As a longtime reader of Hannah's blog, Bittersweet and owner of her previous baked-good focused cookbooks, I had high expectations for this vegan author's latest project. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was floored by Hannah's beautiful images that accompany every item and the seasonal layout of about one hundred inventive, inspired recipes. I appreciate the seasonal aspect because I believe the time of year should dictate what and how we eat. Another noteworthy aspect of the book is Hannah's recipe–writing style. She is very thorough and direct, so even if you are a novice baker, by following Hannah's explicit instructions, you will succeed. Hannah's vegan recipes encompass all eaters, all recipes are vegan, and many are gluten–free and low in fat. It's passionate, joyful, vegan folks like Hannah that inspire us to eat healthier and more mindfully. Most important, great food speaks to all — vegan or non–vegan alike!
One of my favorite recipes from this book is from the Spring section, "Spring Fling Muffins." Loaded with fresh strawberries, rhubarb and other ingredients I had on hand, I got to work. The resulting muffins, which I cooked in mini muffin tins, were full of fruity sweet/tartness and subtle notes of wheat and oat. These muffins are great on the reheat and have jammy centers due to the fruit being baked into the batter. They need no adornment, but aren't hurt by a smear of butter or Earth Balance (keeping them vegan). The slight sweetness and crunch of the Turbinado sugar and oats as a topping is lovely and the tender crumb is just right. I recommend this recipe for a weekend brunch, picnic or afternoon tea party. Catch this recipe while rhubarb is still in season!
Spring Fling Muffins makes 12 muffins (adapted from Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season by Hannah Kaminsky) 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk) 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups finely diced fresh rhubarb 1 cup chopped strawberries 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon salt for the oat topping: 3 tablespoons rolled oats 3 tablespoons Turbinado sugar Preheat oven to 400°. Grease muffin tins or line with cupcake liners, then set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the non-dairy milk, vinegar, sugars, oil and vanilla, stirring until homogenous. In another bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Mix in the rhubarb and strawberries into this dry mixture, tossing to coat the produce with a light dusting of flour mixture. This helps the fruit stay at the center of the muffin, instead of sinking to the bottom (it really works!). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Distribute the batter evenly into the muffin tins and top them with a sprinkle of Turbinado sugar and oats. Bake for 20-25 minutes (depending on the size of muffin pan you use), until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn the muffins out onto a wire rack.
• Visit Hannah's Blog: Bitter Sweet • Check out Hannah's new cookbook: Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season Related: Breakfast with a Blogger: Peanut Butter Ginger Muffins from Hannah of Bitter Sweet (Images: Leela Cyd Ross, cookbook cover courtesy of Hannah Kaminsky and Skyhorse Publishing)