Self-Frosting Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
One of the greatest joys of entering the blogging world has been meeting so many talented, large-hearted bakers and cooks who share my passion for good food. One of these amazing individuals is Hannah Kaminsky, vegan baker extraordinaire and mastermind behind the lovely Bittersweet blog. Her credentials are beyond impressive: she'd won baking awards and written a cookbook by college! When her publisher offered me a free review copy of her book, My Sweet Vegan, I naturally jumped at the opportunity.
I was immediately impressed by the variety of offerings in this book. The recipes are divided into 5 sections: Sweet Starts (like Golden Glazed Donuts), Cookies and Bars (like "Cheese" Cake Thumbprint Cookies and Peanut Butter Bombs), Cakes and Cupcakes (like Bananas Foster Cake and Mocha Devastation Cake), Pies and Tarts (like Baklava Tart and Pink Lemonade Tartlets), and Miscellaneous Morsels and Desserts (like Green Tea Tiramisu and Hazelnut Ravioli). Plus each and every recipe comes with a color photograph and inviting introduction from Hannah.
Orange Hazelnut Biscotti
Ultimately I tested the Self-Frosting Peanut Butter Cupcakes, Orange Hazelnut Biscotti, and Green Tea Freezer Pops. All delicious, and even my non-foodie boyfriend raved about the cupcakes and biscotti. The self-frosting cupcakes, made by swirling the chocolate "frosting" into the batter before baking, were a tasty and much faster alternative to my usual. With a cake so moist and flavorful from the peanut butter, butter and eggs weren't missed at all. The popsicles were fast, easy, and refreshing. Featuring almond and green tea flavors paired to great effect. Finally, you can find my detailed review of the biscotti (with recipe) in this past post.
Yet sometimes it's the little thoughtful touches that win me over. In My Sweet Vegan, these were the Ingredient Guide and Food Allergy Index. While many ingredients in this book are probably already in your kitchen, a few are made especially for vegan cooking (like vegan cream cheese and soy yogurt). Luckily Hannah provides a lot of guidance for finding these. Unlike many cookbooks that just say an item is "available at specialty stores" (as if that's helpful?!), Hannah tells you not only the type of store but often the section where you're likely to find it. She also provides an index of the recipes that are gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, etc. at the end of the book for those struggling with allergies.
Are you starting to get the impression that I like Hannah and her book 8p? I had so much fun reading and baking from it, I hope you'll give it a chance, too. If you've got holiday shopping left to do, My Sweet Vegan would make a lovely and affordable gift for any adventurous bakers or vegans in your life (yourself included ^_^).