Monday, February 20, 2012

Vegan Desserts:
Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season

Book Review and Giveaway!

After having my sweet tooth so soothingly satisfied by all of the sumptuously sweet recipes in Hanna's first book,  My Sweet Vegan, I couldn't imagine that there could possibly be that many more sweet surprises up Hannah's skillful sleeve. But to my amazement and delight, her new book, Vegan Desserts holds within its 240 hardbound (yes—layflat!), gloriously full-color pages, more than 100 new recipes that will tantalize any dessert-lover's taste buds—vegan or not!


I am in awe of the imagination that guides Hannah to create such uniquely beautiful and toothsome recipes as Marzipan Tea Cake, Persimmon Blondies, Zesty Rhubarb Ripple Cake, Avocado Crème Pie, and Roasted Apricot Ice Cream with Almond Praline Ripple. As with Hannah's first book, every recipe is accompanied by Hannah's gloriously rich full-color photos, which will make your mouth water with each turn of the page.

Recipe sections are divided into the four seasons, but even before diving into the recipes, readers will find invaluable tips and insights in the book's front matter that includes an expansive ingredients glossary, fun list of kitchen essentials, and an extremely helpful trouble-shooting guide. Food-sensitive readers will appreciate the food-allergy index at the end of the book that makes searching for gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and tree-nut-free recipes a breeze!

Hannah's Roasted Apple Cheesecake was a wonderful surprise! Apples and cheesecake? Who but Hannah would think of such a uniquely delectable pairing? The buttery-roasted apples, candied pecans, and gingersnap crust all conspired together to create an unforgettably delicious and creamy cheesecake.


I'm just mad about saffron. Saffron's mad about me. Spend the extra bucks and buy yourself a few pinches of the best saffron from Iran or Spain you can find, and make this Golden Saffron Pound Cake. I think it is one of the most exquisite little cakes I have ever eaten—certainly it's the best pound cake I've ever enjoyed. I actually had dreams about it after the last piece was just a memory. In my dream, I called it Mellow Yellow. It's sooooo good!


A funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen one day. I was all set to bake the recipe for Coffee Poppy Seed Cake. I assembled all the ingredients. (I was sure I had them all on hand!) Not so. There was only one missing—the instant coffee! What to do? I searched high and low for an alternative that would work in this recipe. (Truly, what can you substitute for instant coffee? You can't use anything that has to be brewed.) I eyed a bag of forgotten acai powder hiding at the back of a shelf. It was finely ground like instant coffee, it tasted kind of woodsy—not at all like coffee—but strong! What the heck? I went for it, and it worked beautifully in this cake. (I can only imagine how much more amazing the cake would have been made with coffee!) Everyone at the office remarked that it tasted delicious. Kudos, and a world of thanks to Hannah for creating truly no-fail recipes like this one!


I've made whipped cream by chilling a can of full-fat coconut milk and then trying to skim only the cream from the top with varying degrees of success. So I was super excited to find Hannah's recipe for Whipped Cream in Vegan Desserts. Not only does it not require that you remove the cream from the top of the can, but it tastes incredible, and unlike some other dairy-free toppings, this one holds together and doesn't melt, even after sitting out at room temperature. Which means you can not only dollop it by the spoonful atop your favorite pie or ice cream, but you can also pipe it through a pastry bag if you want to be fancy-schmancy. (Hannah's photo on page 234 will knock your socks off!) Here's my silky-smooth dollop of freshly made whipped cream atop of dish of chocolate almond milk ice cream


And here's the Whipped Cream recipe from Vegan Desserts, reprinted with the kind permission of the author and Skyhorse Publishing. ©2011 Hannah Kaminsky


Ingredients:


1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup plain soy or coconut creamer (I used So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer)
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp agar-agar flakes or 2 tsp powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:


In a medium saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk, creamer, and sugar. Sprinkle the agar over the top and whisk vigorously to incorporate, being sure not to leave any lumps. Turn the stove up to medium heat and cook until the mixture comes to a full boil, stirring gently from time to time. Remove the pan from the heat and whick in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature before stashing it in the fridge. Thoroughly chill for at least 3 hours, until completely solid—you should be able to trun the entire pot upside down and nothing will fall out (but don't hold it like that for too long, just in case!) 


Scrape the disk of solidified whipped cream out of the pan and into your food processor or blender. Thoroughly purée, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, until completely smooth. At first, it will seem dry and grainy, but just give the machine enough time to work out the lumps. Once silky and soft, dollop it onto desserts with a spoon or move it into a piping bag to give it a more "polished" look.  
Makes 2 cups.


Update: Congratulations to Jessica Caneal! You won a copy of Vegan Desserts! Please send me an email with your postal address, and we'll get your copy right out to you! Thank you everyone, for making this such a terrific giveaway! More to come!!


Want to win your very own copy of Vegan Desserts?* (You know you do!) Just leave a comment below telling me which one of the recipes mentioned above most tempts your taste buds. (Please make sure I have your email address so I can contact you when you win!) If you'd like to earn additional entries, please do any or all of the following, and leave a comment for each item you complete:

1. Follow this blog by clicking the "follow" link in the upper left-hand corner of this page, subscribing via email, or through NetworkedBlogs.
2. Tweet the following message: Win a copy of @BitterSweet__'s Vegan Desserts & satisfy your sweet tooth compassionately+deliciously! http://bit.ly/w764sd #vegan #giveaway
3. Join the group, My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts and Vegan à la Mode on Facebook!
4. Make friends with Hannah Kaminsky on Facebook!
5. Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter!
6. Follow @BitterSweet__ on Twitter!

*Sorry international friends. Giveaway is only open to readers with a valid US postal address.

170 comments:

Helen said...

I'm wild about saffron, too, and the poundcake looks amazing! I would so love to win this book and make the recipe.

Melissa said...

You had me at that Roasted Apple Cheesecake recipe. :)

I'm already a subscriber to your blog via Google Reader.

Thanks for the giveaway! Melissa peanutboo2@gmail.com

PalmBeachImmigrant said...

Avocado cream pie sounds intriguing. I already love avocado chocolate mousse...

Justine said...

Oh, can I only choose one? They all look incredible! Acai powder? I've never seen it before. I love how moist the poppyseed cake looks, and it sounds delicious!

Amy said...

Wow - as great as your photos look, I'm particularly tempted to find out more about the Avocado Creme Pie - since where I am in FL we have some very under-flavorful avocados which I imagine would work wonderfully well in such an application!

Amy said...

I'm a subscriber to your blog via Google Reader.

Amy said...

I friended Hannah on FB.

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

HOLY YUM!

I follow your amazing blog:)

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter:)

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

I Follow @BitterSweet__ on Twitter!

Jennʻs Adventureʻs said...

Tweeted!

https://twitter.com/#!/JennsAdventures/status/171726393518985216

karen said...

The whipped cream sounds amazing. But also the Roasted Apple Cheesecake sounds so good and different!

karen said...

OOPS! kt828@yahoo.com

Sorry!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try the whipped cream.
cpsobczak@yahoo.com

lotus21 said...

The thought of Roasted Apple Cheesecake makes my mouth water.

kosborne29@gmail.com

Jessica Caneal said...

Definitely the whipped cream!

Jessica Caneal said...

I follow the blog!

Jessica Caneal said...

I tweeted about the giveaway! @jesscaneal

Jessica Caneal said...

I joined the Facebook group.

jcanilly@msn.com

Jessica Caneal said...

I am friends with Hannah on Facebook!

jcanilly@msn.com

Jessica Caneal said...

I follow you on Twitter!

@jesscaneal

Jessica Caneal said...

I follow BitterSweet on Facebook!

jcanilly@msn.com

Suburban Snow White said...

Oh man. The apple cheesecake sound amazing.

I joined the group Sweet Vegan and made friends with Hannah (awww...)

Thanks for having these giveaways! They're a lot of fun!

Helen said...

I sent Hannah a friend request on Facebook.

Helen said...

I requested to join the My Sweet Vegan group on Facebook!

Helen said...

I already follow Hungry Vegan! Thanks for the great giveaway!

avegangirl said...

WOW! Everything looks and sounds spectacular! I would love the saffron cake and the Marzipan Tea Cake!

avegangirl said...

I tweeted the giveaway!

Erica said...

Avocado Creme Pie? Yes, please! And I wouldn't mind a hunk of that Roasted Apple Cheesecake topped with Coconut Whipped Cream, thank you!!!

Erica said...

I tweeted!!!

Erica said...

I follow @BitterSweet__ on Twitter!

Erica said...

I follow @Vegiegail on Twitter!

Rachel said...

The roasted apple cheesecake sounds fantastic!

Rachel said...

And I follow @Bittersweet__ on twitter =)

moonsword said...

ohhhh, Golden Saffron Pound Cake without a doubt! Just the words "pound cake" make me melt into a dreamy-eyed trance. Many thanks!

Noelle said...

Nice post! I would totally like to try that cheesecake! YUM!

Noelle said...

I follow you!

Noelle said...

I tweeted! https://twitter.com/#!/singerinkitchen/status/171776753042333696

Noelle said...

I requested to join the group!

Noelle said...

I friended Hannah

Noelle said...

I already follow Hannah on twitter

Noelle said...

I follow @vegiegail on twitter

Marla said...

I need to make that whipped cream. Also the Coffee Poppy Seed Cake!

Marla said...

I'm friends with Hannah on fb already!

Desina said...

I'm all about the whipped cream. I missed it when I became vegan. Even among the suspect edible oil products there was only one that I found that was vegan, but I was hoping that some day something better would come along.

I think this is my lucky day...

Anjani said...

Ooooh! I'm all about that whipped cream. Yay!

Marie said...

When I saw the whipped cream- you HAD my attention! As a mom of an 11 yr old with severe milk allergies, I have always felt guilty when other family members have whipped cream on dessert at family gatherings, and she can't. This is the beginning of some changes for her! I would love to win a copy of the book, to find more treats for this special girl! mearaimage@gmail.com

Kathie said...

The Saffron Cake looks so good. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book.

Candy said...

I have tried to make dairy free whipped cream with no luck, so I was very happy to find yours posted here.
Candy@calicodragonbags.com

Sallie said...

It's gotta be the Whipped Cream. With all of my daughters allergies, I'm excited to make this sweet treat for her to use on jello, pie!!

Joelle said...

Friended Hannah.

Joelle said...

Joined the Vegan Group on FB

Joelle said...

Following BitterSweet on Twitter.

Joelle said...

Following VegieGail on Twitter.

Joelle said...

Subscribed to this blog = )

Joelle said...

I would love to figure out how to make the whipped cream. I am sure the creamer has sugar, I don't do soy, and I can't get the So Delicious where I live. Any suggestions!! = (

joellesgarden@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I had to get a paper towel to remove the drool from my keyboard when I saw the whipped cream recipe! (Although I'm going to look at the Avocado Cream Pie as well!) I've been a quadriplegic for over 42 years and when I learned that I was dairy AND gluten intolerant, I was devastated to have to give up yet another aspect of normal life. I'm so thankful you shared this recipe because it's uncomplicated enough for my husband to prepare for me. I'd so appreciate winning a copy of your cookbook so I can add some more 'normality' back to my life! Gail cfmomma@aol.com

I've sent a request to join your facebook group.

Donna~~ said...

My mouth is watering so it's hard to type! :) Would love to give that cheesecake a taste, and am definitely going to whip up some of the whipped cream--really have missed it!

Anonymous said...

Michelle W said: You had me at Saffron! I intend to try that as soon as I win the book! :D

Vegiegail said...

Hi Joelle! The creamer only has 1g of sugar per tablespoon, so that would equate to 8g sugar for the recipe. You could use a non-caloric sweetener like Just Like Sugar instead of the sugar called for, and you'd end up with a very low-sugar per-serving recipe. I don't know where you live, but if you are in the US or Canada, you can ask the store where you shop to carry So Delicious products. There'e a request form you can download from the website and bring with you the next time you go shopping: http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/prod_user/prod_request.php

You could also try making whipped cream from canned coconut milk alone and substitute your sweetener of choice. Here's a recipe you could try: http://www.everydaydish.tv/recipe/vegan-whipped-cream Please let me know if that works for you. :)

VegMama said...

I think I will have to try the pound cake.

Kirstie said...

I'm going to have to try the whipped cream :)

Kirstie said...

I'm going to have to try the whipped cream :)

Anonymous said...

Can you use cornstarch instead of agar powder in the 'whipped cream'?

jackie said...

I really want to try the whipped cream and the saffron pound cake.

Lydia said...

I am really excited about the coconut whipped cream. I have tried the chilled can of coconut method several times, and each time was an epic fail! This sounds much more foolproof. Just followed @BitterSweet_ on twitter!

Lydia said...

Can't wait to try the Roasted Apple Cheesecake too! Sounds incredible! Just requested to join the group on FB. Wanna get in on this giveaway!

Lydia said...

Following the blog as well. I hope I win the book! lydia3124@gmail.com

Lydia said...

Tweeted about the giveaway! Do any of your recipes use coconut flour? I love it, and I don't have a lot of recipes that call for it.

Lydia said...

I requested Hannah as a friend on FB! Five entries! *fingers crossed*

Kathy Hester said...

Now I know what I'll be cooking this weekend - lots of Hannah's goodies. Yum!

Imperfections said...

my heart skipped A BEAT AT Avacado cream pie! The only thing my child will beg for more of is avacado. We buy them by the case.

Martha said...

I'd love to be able to serve a vegan pound cake that my in-laws would love...that would be so SWEET!

KL Grady said...

The Avocado Creme Pie sounds fascinating. That will likely be my first stop.

KL Grady said...

I've followed this blog.

KL Grady said...

I tweeted about this giveaway from @KL_Grady.

KL Grady said...

I requested to join the FB group.

KL Grady said...

I requested to friend Hannah on FB.

KL Grady said...

I'm following @VegieGail.

KL Grady said...

I'm following @BitterSweet__.

scarriemom said...

I would love to try the Golden Saffron Pound Cake!

scarriemom gmail com

scarriemom said...

I follow your blog!

scarriemom gmail com

scarriemom said...

I tweeted the message!

scarriemom gmail com

scarriemom said...

I've requested to join the group, My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts and Vegan à La Mode!

scarriemom gmail com

scarriemom said...

I follow @Vegiegail on Twitter!

scarriemom gmail com

scarriemom said...

I follow @BitterSweet_ on Twitter!

scarriemom gmail com

Crazy Vegan Mom said...

They all look amazing, but the Poppy Seed Coffee Cake is first on my list!
tpcat29@gmail.com

Lauren said...

Hannah's book is on my wish list! Her recipes look beautiful and I am dying to make her vegan french macarons.

I am an email subscriber of your blog! =)

Crazy Vegan Mom said...

I joined the group, My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts and Vegan à la Mode on Facebook
tpcat29@gmail.com

Crazy Vegan Mom said...

I Follow @Vegiegail on Twitter

tpcat29@gmail.com

Crazy Vegan Mom said...

I follow @BitterSweet__ on Twitter!
tpcat29@gmail.com

Suburban Snow White said...

Oops..forgot to mention I follow you by email too. :) Thanks!

Abby Bean said...

A friend brought me saffron from abroad and I've been waiting for a special recipe to come along for it; the poundcake sounds amazing!

Bethel said...

I want to eat the Rhubarb Ripple and the Roasted Apple Cheesecake!

Unknown said...

I can't wait to try the poppy seed cake and throw some of the whipping cram on top!

Vickiwink said...

I also joined Natalie's group :)

Vegiegail said...

Hi Anonymous! Cornstarch is not a suitable substitute in this recipe. You want to stick with agar.

Sue said...

I have to say the Poppy seed coffee cake looks the most tempting to me !!! I Love a good coffee cake.

sue said...

I made friends with Hannah.
sierrasue@usamedia.tv

Lizzie Bordello said...

I follow your blog.

Lizzie Bordello said...

I just tweeted about the blog and giveaway.

Lizzie Bordello said...

I asked to join the group on Facebook.

Lizzie Bordello said...

I sent a friend request to Hannah.

Lizzie Bordello said...

I already follow you on Twitter. :)

Lizzie Bordello said...

I also already follow Hannah on Twitter as well!

VeganMarr said...

Wow, as always, all the recipes look scrumptious. I would happily devour a generous sampling of EACH in one siting! ;-)And such unique variations on a common recipe. The cheesecake comes in as a close 2nd, but I think my first pick would be the coffee cake. Love crumbly toppings!! :-) Wonder if teechino would work??

VeganMarr said...

I am subscribed to your blog.

Anonymous said...

I follow Hungry Vegan on Twitter.

Terri Cole said...

I want that Golden Saffron Pound Cake in my mouth!

gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

Terri Cole said...

I follow your blog.

gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

Eva eidwriter@aol.com said...

I would love to try the Safron pound cake and the roasted Apple cheesecake could you please get permission from the author to post those two recipes on your blog they sound wonderful.

Eva eidwriter@aol.com said...

I subscribe to your blog e-mails

Heather said...

Everything looks awesome.....but I'm a sucker for whipped cream! It is so great to have an awesome recipe that is dairy free :)

ahchupp@fourway.net

Heather said...

I have subscribed via e-mail.

Heather said...

Joined My Sweet Vegan on FB.

Heather said...

Friended Hannah on FB.

Vegiegail said...

Hi Marr! I actually thought about using Teeccino, but since it's made to be brewed, I didn't try it. But it might work. I'll have to ask the lovely folks there what they think! Thanks for the suggestion!

Hi Eva! Thank you for your comment. I posted this review to share my love of this book and also whet your appetite for all of the wonderful recipes it contains. I would love to share all of the recipes in the book, but posting more than one recipe kind of defeats the purpose of inspiring folks to actually buy the book! The Roasted Apple Cheesecake and Golden Saffron Poundcake recipes alone are more than worth the book's modest cover price—just $17.95 for a gorgeous hardbound edition. And you could still win a copy! Good luck in the giveaway!

Julie said...

How can you make us choose!!! That whipped cream is so going to get made this weekend, cannot wait!

Ashley said...

I subscribe! Thanks so much for the giveaway

Ashley said...

That coffee cake looks amazing, I would so love to win this!

Ashley said...

I tweeted

Ashley said...

I joined the FB group

Ashley said...

I follow you on twitter!

Ashley said...

I also follow Hannah

Jen said...

Coffee Poppy Seed Cake! Looks so good.

Jen said...

I am already subscribed to this blog.

Jen said...

I joined the My Sweet Vegan group on Facebook.

Jen said...

I sent a friend request to Hannah

Jen said...

I already follow @Vegiegail

Jen said...

I'm now following @Bittersweet_

Vegenista said...

That Golden Saffron Pound Cake sounds intriguing! I love both separately, & curious how they work together!

Melissa
vegenista@att.net

Vegenista said...

I friended Hannah on FB!

Vegenista said...

I already follow you on twitter.

Vegenista said...

I already follow bittersweet on twitter.

Vegenista said...

I am an email subscriber to your blog.

Vegenista said...

I tweeted about the giveaway!

https://twitter.com/#!/vegenista/status/172118316398292993

Bhav said...

I follow via networked blogs as Jo Sue


bvbabybv at gmail dot com

Bhav said...

Tweet:
https://twitter.com/#!/bvbabybv/status/172130908407742464

Bhav said...

I have joined the group on FB as Jo Sue

Bhav said...

I have added Hannah Kaminsky as a friend. Jo Sue

Bhav said...

I follow @Vegiegail on twitter as @bvbabybv

Bhav said...

I follow @BitterSweet__ on twitter as @bvbabybv

MarkTwain said...

apple cheesecake looks great!

Cathy Steffen said...

Golden Saffron Poundcake...uh, AND the whipped cream for sure. Hell yes!

Cathy Steffen said...

Golden Saffron Poundcake...uh, AND the whipped cream for sure. Hell yes!

Bhav said...

The Roasted Apple Cheesecake sounds fantastic!! I have never eaten a vegan cheesecake in my life, I've even forgotten how they taste. The books sounds fabulous!

bvbabybv at gmail dot com

Bhav said...

I follow via Networked Blogs as Jo Sue

Bhav said...

Tweet:
https://twitter.com/#!/bvbabybv/status/172158842619166721

Amanda H said...

That Coffee Poppyseed cake looks incredible! I'm following you on Twitter too!

VeganMarr said...

I re-tweeted @VegieGail's post on this.

VeganMarr said...

Am following @BitterSweet on twitter

VeganMarr said...

I friended Hannah Kaminsky on FB.

Rachael said...

the coffee poppy seed cake sounds great!

Rachael said...

tweeted!

Rachael said...

already follow you on twitter

Rachael said...

followed hannah on twitter

choirqueer said...

Following your blog!

choirqueer said...

Tweeted your message!

choirqueer said...

Joined the Facebook group!

choirqueer said...

Friended you on Facebook!

choirqueer said...

Following @Vegiegail!

choirqueer said...

Following @BitterSweet__@

choirqueer said...

And I think I'm gonna have to go with Avocado Creme Pie for my recipe. Such good choices! I think my WP account connects to my email, but if not, it's choirqueer@gmail.com :)

Laura T said...

The whipped cream sounds amazing!

Kathie said...

I'm friends with Hannah on Facebook.

Kathie said...

Subscriber to NetworkBlogs
ricard333@gmail.com

Kathie said...

I am a member of the group, My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts and Vegan à la Mode on Facebook!

Kathie said...

I tweeted.

Kathie said...

I am following @Vegiegail on Twitter.

Kathie said...

I am following @BitterSweet_ on Twitter