So far, it's been our experience that baked vegan desserts leave a little to be desired. Bread doesn't seem to lose much in translation as often bread recipes do not call for non-vegan ingredients anyway. Most of the baked desserts we've tried however, have paled in comparison to their non-vegan counterparts. So when Jane received The Joy of Vegan Baking for Christmas this year, we were both hopeful. Here was an expert who had a published book on the very topic we were having issues with. An answer had to be in sight!
Jane decided that she would bake at least two recipes a month from this cookbook. So far, we've had the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (twice), the Blueberry Lemon Muffins, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and Peanut Butter Cookies. The Peanut Butter Cookies were made with Almond Butter however as Jane doesn't care for peanuts in almost any form.
The Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins were excellent the first time around, but didn't hold their shape well. In other words, they were falling apart even as Jane removed them from the muffin tin. However, they tasted great. They were amazingly moist and tender and the combination of bananas and chocolate always wins in my book. Jane thought that the muffins may have fallen apart because the bananas we bought were rather large. Since the recipe calls for four mashed bananas, rather than an actual measurement, there is a lot of room for error here.
After such an auspicious start, we had high hopes for the recipes that followed. Next in the cookbook is a recipe for Blueberry Lemon Muffins. They cooked up nicely and I thought they tasted good, but Jane felt they had a metallic taste and was thinking it was the baking soda / vinegar combination which is used as a leavening agent here. So, one for two.
Next were the cookies. We had Mexican Wedding Cookies at a friend's house this year, made with vegan butter in our honor. According to our friend, with that change she had a completely vegan recipe. They were excellent. So we had high expectations here. The cookies looked exactly the same. Unfortunately, these were dense and very doughy, not at all melt-in-your mouth as the recipe claimed. But not every recipe is going to work, so this didn't deter Jane from her next endeavor.
Almond Butter Cookies. These cookies were very good. The batch didn't last two days (it wasn't just us though, we had company and put out the plate of cookies)! Jane made half the batch as described and half with chocolate chips. Surprisingly, the ones without the chocolate chips were better! Both versions of this cookie would have benefited greatly from a glass of cow's milk. But we don't drink that anymore. Regardless, we will certainly be having these again.
And then it was back to the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. This time Jane only used three bananas, and they were slightly smaller than the bananas she'd used the previous time. Also, she forgot to set the timer so they were slightly overcooked. They still had the same great flavor, but they were a tad hard and that definitely detracted from the experience. Alas.
I wonder what she'll make next?