Friday, October 11, 2013

Cookbook review: Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes

In seeking relief from my IBS and at the request of my doctor, this summer I underwent some elimination from my diet, starting with dairy. Now anyone who knows me knows how much I love cheese and ice cream, so my two weeks of no dairy was pretty rough.

During that time, I came across Whole Grain Vegan Baking at the library and decided to give some of the recipes a try. I admit, the IDEA of being vegan is better than the actual carrying out of such a lifestyle. I have no willpower when it comes to that sort of thing. But books like Whole Grain Vegan Baking make the carrying out part a little less intimidating (though I have no plans to become vegan in the near future, I am still looking for more vegetarian/vegan recipes to make my animal product footprint less significant).

The recipes, pictures, and ingredients used in this book not only make these baked goods sound acceptable, but they even kinda sorta sound delicious too. I tried two recipes from this book, one was a hit and one was a miss, but the hit got me thinking that I will continue to attempt more vegan baking in the future.

The layout of Whole Grain Vegan Baking is very simple, attractive, and organized well. I'd say if you're thinking of giving vegan baking a go, this book would be a good place to start.

My cookies with some modified ingredients
The following recipe was so good, I'm planning on making it one of my go-to baking recipes, not just vegan baking, but baking in general. The inclusion of the Sriacha and Chinese five-spice powder gives this cookie such a unique flavor and spicy undertone.

I modified this recipe by not using oat flour (I substituted the oat flour for all amaranth -- well, I did also use the whole wheat flour) and instead of peanut butter I used almond butter. Based on the picture in the cookbook, my cookies had a different texture (more chewy and cakey than crumbly), but they still came out delicious.

If you're looking to adopt a vegan lifestyle or you're like me and you want to lessen your animal product footprint, or heck, you just like baking and want to try something different, I highly recommend Whole Grain Vegan Baking. This cookbook went from trying it by checking it out at the library to owning my own copy. 

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
from Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes

1/2 cup smooth or crunchy natural peanut butter
1/4 cup organic turbinado sugar or organic evaporated cane juice
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon amaranth flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 to 3 teaspoons vegan milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Combine peanut butter, sugar, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and Sriacha in a medium bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine chocolate chips, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, peanut butter mixture and adding the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until a cohesive dough forms.

Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized mounds and press down slightly.

Bake cookies 15-17 minutes or until the bottoms are browned. Let cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet because the cookies might break if moved too soon.

Yield: 12 cookies

Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes
Published: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Pages: 178
Genre:Vegetarian/Vegan Cooking
Audience: Adults
Disclosure: Library and Purchased Copy


  1. Oh thanks for this review. I have a couple of vegan friends and I love the idea of having a source of baked-goods recipes for them.

  2. I have seen chili powder in chocolate cookies, but never sriracha in peanut butter cookies! Interesting, but probably not for me.

  3. What an interesting recipe. I've had peanut butter in recipes with spicy elements (I understood it was a common flavor combination in some African countries), but not Chinese 5 Spice. I think I'd like these!

  4. Very different. I would love the spices in it! How is the exclusion of diary helping with the IBS?

  5. I have never seen a cookie recipe with Sriacha.....informative post.

  6. I see why the PB cookie recipe has "Surprise" in the title! My daughter tells me Low-FODMAP is the next food trend (after gluten-free peters out) and I'm interested in trying it to see if I might have more energy on it. The low-FODMAP diet for people with IBS and other digestive issues like bloating, so it might be worth trying. It seems a lot easier than veganism, at least!

  7. Another wonderful vegan cookbook; that makes two this weekend.

  8. Sounds like a very worthy cookbook...

  9. Lots of Vegan options in this weekends round-up! The sriracha sounds like such an unusual addition to these cookies!!

  10. Thanks for the review. I don't plan to become vegetarian or vegan but definitely want to incorporate more of these kinds of recipes in my life. I am also a big baker so this really appeals to me.

  11. Interested in the 5 spice powder in the cookies. Never heard of that spice. Had fun. Have a nice weekend.