Item: Rawsome Vegan Baking: An Un-cookbook for Raw, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Beautiful and Sinfully Sweet Cookies, Cakes, Bars and Cupcakes by Emily von Euw
Overall Impression: A beautiful yet fuss-free approach to raw desserts
From cakes to cupcakes, bites, bars, cookies, pies, tarts, pudding, and ice cream, Rawsome Vegan Baking is jam-packed with recipes from the creator of The Rawsome Vegan Life, Emily von Euw. You'll find a sweet for every mood and occasion — and you'll never have to turn on the oven.
Recipes I Made
Nut-free Creamy Coconut Cheesecake - p. 28
Totally Tahini Cups with Coffee Cream Filling - p. 109
Peanut Butter Cookies - p. 124
Amazing Avocado Chocolate Pudding - p. 172
As indicated in the title, all of the recipes are raw and vegan. There is no dairy, refined sugar, processed flour, eggs, or gluten. Commonly used ingredients include raw nuts, coconut, cacao, dates, liquid sweeteners (your choice), bananas, and oats or buckwheat groats. Unfortunately I wasn't able to try many of the recipes because I'm allergic or sensitive to cacao and carob, which figure prominently in the book.
How It Went
Von Euw emphasizes how easy it is to make raw desserts and I think her breezy, casual approach has advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side these recipes are really short, simple, and adaptable. You don't need to use any fancy techniques or much equipment beyond a good food processor (and possibly a blender) and your refrigerator or freezer. As for ingredients, the author says that nuts and seeds are generally interchangeable, carob can be substituted for cacao, and you can choose whichever liquid sweetener you like. One often assumes that raw food is complicated but von Euw makes it accessible.
However, I think some of the recipes could benefit from a little more detail or an extra step or two. For example, the author might have indicated the suggested springform pan size in all of the cake recipes (instead of an easily-overlooked sentence in the chapter intro). It would also be helpful for the recipes to include storage and "eat by" instructions. Many of the recipes simply instruct you to "blend all the ingredients until smooth." This seems efficient but when you're using ingredients like dates or shredded coconut, things can sometimes go more smoothly (pun intended) if you blend them separately first. This would have prevented issues like slightly chunky pudding and grainy cheesecake.
Speaking of the cheesecake, I liked the smart use of fresh young coconut in the Nut-free Creamy Coconut Cheesecake recipe. In addition to coconut, the recipe called for a surprising amount of lemon juice — I even reduced the amount called for and all of the testers were still startled by the tartness. Perhaps if it had been called "lemon coconut cake" the expectations would have been different. That said, it was delicious and tasted even better on the second day.
Chocolate peanut butter cups are one of the foods I've missed most since giving up chocolate and refined sugar, so I was really curious to try the Totally Tahini Cups with Coffee Cream Filling. (There is also a recipe for Chocolate Nut Butter Cups in this cookbook.) They took just a few minutes of active time and less than an hour in the fridge. And they were scrumptious! These were a great example the book's many recipes that can satisfy a sweet tooth with minimal effort and time.
Two final design notes: One, the book lays flat, which is always a welcome feature in a cookbook. Two, all of the recipes are accompanied by a color photograph. Readers should be aware, however, that the desserts are often styled with garnishes that are not included in the actual recipes.
In her friendly, supportive style, Emily von Euw offers a great foundation and a lot of variety for anyone who wants to learn how to make raw, gluten-free, and vegan desserts. The recipes are creative and striking and you can follow them exactly as written or make them your own.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image credits: Emily Ho)