For some, baking is a therapeutic process of rolling dough and stirring batter. Others, simply enjoy sampling the sweet results. But, for a select few, baking is much like a competitive sport. Achieving that perfect cookie texture, light croissant flakiness or rich brownie fudginess is a challenge to be conquered. Lucky for all of us…Kris Holechek is a vegan baking olympian, who continues to strive for culinary gold.
Kris adopted a vegan lifestyle a number of years ago after being influenced by Eastern philosophy and learning more about the industrial food system. When she decided to revamp her diet and exclude all animal products, being deprived of her favourite baked goods was not an option. I followed her experiments online through her first blog and her self-published book “Damn Tasty”. This past year she launched a new site nomnomnom
and released the fantastic vegan baking resource, The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes
. With the holidays just around the corner, I want to introduce you all to this reliable source of fail-safe recipes to impress your guests, your family and your tummy. Go now, grab a copy and get into your kitchen.
The hardest thing with a book like this is knowing where to start. Kris provides a vast array of baking options from the standard muffins, cookies and cakes to incredible pastries and hearty, savoury breads. The book even contains recipes that can be created using an easy bake oven (in case that is on your wish list this year) or a toaster oven. This is the first vegan baking book I’ve seen that really explores the full range of baking possibilities (read: pastries galore).
Here are some of the sweet delights I have tried:
Oatmeal Earth Bars
(with chocolate chips) this recipe employs leftover oatmeal to create a substantial, satisfying snack.
Peanut butter and Jelly bars, a shortbread-like peanut buttery crust topped with sweet jelly spread. Now, that’s an after school (or work) treat to look forward to.
Best Banana Bread (as muffins with chocolate chips), the secret is the brown sugar. It provide a deep, rich sweetness that you can still taste in your dreams.
I also made:
Bettah Chettah Biscuits-I wish I had grabbed a photo. These biscuits are light in texture but have the most incredible flavour from the addition of miso and nutritional yeast. Dipped into a big, steamy bowl of soup, these biscuits will quickly become a seasonal staple.
Better-Than Breadsticks-oh…garlicy, salty bread. Is there anything more satisfying on a cold, grey evening. There is a certain Italian restaurant chain that built and entire business on this premise. Kris borrows the flavour profile but skips the cholesterol.
Pumpkin Cinn-A-Zag Bread- I gifted this sweet, spicy treat. It is so impressive with the zig zag of cinnamon in the centre.
These recipes just mark my initial venture into the vast recipe collection Kris has provided. I look forward to spending a lazy weekend playing with laminated doughs, yeasted breads and vegan danishes. I may find myself with more frequent visits from friends once they get a whif of what Kris has inspired in my kitchen.
Last week, I was able to interview Kris for the Toronto Vegetarian Podcast. Check out the interview and get lots of tips and tricks from the master herself.