Sweet Utopia is a vegan baking book. Another one, you might say. Yes another one. But also one with a special twist. (And seriously, can there ever be too many baking books? No.) When I first opened the book, there were so many recipes that caught my attention. What I liked most is the fact that the author includes some Eastern European recipes like a poppy-seed roll and steamed fruit dumplings. They reminded me of treats I can find in my local bakeries. I am very exited about the fact that I now have access to a vegan version that I can easily make myself.
The book features 130 recipes for all occasions. Maybe you are just looking for a basic chocolate chip cookie or a muffin recipe? Or you want something very special like a cashew-coconut-lemon roll cake, a chocolate sausage, or a carrot ginger pudding? It’s all here. Sharon Valencik includes tips on how to stock your pantry so that you can start right away. And there is a chapter on baking advice and conversion which is very helpful if you are new to baking or used to baking with metric measurements.
I bookmarked many, many recipes in Sweet Utopia. It was so hard to decide where to start because everything sounded so good! So I started with something very easy, the Blueberry-Lemon Scones.
These are perfect if you are in a hurry, because it takes about five minutes until you can transfer these scones into the oven. I had two small issues though. There was no description about how the batter should have been like and I felt that mine was way too wet. After I added an additional 1/4 cup flour, I felt more comfortable. The author suggests to use fresh or frozen blueberries. I chose frozen and most of my scones came out completely blue. Next time I’d use fresh berries to avoid this. Tastewise these were great. The texture was amazingly light and fluffy. And I love the blueberry and lemon flavour combination.
The next recipe I tried were the Ultimate Brownies, which were described as rich, gooey, and fudgy. Unfortunately I didn’t have any luck with these. I made them twice and both times these came out hard as a rock. And when I write rock I mean it. Maybe you can see it in the picture, I could have built a house with these. I don’t think it is the recipe’s fault though. I must have made something wrong and I didn’t figure out what it was yet. Check out Amanda’s blog, she has had much more luck with these.
The last recipe I tried made up for my brownie fail completely. I made the Mocha Almond Chippers, which were awesome! These are so easy to make and apparently they are fool-proof. Because I am the kind of person who burns cookies or whose cookies turn into one gigantic baking sheet mess.
All my coworkers raved about these and couldn’t stop munching on them. And I agree that these are delicious and have a perfect crispy texture. The recipe calls for a decent amount of coffee granules and that is great. It’s not only that you can taste it, one of my coworkers said, she had a caffeine energy boost from these. If that isn#t hte best excuse ever to eat a cookie.
I have the book publishing company’s permission to share this amazing recipe with you. So here you are:
Mocha-Almond Chippers (From Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik)
yield about 24 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegan butter substitute, slightly softened but not at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soymilk
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 cup nondairy chocolate chips
3/4 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350°F and oil three baking sheets. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a separate large bowl, combine vegan butter substitute, granulated sugar, and brown sugar and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Beat in soy milk, coffee granules, vanilla, and vinegar. Add flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds.
Form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and arrange them on prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Press down lightly on each ball so the top is flattened. bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to lightly brown. Make sure you do not overbake these cookies or they will be hard, not chewy. Let cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely. Store in a sealed container.
Enjoy (the cookies and the book)!