Ricki Frees the Masses with her Sweets

July 30th, 2009 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

When Toronto was still wrapped up in the cold grip of winter, I had the chance to indulge in many of Ricki’s sweet treats after winning a giveaway she hosted on her blog. I wrote here about the amazing taste adventure that resulted.

After my first bite into one of the Cinnamon Coffee Toffee Bars I knew that her book, Sweet Freedom, would provide vegan bakers everywhere with the ammunition they needed to convince the masses that conscious consuming can be delicious. The most impressive part about the recipes in Ricki’s collection is that they provide sweet satisfaction without the consequences associated with consuming wheat, eggs, dairy or refined sugars. Even though that may seem like a long list of exclusions…you won’t miss any of them! Just trust me. I have shared the sweets created from Ricki’s recipes with colleagues, grandparents, nieces, nephews, friends, brothers, fathers and mothers and not one complaint. Everyone loved both the deep, rich flavours and creamy, toothsome textures.

Sweet Freedom has chapters dedicated to: Baking tips; breakfast baking; cookies, bars and squares; cakes, cupcakes, toppings and frostings; cheesecakes, pies and baked puddings; raw and no bake treats. Ricki provides a lot of helpful information about using more wholesome ingredients to successfully produce decadent results. As a nutritionist, cooking instructor and professional baker, she certainly knows her stuff. Isn’t it nice to get to benefit from the toil of others! With Ricki’s helpful tips in mind, I tackled a number of her enticing recipes.

As you know, I have been testing a lot of recipes lately, so I thought a recent visit to my Mom’s place would be the perfect opportunity to share in the tasting role. So I asked each family member to pick a recipe or two for me to whip up. This did not require much convincing and resulted in some fun experimenting with flavours that I would not have picked out on my own.

First I whipped up a batch of the Classic Peanut Butter Cookies.
A rich, peanut buttery spelt cookie sweetened with maple and brown rice syrup perfectly satisfied a craving for something to dunk in a warm glass of almond milk.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffinswere a bit crumbly, but the flavour…oh the flavour. Who cares, about a few crumbs when your muffins are full of sweet potato and chocolate. I made mini muffins with this recipe but I would happily eat a big one of these for breakfast. The spice combination makes this muffin quite memorable and lovely as a tasty gift. I think I may need to bring a batch of these to the office next time I need a favour. I guess that’s called a brib rather then a gift. :)

My advice, buy the book and go directly to page 48!

Although, you won’t want to miss out on the delight on page 79 either, the Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudgies. You should know, my brother loves Peanut Butter and basically flipped through the book for recipes celebrating it as the star ingredient. But the rest of us could not complain once we tasted the deep chocolately flavour of this cookie. It is such a classic combination but made less-sinful with the addition of applesauce and all-natural peanut butter.

The most involved recipe I made was the Dalmatian Cheesecake Brownies, but if you ask my family they were worth every second. The picture does not do this treat justice. The cashew butter and tofu layer is deceptively rich and creamy and the brownie bottom is what every fudgy square of chocolate goodness aspires to be. Amazing.

Finally, I bring you the Muffin Wars.

Now, you should know that I already have my favourite banana chocolate chip (BCC) muffin recipe that I have been making for years. I know the measurement and technique off-by-heart and can whip it up anywhere. But, recently my friend Colleen said that she had discovered her favourite BCC muffin recipe. I was intrigued. She had prepared a batch of muffins using Colleen Patrick Goudreau’s recipe in the Joy of Vegan Baking (JOVB). Given this endorsement, I decided to do a taste-test of my own. I prepared the Banana Chocolate Chip recipe in Sweet Freedom and the recipe from the JOVB and lined them up for a blind-test test, by my family members.

The ladies, my Mom and I, both choose Ricki’s muffin as our favourite. The flavour and texture is everything I expect in a muffin. Lots of banana goodness with enough texture that you feel like you ate something truly satisfying.

The two boys on the tasting panel selected Colleen’s muffin. But they said, they liked it because it tasted like banana chocolate cake. I think they are right. If you want a sweet cake-like experience go for the recipe in JOVB, but if you really want a muffin, then pick up a copy of Sweet Freedom, cuz Ricki knows her muffins.Ricki has produced a fantastic collection of treats. Once you have your pantry stocked with the range of ingredients Ricki employs, the recipes come together extremely easily. I have found many new uses for chia and brown rice syrup. My only caution is that you make sure there is some room in your freezer. Because these sweets do not contain additives and preservatives you will want to invite friends over to share or store the extras in your freezer until your next craving.If you’re interested in trying Ricki’s recipes, check out her incredible blog. She has generously shared a lot of her recipes including an amazing Buttertart. I strongly suggest checking out how to purchase your own copy of Sweet Freedom (as an e-book or hardcopy).

3 Comments

  1. Posted July 31, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Lisa, thank you for this incredible review! I'm still smiling over the "muffin wars"! :)

  2. Posted August 3, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Great review Lisa! I'm dying to get this book – it's still out of stock on 'Book Depository' but am on list to get email when it's back!

  3. Posted August 5, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Hey Mary,
    I love your blog! I'm glad you enjoyed the review-maybe you should order the e-book so that you don't need to pay the international shipping costs.

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