Foodie Fridays: Chloe’s Vegan Desserts
As I type these words I’m munching on a cinnamon walnut Blondie, and thinking of the words my coworkers said when I handed over an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie I made the other day – I’d never guess it was vegan. The number of times I and the folks I bake / cook for have said that has been innumerable over the last eight months, and the reason? Well I guess I owe it to one of those bookseller recommendation tools. They kept on suggesting Chloe Coscarelli’s 2012 cookbook debut, Chloe’s Kitchen, based on other purchases I made. I finally decided to take the book out from my local library to give it a test drive, and after two recipes – Tomato Basil Soup and Crispy Orange Tofu – I was hooked, and actually ordered my copy of the book before my library loaner had to go back. Something about Chef Chloe’s recipe craftmanship speaks to my stomach – and everyone around me – as I’ve literally not made a bad recipe from her debut book, and actually made several of them for multiple occasions and guests.
Anyway, I always really wanted to ‘share’ Chloe with you guys but felt like I was a bit behind on the times in promoting her original cookbook…so you can imagine my delight when I learned she was busy in the kitchen again this past year whipping up a cookbook exclusively on what the girl knows best: Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. See, Chloe actually won the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, marking her as the first Vegan chef ever to take home a reality show-type prize. And the most common refrain when it came to her concoctions? “I can’t believe this is vegan.”
Because for serious guys, I’m not kidding when I say her recipes are some of the best food – omnivore or vegan – I’ve ever made. It’s not even a question of not ‘tasting like vegan’ food, it’s a bizarre phenomena where you simply won’t believe it’s homemade. I’m talking restaurant-quality recipes that are impossibly simple to make, often with very basic ingredients you’ve probably already got in your pantry / fridge (particularly if you are already a vegan-type like myself). And honestly? The recipes are all droolworthy – from Tiramisu Pancakes to Banana Blueberry Cake with Lemon Buttercream to Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dish that doesn’t appeal to your sweet tooth. The book covers everything from the classics (cookies, cakes, and cupcakes) to some slightly off the beaten path collections (Dessert for Breakfast, Spoon Desserts, or Drink Up! anyone?) I absolutely devoured a batch of lightly glazed Lemon Poppyseed Muffins this past weekend for brunch, and followed it up with a batch of truly Canadian Maple Sandwich Cookies.
Beyond the fact Chloe’s recipes have made me – a decent cook – into something of a gourmand in the kitchen, I also really appreciate the simplicity of them, like these Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies, whose most ‘exotic’ ingredient is vegan margarine (available at virtually any major grocery store). As I mentioned, ingredient sourcing? A total snap. Specialty equipment? If you’ve baked something before, you’ll be fine. Looking for gluten-free or soy-free alternatives? Every recipe has built-in options to make customizing the recipe beyond easy (in fact, all of the recipes are soy-free to begin with). Plus her books feature tons of photos which makes it easy for you to match the tasty treats in your oven to the cookbook concoctions before you. But honestly, I can genuinely and wholeheartedly say I don’t even care about the look of anything I’ve made from her books at this point – I know the taste will be amazing and it literally always is.
To that end, here’s the final reason why I’m so excited to introduce you to Chloe Coscarelli: I’ve actually given her first cookbook as a gift! Honestly whether you’re an avid cook or simply love to bake, you’ll be wowed by the quality and ease of the recipes in these cookbooks. I would easily buy multiple copies of either title for everyone on my list – as a fun alternative to traditional baking (with out-there recipes you probably haven’t dreamed up yet) or as a delicious way to tackle Meatless Mondays. Chloe’s Vegan Desserts retails for $22, although you can buy it online for a little less. Ditto on her first book,Chloe’s Kitchen.
I really can’t say enough good things about Chef Chloe – and strongly encourage you to at least give the books a test spin from your library, like I did. In the meantime, I’ve got two copies of Chloe’s Vegan Desserts to give away to two of you. Here’s how to enter:
1) Leave a comment by March 9th with what your favourite dessert is and who you’d gift this cookbook to (or if you’d keep it) if you won!
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around March 10th to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Like Chef Chloe on Facebook and leave a comment with why you’re excited to try her new cookbook – Chloe’s Vegan Desserts!