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Showing 1-10 of 300 reviews(5 star).Show all reviews
133 of 137 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2007
This book is perfect for people who have either just transitioned to veganism or would like to in that it is chock full of recipes that result in food that doesn't taste radically different from what the average meat-eater is accustomed to. The photos are gorgeous, the writing is great and no matter how much you think you know about baking, I promise you'll learn something.

This is not a "health food" book, although the recipes are cholesterol-free, lactose-free and healthier than the average non-vegan recipes. Instead, it's a book that helps you understand how easy it is to bake without eggs and dairy.

My favorite part of the book is the section on milk, butter and egg substitutes, some of which do indeed make the recipes healthier (e.g., using ground flax seed and water rather than egg replacer, using almond milk rather than soy milk for those of us trying to minimize our intake of soy, or using date sugar rather than white sugar). There are loads of tips and "Food Lore," which are interesting trivia tidbits that provide a historical context for the food. Perhaps most helpful, however, are the "Troubleshooting" pages that list the most common problems and their likely origins. Finally, the Appendices will save you a lot of time because the author has already organized your pantry and utensils for you and tells you exactly what you will need (/need to buy), and she includes a glossary, lists of what to substitute if you don't have the pan that's called for, and most fascinating to me, a section on the difference between baking soda and baking powder (I always wondered about that).

I've made the corn bread, the pancakes, a couple of smoothies, almond milk and the chocolate mousse because I had the ingredients lying around, and I look forward to trying my hand at chocolate chip scones this week. Then off to the serious holiday stuff so I can bring something yummy to every party I attend--so that I have something to eat (and share) at every party I attend.
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115 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2007
I recently began listening to the author's podcast, which is how I heard about this book. It's really a gorgeous cookbook with many color photos and a terrific layout. I know there are people that criticize cookbooks with lots of photos as fluff, but trust me, this is one of the most comprehensive cookbooks I own. As others have said, there is a *ton* of information on vegan baking, as well as tips scattered throughout the book. The vast majority of ingredients are common and familiar. I am a new vegetarian and there was only one ingredient that was new to me. I was most impressed with the variety of desserts included. Another reviewer already listed the categories so I won't repeat them, but the list is really extensive. I just received the book yesterday so I'll have to amend this review once I've had a chance to do some baking (the lemon bars are at the top of my list), but I'm already hoping the author will create future cookbooks for all types of dishes!!

Update: I promised an update once I had tried some recipes--yum! I've made the chocolate chip cookies, the lemon bars, the apple pie with the flaky pie crust, the pumpkin pie with the pecan crust, the light lemon bundt cake, the blueberry orange bundt cake, the lemon cheesecake, favorite...the German apple cake. From the ingredients, the cake doesn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary, but it certainly is. I couldn't get enough. The chocolate cake (with her chocolate frosting) was the best I've had--moist, "chocolatey", light and fluffy.

In response to the comment on my original post, I wanted to add that while the quality of the recipes are obviously an important part of any cookbook, other characteristics are important too. Is it easy to read? Do the recipes use easy-to-find ingredients? Is the layout attractive? Am I, as the reader, given "bonus" information above and beyond the recipes? The answer to all of these for the Joy of Vegan Baking is yes!!
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2008
I am admittedly not vegan, although I admire the lifestyle choice. I discovered the world of vegan desserts because my children have several food allergies. I couldn't stand the thought of them not enjoying baked goods, particularly since I have always enjoyed baking. That said, I must admit that a lot of non-dairy, non-egg attempts at baking some classic desserts were awful, yielding what I thought was worthy of nothing but the trash can. This cookbook has changed that and opened my eyes to the possibilities of vegan baking. I even like some of the vegan versions better than the dairy laden versions. I am so surprised at the negative reviews about the lack of healthy ingredients - these are desserts people!! The best desserts usually rely on rich ingredients and it is already a vast improvement that there are no eggs or milk. If you want healthy sweets go for a granola bar or a bowl of fruit. The occasional dessert treat should be just that and it should be decadent enough to make it worth eating. It seems unfair to give a negative review based on a criteria that the author is not aspiring to. Great job Colleen!!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2007
Got it, love it, you've got to get this! If you want to add nutrition to your baked goods or if you support living compassionately towards animals, this cookbook provides easy to make recipes that will blow you away! Colleen includes traditional goodies- pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookies, etc. as well as some not so traditional recipes that definitely make this cookbook stand out from the rest. The raspberry jam oatmeal bars are a favorite!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2008
I bought this book almost as soon as it hit the shelves last fall. At the time, I didn't know anything about Colleen, her activism, her podcast, her website, etc. I just saw it at the bookstore & thought it was beautiful. The layout is so convenient, the pictures are gorgeous, and the instructions are easy-to-follow. I have been using this book quite often ever since buying it 6 months ago.

I have never made a recipe from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" that didn't turn out perfectly. A few of my favorites are: Butterscotch Pudding, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Date & Almond Butter Smoothie, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Focaccia (best bread I've ever had!), Soft Pretzels, Hot Chocolate, and the Light Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Sauce (I take the liberty of adding blueberries to this one). I always get rave reviews--all from my omnivore friends & family!

One feature that I really like in this book are the "Food Lore" snippets placed on some recipe pages. Here, Colleen explains the history of the dish, or shares an interesting factoid about it. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the recipes included in the book aren't ALL baked goods; smoothies, teas, puddings, and others are also present. Additionally--and this might be my favorite part, besides the actual recipes themselves--the Index is the most comprehensive & convenient I've ever seen! There are THREE indices: one general, one by season, and one by holiday/occasion. Even in the general index, the recipes are sorted by name, type, and ingredient... So if you have cinnamon (for instance) & want to see what you can make, see "Cinnamon" in the index & all recipes that use this as a primary (or secondary) ingredient will be listed. Same goes for peanut butter, chocolate, pumpkin, nutmeg, etc. It's fantastic!

I love that this book seems to be made with EVERYONE in mind: meat- and dairy-eaters, as well as the veg crowd. Some vegan cookbooks have recipes that I personally find delicious, but I can willingly admit that they are a little too "crunchy granola" or "earthy tasting" for most to whole-heartedly enjoy. Not so in this book!

Also worth noting... Some people think "vegan" = "health food," and that misconception has led to some negative reviews for this book. Just by virtue of these recipes being egg- & dairy-free, they're a bit healthier than other [non-veg] desserts. But vegans know how to indulge, too! :) For the most part (there are a few exceptions), the recipes in this book are not lowfat, whole grain, or low-calorie. But they're perfect for special occasions, or for sharing desserts with those picky (or skeptical) eaters in your life. The dishes are so comforting & familiar, and don't taste like the "vegan version" of an old favorite; they taste just like the egg- and dairy-laden versions, only better & cruelty-free! They're by no means "diet food," but traditional desserts aren't meant to be! And if you don't like using white sugar & flour (like me), replace some of it with the healthier alternative of your choosing... The recipes are flexible enough to lend themselves to some tweaking!

I also want to say that if you like this book, you'll love the author's podcast. "Vegetarian Food for Thought" is smart, insightful, supportive and SO INSPIRING! I want to tell everyone I know about it because it's THAT amazing.

I highly, highly recommend this book--for beginning cooks, advanced chefs, and everyone in-between!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2008
This is the best BAKING book I've ever seen, much less Vegan baking. Colleen has so many wonderful helpful tips for each recipe to make sure that they turn out the best possible. After taking a cooking class from her while in San Francisco, we couldn't WAIT for her cookbook to come out and now eagerly await her next cookbook. We tried to buy it right away but they were SOLD OUT instantly and we had to wait for the next order.
Colleen is an inspiration and a wonderful creative cook. I have made over 20 recipes from this book already and every one has turned out perfect and had rave reviews.
I used it for all of my holiday baking for non-vegan family and everyone loved it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2008
This is one of my very favorite cookbooks and perhaps the most consistently used. Every recipe I've tried is simple and delicious and a big hit at home and the office. I've taken a number of vegan treats to share with non-vegans and they've all been a huge hit and a pleasant surprise to those who thought vegans were only allowed to eat grass and hay. ;-)

The recipes are easy to follow and most of the ingredients can be found at your neighborhood grocery store. The book is also filled with nutritional information and gorgeous photographs that inspire you to get out the cookie sheet, muffin tins, or springform and get baking!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2008
This past weekend I tried out my first recipes from this book (Chocolate Cake page 72 & Buttercream Frosting page 231). I made the dessert for 4 non-vegetarians/vegans. I've tried to veganize baked goods myself in the past and have just not had a lot of luck with textures and consistencies. I bought this book because I hoped I'd be able to bake things my whole (non-veg) family would enjoy that I could feel good about making. Baking homemade birthday cakes is my absolute favorite thing to do in the kitchen.

I was so thrilled to see not only how easy this cake was but how great it tasted, looked and felt. The cake was moist and flavorful and the frosting was a huge hit with my extended family (lots of licking of beaters). I even got to lick the cake batter bowl which with non-vegan batter that contains eggs no one should really do but especially a pregnant lady. The batter was so good!

I see that some reviewers think this book is too basic or not experimental enough. But our family is on an EXTREMELY tight budget. Would I like to use all kinds of cool, hard-to-find ingredients in recipes? Sure. But the reality for us is that we have to keep our pantry stocked with the basics. To be able to bake vegan desserts that everyone likes on my budget is fantastic.

I can't wait to try out more recipes. I have about 1/3 of the pages folded down for that purpose. With a holiday this weekend, I'm sure I'll find something fun to make for a group of 10 non-veg folks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2008
I'd give this book five stars. Is it all healthy recipes? No. But it doesn't set out to be a healthy vegan baking book. The mission is to show that you can make tasty vegan baked goods without the use of animal products. It fits the bill.

So while I tend to opt for more healthier versions (not using white flour, etc.), I still think it's a great book to have in my cookbook collection.

There was one part though, where she referenced that there was no difference between white sugar and using something like pure maple syrup. This is wrong as there are minerals in pure maple syrup (zinc, maganese), making it a healthier sweetener.

I really like all the full color photos in the book and all the extra tidbits of information offered throughout. There are some great recipes included, something for everyone and I can substitute the white flour for spelt flour where desired. I also enjoy listening to Colleen's podcast. This is a good book to add to any cookbook collection.

Update: I've now made some of the recipes. Yum! They have been very good. I especially love the lemon bars! They were a big hit at a dinner I recently attended at a friend's house.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2007
Thank goodness for this book. As a vegan, people assume that means I want to eat healthy all the time... BUT I LOVE DESSERT!!! REAL gooey, buttery, rish dessert. Sure, fresh fruit or sorbet is fine, but what I really want are lemon bars, chocolate cake & the likes. Please no more vegan carob chip & date oat cakes.

I tried several recipes including the chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookie, pumpkin pie, Mexican wedding cookie, chocolate mint cookie, bluberrry bundt cake, oatmeal raisin cookie, chocolate peanut butter bar, coffee cake, & cornbread-- ALL were amazingly delicious! Even your non-vegan friends will not be able to tell the difference!

A 'must have' for any vegan with a sweet tooth.
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