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Book Reviews

Sweet Eats by Allyson Kramer

Book Review:
Sweet Eats for All
by Allyson Kramer
review by Marla Rose

One of the pretty fabulous things about having a vegan website you write reviews for is the profusion of really excellent and exciting new cookbooks. When I was approached to write a review for the new cookbook, “Sweet Eats for All: 250 Decadent Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes from Candy to Cookies, Puff Pastries to Petits Fours,” by Allyson Kramer, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. As a longtime fan of the author’s website for her innovative recipes and beautiful food photography, as well as her emphasis on unprocessed ingredients, I was excited for this newest cookbook, which covers treats anyone can enjoy but especially those who don’t eat animal products as well as those who have allergies or intolerances to gluten, dairy or eggs. Finally, we can have our cake and eat it, too, without compromising our values or our health.

Published by Da Capo Press, this is a pretty soft-cover book, with enticing photos and well-organized chapters that are beyond thorough. From her "Stocking a Vegan Pantry" chapter, which includes sections on flours, binders (remember that gluten-free baking has its own challenges), useful tools and so on, to chapters on cakes (from layers to rolled cakes), cookies (from drop to rolled varieties), pies, pastries, tarts and cheesecakes, frozen treats, puddings, custards, jellies and fruits, to candies (including those free of refined sugars), this is the perfect collection for anyone who loves sweets without sacrifice.

Written in an unpretentious, accessible way, each recipe has a descriptive introduction and many also have serving suggestions as well as ingredient substitution recommendations. It is written so anyone can make these treats, and even with the more complicated recipes, like the candies that require an eye to detail, a novice baker can pull off, the instructions are so simple. As with gluten-free baking, there are some flours that are less easy to find at your average grocery store, like sorghum, teff or superfine brown rice flour (am I the only one who can’t type that without hearing supah fine in my head?), but this is not unexpected. The author makes resource recommendations for some of the more obscure ingredients and she also, very helpfully, offers gluten-free substitutions if you don’t have a specific ingredient on hand.

I made the English toffee recently for a little party and was impressed by the simple ingredients and careful instructions, and though I didn’t quite follow them fully (I was baking at 4:00 in the morning – what could possibly go wrong?) and the candy didn’t properly set, my friends were so impressed by the toffee (more caramel-y than crunchy) that they wanted to know what I did wrong. Imagine how great a treat is when the botched version is still so good.

From fancier recipes like fondant and madeleines to ethnic favorites like rugelach, tiramisu and pumpkin flan as well as just all-around comforting treats like chocolate whoopie pies and peanut butter fudge, you will find sweets for all tastes and preferences. Clearly, a lot of love went into this collection. Anyone who loves treats, especially those who do not or cannot consume animal products or gluten, should love Sweet Eats for All.
I highly, highly recommend this cookbook.

Sweet Eats for All - Mini Maple Donuts
Mini Maple Donuts

If anything can take me back to the donut shop as a kid, it’s these guys. These basic cake donuts have a hint of maple—not too cloying. The glaze also goes well with a variety of other desserts.

Yield: 24 donuts

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sorghum flour
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons nondairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

11/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons nondairy milk
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract
Dash salt

Preheat oven to 325F and place your oven rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly grease a mini-size donut pan.

Combine all the ingredients through the salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Gradually add in the rest of the donut ingredients, in the order given, and mix well until no lumps remain. You should end up with a tacky batter.
Fill the cups of the donut pan with batter. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool completely and then glaze.

To make the glaze, simply whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Cover cooled donuts completely with glaze and then place onto a wire rack to firm up. Let glaze harden completely before serving. Store in airtight container up to 4 days.

Soy free, nut free

I like to use corn syrup in my glazes as it truly recreates that donut-shop texture; however, you may replace the corn syrup with 1 teaspoon maple syrup, which will cause the glaze texture to have a slight variation.

From Sweet Eats for All by Allyson Kramer. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, 2014

2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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