Sweet Utopia: Simply Stunning Vegan Desserts by Sharon Valencik. Somehow in all my veg forum reading, I had never come across it. My vegan dessert book collection is pretty hit or miss. Joy of Vegan Baking? Hit. My Sweet Vegan? Miss. (And by miss I mean I got it as a gift probably 2 years ago and haven't made a single thing out of it, though I've read through it on multiple occasions) But it looked interesting, and I thought I'd give it a go. This book does NOT disappoint! There are pictures of every recipe and there isn't a single one in the book that I'm not interested in making! I'd like to work my way through cover to cover, gaining pound upon vegan pound in the process. What sets this apart from the Joy of Vegan Baking (which is a fantastic book as well, but I think everyone knows about it already) is that it is ALL DESSERTS!! Here's what I've made thus far...
Peanut Butter Mini CheesecakesThese were the boy's pick for his Birthday, Round 1. It was like eating a gigantic Reese's cup. Totally rich and decadent, it's a good thing they're mini because it would be easy to eat way too much of this and make yourself sick if it wasn't already portion controlled. These were very popular with our dinner party guests, and we didn't suffer at all having to finish the leftover ones!
Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Cake
I don't actually need to tell you who this was for, do I? Birthday, Round 2. This time with his parents. I only made a half recipe of this cake because there were only 4 of us eating it, and I didn't think we'd need a layer cake. It was fantastic. The frosting was so rich and creamy and the cake itself was incredibly moist with a really good crumb. I think we all ended up having two pieces, even though we were all already stuffed full of Chinese food.
Orange Burst Cookies N Cream
They're the ones on the right. That is the cookie tray I brought to Easter this year. On the left are Raspberry Oat bars from JOVB. I was skeptical about these cookies, but gave them a go and I'm really glad I did. The cookies are orangey but not too sweet, which is compensated by the filling which is super sweet, being cream filling and all. I cut them into egg shapes to make them festive for Easter. The cookies look like they'd be crunchy, but they actually stayed tender, which was great because the filling wasn't super hard, but it didn't squish out the sides. The only complaint (ish?) I had about this recipe was the cream filling recipe made at least twice as much cream filling as I actually needed for the cookies. Turned out Ok though. I made a chocolate cake later in the week and frosted it with the leftover cream. (Haven't uploaded the pic of that yet...)
Ok, that picture is not actually of the banana cranberry cashew cookies. I somehow failed to take a picture of those. That is a picture of my Banana Split Cookies, which is today's featured bastardized recipe, which I altered the original Banana cranberry cookie recipe to become. I was really excited to see another use for black bananas, because I usually have tons of them since as soon as bananas get spotty I don't like them anymore. The original cookie was really good, very cakelike and moist. I decided to play with the ingredients a bit though, and that's where the Banana Split Cookies were born.... they go something like this...
Banana Split Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pureed ripe banana
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
heaping 1/2 cup shelled peanuts
heaping 1/2 cup dried cherries
heaping 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together the oil, peanut butter, and sugars.
3. Add the almond milk, bananas, and vanilla extract and stir until well combined. (Doing all this with an electric mixer really speeds things along)
4. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the chips, nuts, and cherries.
5. Drop 1 tbsp of dough per cookie onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. These cookies do not spread, so if you don't want them in ball form (which is a legitimately delicious option), flatten them out a bit with your palm before baking.