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November 3, 2010

Vegan MoFo #3: More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally

One of the newest cookbooks to grace my book shelf is Fran Costigan's More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally. I have spent the last month baking through several recipes, and this cookbook is rapidly becoming my favorite dessert cookbook. Fran uses natural, organic, minimally processed ingredients in her baking, and that is something I feel good about. Her recipes are healthier than the average dessert, but they certainly don't taste like health food. There is absolutely no sacrifice in taste in these delicious desserts.

Banana Walnut Bread
The first recipe that I tried is the Banana Walnut Bread. It grabbed my attention because it is 100% maple sweetened and there is only 3 tablespoons of oil in a loaf. The results were fantastic, this bread certainly isn't missing anything without the sugar and extra fat. I have tried other vegan banana breads, but this is the first one I really love.

Pumpkin Pecan Bread
After the pleasing results with the Banana Walnut Bread, I decided to try another bread. My next choice was the very season-appropriate, Pumpkin Pecan Bread. This recipe again is low on oil and sugar. There is a bit of natural cane sugar in this recipe, but it is mostly sweetened by maple. This bread is over the top delicious. I shared this loaf with friends and everyone was totally gaga over it. As far as I am concerned the search for my favorite vegan pumpkin bread is over.

Famous Jam Dots and Peanut Butter Cookies
Trying out a few of Fran's cookie recipes was definitely in order, seeing that I am a cookie monster addict and all. Her low-fat Peanut Butter Cookies were up first. The typical peanut butter cookie recipe has a couple of sticks of butter in it, but Fran realized that with the fat content of peanut butter there is actually very little added fat needed. I was skeptical, but the proof is in the cookie! This cookie has the perfect chewy texture and great rich flavor, all without that kick-in-the-gut feeling that often comes from eating super buttery cookies. I am starting to feel like a broken record by saying so, but this is now my go-to recipe for peanut butter cookies, another winner!

Next up, Famous Jam Dots. These cookies are Fran's adaptation of the recipe made famous by the Natural Gourmet Institute of Food and Health. Apparently people have been known to enroll for classes there after one taste of this cookie! How about that for an endorsement? I noticed right away that this recipe is yet another that is 100% maple sweetened. It is a bit heavier on oil than the rest of her cookie recipes, but even still they are not overly rich. The cookie is nutty and oatty with a nice firm bite, finished off with a sweet 100% fruit jam center. I chose apricot and raspberry for this batch, which were both excellent. Now for the best part, by permission of the publisher I am able to share this awesome recipe with you. I hope you try these soon!

Famous Jam dots
Famous Jam Dots
from More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally by Fran Costigan
(published by permission of BookPubCo.)

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup pecans
1-1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup all-fruit jam (any flavor)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and another rack above it. Preheat to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread the oats on one of the prepared sheets and the pecans on the other. Toast each pan in the oven for 6 minutes. Cool completely, leaving the parchment on the baking sheets for baking the cookies. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Put the oats in a blender or food processor, and process until fine. Add the pecans and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour into a medium bowl and add the pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Whisk the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla and almond extracts in a small bowl until well blended. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough holds together when squeezed.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Use your little finger to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon jam in each indentation.

Bake for 15 to 16 minutes, or until the cookies are light brown on the bottom. Set the baking sheets on racks and cool for 3 minutes, until the cookies are firm enough to move. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Keep the cookies at room temperature in a covered container or a zipper-lock plastic bag for two days.

What are your favorite More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally recipes? I have loved everything I have made, and I'm having a hard time deciding what to make next!

BookPubCo is giving away vegan dessert cookbooks during the month of November, click the logo below to enter!


  1. Wow! I'm impressed! I'll have to check out that cookbook for myself soon.

  2. I love thumbprint cookies! I've made some peanut-butter and jam ones from Colleen Patrick Goudreau that are very tasty!

    That bread looks so delicious and moist! Nice job!

  3. I don't have that one yet, but everything looks so delicious! I'm *such* a sucker for sweets and baked goods!

  4. Love banana breads and cookies. I just had breakfast, but could totally go for one of those PB cookies I spot on that plate ;-)

  5. Oh my. Thank you for posting the cookie recipe! Those look so good.

  6. Yep, Ill have one of each of those please! :)

  7. Thank you so much for posting this wonderful review and mouthwatering photos for VeganMoFo! I would have there's nothing ordinary about you! I am honored that you like my recipes and so very happy that you appreciate the maple, whole wheat pastry flour and other wholesome ingredients. My theory and practice is that Vegan Desserts must taste excellent and be made with wholesome ingredients too. Still, we need to note that all desserts are treats. I make a lot of cakes, but am partial to cookies! I have almost enough bananas saved up to make 2 loaves of this loaf too. YOu have inspired me. Thank you so much.
    Wishing you happy cakes!

  8. I have been wanting to buy Ms. Costigan's book! On a budget but I am glad you posted a recipe! Thanks! As predicted, her recipes sounds lovely!

  9. Sarah, you are torturing me here! I want to sample them all right now. *slurp*


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