Am I the only one who likes "falling back"? I love waking up feeling well-rested and refreshed and realizing it's only 7:00am! I love it when the days get shorter, and it gets dark earlier, and I can snuggle up inside with a fire in the fireplace and cookies, cobbler or pie in the oven. Yes, that's what I said: Cookies and cobblers and pies, OH MY!
Yes, I am very health and nutrition conscious. I watch and worry about everything my family eats. I am into healthy eating; I'm NOT into deprivation! Besides, I know the kids are going to eat baked goods anyway. I'd much rather have them eat something I bake at home than anything store-bought. I know I'm not alone here!
So this year, as the darkness creeps in earlier and the holidays approach and the urge to bake strikes, I am more prepared than ever. I am not going to dig out the index cards, the newspaper and magazine clippings, or the post-it note recipes. I have everything I need in one place: "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau!
WAIT!!! Don't close the blog window just because you saw the word "vegan"!! I promise you, these are recipes that everyone will love. No weird, hard to find ingredients; just pure delicious! I have made an embarrassing number of these recipes and I assure you, not one crumb has been left by any vegetarian, vegan or omnivore who cared to indulge!
This is a big, beautiful book filled with color photos. Colleen gives clear explanations about all of her substitutions, including what to use for eggs and butter. There are tips throughout the book for making the preparations even easier, not that any of them are difficult. There is also a lot of fun "food lore," with which you can dazzle your friends with your brilliance, or pick up a few extra points while playing "Jeopardy."
And the recipes. Oh, the recipes. Let's be clear: these are not health food recipes. They are REAL baked goods, with sugar and spice and everything nice; just no animal products or by-products. The chapters include muffins and biscuits, quick breads, cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, yeast breads, puddings, candies, smoothies, beverages, toppings, and so much more. No one is recommending that you indulge in these foods every day; but when you do indulge, these recipes are the ones you should make. (Although, I could easily make a case for eating the Waffles II every single day! The recipe is oil-free and you just whip up the waffle batter in your blender!) But, I digress.
I have to say a few words about Colleen, who I have never met, yet I feel like I know her from her blog and podcasts. She is a fantastic cook who is passionate about sharing her compassion for animals. Please, check out what she has to say at: http://www.compassionatecooks.com/ I guarantee that you will be both educated and moved by her words.
Colleen gave me permission to share one of her recipes with you. It was a difficult choice, because honestly, every single thing I've made from her cookbook has been wonderful. In the end, I decided to share her recipe for chocolate brownies. This is a recipe I've made several times and we all love it. These are thick, moist, chewy brownies, sure to please. I feel really good about these brownies because, while there is fat from the chocolate chips and nuts (ooh, ooh, nuts have GOOD fats:-), there is no added oil or fat. Here is my latest batch, fresh out of the oven: (sorry I didn't clean up the baking dish a bit, but notice it's my Le Creuset dish:-)
1-1/2 C granulated sugar
3/4 C unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbs water
2 tsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 C water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/3 C unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
1 C coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. With canola oil, grease an 8x8 inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, applesauce and 2 Tbs water.
In a small bowl or food processor, combine ground flaxseed with 1/2 C water. Add this to the applesauce mixture, along with vanilla and stir to combine.
In a separate small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips and nuts. Add to the applesauce mixture and stir just to combine.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or longer if you like a cakier result.
Let cool before cutting. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (AS IF!!) or in the freezer up to 3 months.
You will love these, and all the recipes in this book. No, it's not "healthy" food, but it's a much better option. Better for your body, better for the animals, better for the planet.