, yet they would be safe around hot pots and pans. Weird.

    I don't know ... if the teapot were made from bittersweet chocolate, it might be very useful. :D The cookies were simple but perfect — great texture and taste.

  9. Heidi,
    It seems that there's been a shift away from scrimping on fatty and sugary desserts, and most people want "decadent" cakes and cookies. For truly special occasions, I'll make richer treats, but for ordinary times, I prefer leaner desserts. I don't like really sweet or fatty foods, but that's just my personal preference.

    I agree that it's great to have a cookbook for those times you want to make something impressive, and this one seems to be perfect for that.

  10. I've actually been trying to NOT get that book because I know I'd be having cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner! But the more reviews I read, the more tempted I am!

    I have VCIYCJ and I freaking love it. Every recipe I've made from there (except the Lime Tahini Cookies, sorry!) has been excellent. I know I can't make a recommendation for which book to buy, but I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents about VCIYCJ.

    Weird about the pot holders!!

  11. Those cookies sound delish! It wouldn't be a very good idea for me to have that cookbook though. I would be in the kitchen baking all the time instead of cooking a descent dinner. :o)

    LOL...that is too funny about the pot holders. I need new ones myself.

  12. Ha! That potholder comment made me laugh out loud...that is too funny!


  13. Bunzofcinnamon,
    Oh, just go get it. (I think there are recipes for breakfast cookies.) Thanks for your opinion about VCIYCJ — every cookie I've had from that cookbook was great, too. I've only had one cookie from VCC but it was excellent, and the other recipes sound wonderful. Too hard to choose.

    Baking is fun Michelle. Everyone needs a little fun. :D I hope you find new potholders that can take the heat!

    It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

  14. Thanks for your opinions, Andrea and BunzOfCinnamon. Only that now I want them both!! :D

  15. Excellent review, Andrea! The book looks beautiful and I am all exited about it. I hope I can get a copy soon.

  16. Seglare,
    Well, you could ask Santa for help with this problem. :)

    Thank you. The book is filled with wonderful cookie recipes and I'm looking forward to trying more of them.


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