In the midst of the Vida Vegan Con catch-up whirlwind that is the vegan blogosphere of late, you may have noticed a blog tour supporting Celine Steen and Tami Noyes‘ latest book-baby, Whole Grain Vegan Baking. I for one definitely sat up and took notice, because I’m deep in the throes of some profound love for this book, and wanted to hear its praises sung by some other voices.
My feelings for this book took me by surprise. I’m not a wholegrain baker by any stretch of the imagination. When I bake, I want my treats to taste like treats. And I’m sure we’ve all had one attempt at making wholegrain cookies that tasted like every cliche of dreadlocked, barefooted veganism in a crumbly package of sadness. If you did like those healthy-tasting abominations for some reason, then stay away- because there’s nothing like that here! Each recipe I’ve tried so far has been straight-up delicious. Not ‘delicious for wholegrain, I guess’. Just delicious.
As an added bonus, this book makes use of those obscure flours that I’ve hoarded to bake for gluten free friends, or that I’ve just collected on a whim (‘this amaranth flour is only $6! I WOULD BE STUPID NOT TO BUY IT’). I’ve been on a self-imposed cookbook buying ban of late, but when this one would allow me to actually use that (admittedly excessive, and until this point largely decorative) flour collection… well, that just makes good financial sense.
So without further ado, a few of my recent forays into the world of wholegrain vegan baking:
I’m a sucker for peanut butter, so these peanut butter surprise cookies were always going to be first into my oven. Even better when combined with another of my favourite ingredients- Sriracha! These sound weird, but taste awesome. Kind of like a satay cookie, in the best possible way. Chadwiko isn’t a huge fan of chilli in baked goods (he’s wrong about this; I try to overlook it), but even he was a fan. And they crinkled and cracked just like white flour cookies. Adorable!
Chadwiko chose the second recipe, and it was no surprise to see him go straight for these pesto knot rolls. In addition to being super cute, these are packed with garlicky goodness and are perfect with soup. These have been made a couple of times already, and I foresee many repeat appearances in our kitchen now that winter is truly here.
I made this braided almond oat bread as a gift for some friends who housesat for us while we were in Melbourne for a weekend. It was a great choice, not only because it’s so pretty, but because it yields two loaves so I got to keep one all for myself. It was hard to part with the second after tasting my loaf though. This bread is super rich, like dessert for breakfast. I can’t wait to make this again and try out some obscenely indulgent French toast.
I had a quick trip up to Brisbane for work late last week, and the included hotel breakfasts are never much fun for vegans. Without a whole lot of time before work to venture out in search of a feed in a strange city, I decided to bake this cashew carrot loaf the night before, and take a few slices with me. This was a pretty great decision on my part. I love quick breads like this, but I hate the amount of sugar that most recipes call for. If I’m going to eat a tablespoon of sugar for breakfast, I may as well make a real cake. But this contains no sugar, and is subtly sweetened with maple syrup. The blended cashews make this loaf so rich- far too rich to taste like wholegrain. This made a great hotel breakfast, and spread with some Tofutti cream cheese mixed with a splash of maple syrup, it also became a perfect after-dinner treat.
Of course, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t share a quick photo of my work dress, right? 6am was far too early to be dressed this professionally and waiting around in an airport. At least my bag was crammed full of tasty snacks to offset the bland, airline-provided cereal.
Finally, yesterday afternoon I whipped up these quick hazelnut shortbread fingers. Mine are a little more crumbly and less cute than the (beautiful!) photo in the book, but the taste more than makes up for their aesthetic shortcomings. These are packed full of rich, hazelnut flavour and were good fun to make- with no margarine or sugar, it’s pretty different to typical shortbread recipes. I’m a fan!
This book has totally won me over, and I’m sure that a wrap up of some more recipes will be coming soon- I’ve got my eye on that nectarine oatmeal cake, caramel nut barley squares, roasted vegetable tart and potato and walnut bread, just to name a few! I’m smitten.
As you probably noticed, these photos were taken with Instagram during my blogging hiatus. If you don’t follow me already, you can find me at @erinwiko. Let’s be friends!