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December 30, 2009

My Sweet Vegan Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas Eve
when all through the house
not a creature was stirring..
No wait, I was stirring.. stirring, blending, and baking like mad!

Well, I should not make it sound like such a ravenous affair. It was actually a nice, relaxing evening of baking. It was a great way to pass the time as I anxiously awaited the two days of festivities that would begin the next morning. It was also a great opportunity to try out some of the recipes from my shiny new copy of My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky. The book boasts 184 gorgeous full color glossy pages of one tempting dairy-free dessert after another. I had far too many recipes bookmarked, but I managed to narrow it down to four very Christmas-party-appropriate desserts.

My first choice was the Pumpkin Pecan Pie. I love pumpkin pies, and I love pecan pies, and I've even tried a few pumpkin pecan pies and loved those too. There are several things that make this version special and different from any I have tried in the past. First, of course, it is dairy-free. This recipe utilizes vegan margarine and soy creamer, and you would never miss their dairy counterparts in the finished product.

Another unique and important part of this pie is the crust, which is made with whole wheat pastry flour. Here is where I should let you know that I am a crust girl, it has always been my favorite part of the pie. I just don't understand why some people eat the fillings from a slice of pie and leave the crust behind.. especially the rim, that is the perfect ending to a good slice of pie! All that being said, I believe that I am qualified to declare this pie crust delicious. I plan on borrowing this crust recipe and trying other fillings in the future.

Finally, the icing on the cake, so to speak, the pumpkin creme! This is the most visually enticing aspect of photo that appears in the book, displayed in small dollops around the edge of the pie. My creme did not firm up enough to pipe it around the edge, so I drizzled it instead. Not nearly as pretty, but just as delicious. The flavor is the finishing touch that really ties it all together.

Up next, and the favorite of the bunch, Five-Minute Coconut Fudge. It's no wonder this one was my personal favorite, it doesn't involve the oven, it has a short list of ingredients (which includes both shredded coconut and coconut milk!), and it comes together in no time. Based on it getting snatched up the quickest it was the favorite of everyone else as well. I am already working on a plan to justify making another batch. I could have a whole pan of fudge at home just for me, no?

I also made the Cherry Chocolate Truffles. You may notice a theme forming: no baking involved, short list of ingredients, and quick to make! And you thought that making four desserts in one evening was awfully ambitious, didn't you? I was able to make these truffles and the fudge in between the baking of the two main desserts. The truffles were a welcome addition to the lot. They were creamy, rich, and a little bit tart. I've never made truffles before, so this was a lot of fun!

So right about now you might have a toothache just looking at all of these sweet yummies. Enter: Apple Spice Cake. This cake has no added sugar, it is completely sweetened by the fruit within. This low-guilt dessert features all sorts of good things like apples, raisins, walnuts, oats, and whole wheat pastry flour. The cake is assembled with a generous helping of apple butter spread between the two layers in place of frosting. This dessert was well received at Christmas Eve dinner, and the leftovers were great at breakfast Christmas morning. I enjoyed it so much at breakfast that I am thinking about adapting this recipe into a muffin version.

Hannah came up with this cake for her Grandmother, who is diabetic, so that they could celebrate her birthday without sacrificing the dessert. (What a sweety!) I should mention, too, that in the book each recipe is preceded by a paragraph introducing it, and this is where you get to know Hannah better, and learn about the things that inspired each recipe. And since Hannah is so darn charming, naturally her cookbook is as well.

I would say that my first crack at My Sweet Vegan was a successful one. Did I mention that I've never done any vegan baking before? It is very encouraging to know that giving up dairy doesn't mean giving up tasty desserts!

Here are some of the other desserts from My Sweet Vegan that I bookmarked for future baking:
Graham Flour Fig Scones
Strawberry Love Muffins
Black and Whites
Black Bottom Blondies
Maple Pistachio Cremes
Peanut Butter Bombs
Bananas Foster Cake
Lemon-Lime Sunshine Bundt
Poppyseed Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Cashew Creme Pear Tart
Sesame Chews

Hope you and yours had as sweet of a Christmas as mine!


  1. your christmas eve desserts looks to die for.

  2. 5 minute coconut fudge? SOLD! Thanks for introducing me to this book!

  3. Your desserts look amazing!! I made vegan truffles for the first time this year also. Quick, easy-only 4 ingredients in the ones I made, and no baking. They went over really well.
    Hope you have a very Happy New Year!

  4. all sounds delicious - I have seen some great food on hannah's blog so am not surprised to hear the book is excellent - love the non-baking truffles and fudge - mmmmmm and no oven involved

  5. Oh,Sarah! Your Christmas Eve desserts look and sound truly amazing! I'm so impressed with all these yummy desserts you made. Hannah is so amazing, isn't she?

    Hope you have a wonderful New Year!

  6. Wow! Your baking extravaganza looks brilliant. I must get that book because the coconut fudge is calling my name. 5 minutes!? Amazing.

  7. Ooohhh...they all look yummy:)
    I might have to get that book!!
    Take care and have a wonderful New Year:)

  8. I'm glad your vegan baking excursion was a success! I enjoy baking vegan desserts sometimes. For me, though, because I'm not vegan or even vegetarian, I enjoy the challenge of baking vegan and stepping out of my comfort zone.

    And I could totally go for some of that fudge right about now.

  9. i saw this book the other day and i was so tempted to buy it. everything you made looks great!

  10. Yay, I'm so glad you're enjoying the book thus far! Everything does look wonderful- I'm just sorry that the pumpkin creme on the pie didn't quite set up properly. I'll have to look into that recipe again.

    Thanks for your review, and best wishes for the New Year! :)

  11. Yummmm! Looks like your dessert test phase went quite well. Maybe I will have to pick up Hannah's book after all...


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