Wednesday, May 29, 2013

cookbook review and giveaway :: whole grain vegan baking

I love sweets and comforting, carby baked goods as much as the next person – probably more. But like many people these days, I am trying to eat more healthily – especially since I've been working very hard at improving my running. Fortunately, thanks to Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Tami Noyes and Celine Steen, I can have my whole grain cake – and eat it, too! 

Caramel Nut Barley Squares
This pretty book is chockful of 100+ sweet and savory whole-grain recipes, punctuated with mouthwatering photos. In addition to being delicious, these treats fuel you with all-day energy instead of causing you to crash and burn like white flour baked goods.

Caramel Nut Barley Squares: Profile in yumminess
As I mentioned, I've been training for some upcoming races – running about 50 miles each week and doing lots of core work. I was delighted to discover was how incredibly energized I felt during my long runs after consuming the treats I made from this book. It's as if they have magical powers [Actually, they do have magical powers; they're called complex carbohydrates]. For example, last Saturday, I made the Caramel Nut Barley Squares, and then sampled 2 or 3.....okay, okay.....more like 4! Then, Sunday morning, I ran 15 miles at a decent clip. I felt like a stud. 

Spelt and Lemon Barley Cookie Bites
I'm something of a lemon-holic. Luckily for me, this book has plenty of lemony options. As you can see from the first photo, I flagged a bunch of recipes to try. But the Spelt and Barley Lemon Cookie Bites were among the first to catch my eye. These are scrumptious and just like the Caramel Barley Nut Squares, these provide tasty energy for a slow burn. Plus, they are small and quite portable. So if you are an endurance athlete, I highly recommend making a batch, wraping one or two in plastic and taking them along to fuel your long-distance workouts. So much tastier than an energy bar! 

Vegan Whole Grain Baking is a winner. I promise that if you buy this book, and your palate – and your pancreas – will thank you, not to mention your family and friends.

In summary
The good: A bevy of delectable, sweet and savory whole grain vegan recipes, most of which are super easy. Celine's rustic photos and quaint food styling. Great information on grains and techniques. Cute, fun-to-read headnotes. Clean, easy to read layout. Well-designed. A valid excuse to experiment in the bulk flour bins at Whole Foods.
The not-so-good: I was disappointed with the index. A bunch of recipes were not cross-referenced by ingredients – frustrating when trying to locate them later. Case in point, the Spelt and Barley Lemon Cookies which are listed under "B" for barley, and "S" for spelt, but are not cross-listed under "L" for lemon – which is the ingredient most mortals [like me] will remember. This is not Celine and Tami's fault. I know from experience that publishers usually pay freelances to compile the indices, and often, it's an afterthought or is cut short because they don't want to pay to print a few more pages. But thorough indices are essential in cookbooks: they are supposed to help readers, not frustrate them. End of rant. A minor inconvenience! [I don't know about you, but I just mark up anorexic indices with my own notes, anyway.]

The contest!
Fortunately for you, Tami and Celine are giving away a copy of Whole Grain Vegan Baking to one lucky reader! All you need to do is leave a comment and tell us your favorite whole grain flour. US Residents only, please. And if you comment, please make sure you leave an email address, blog or some other way I can reach you. Sounds like basic stuff but you'd be surprised at how many "Anonymouses" enter sans contact info.

Good luck. To tide you over until I announce the winner next week, here is Celine and Tami's fab recipe for Morning Boost Muesli.

Morning Boost Museli. Photo: Celine Steen
Morning Boost Muesli

We know, we know: There’s technically nothing baked about muesli, but this is a whole grain book after all, and we love muesli too much not to sneak in a recipe for it. Loaded with cracked wheat, wheat germ, heart-healthy spelt flakes, and pleasantly chewy kamut flakes, this breakfast will ensure you won’t get hungry again before lunch.
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • 53 g (1⁄3 cup) dry cracked wheat
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 240 g (1 cup) plain or vanilla-flavored vegan yogurt
  • 1 cup (235 ml) unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 24 g (1⁄4 cup) rolled spelt flakes
  • 24 g (1⁄4 cup) rolled kamut flakes
  • 20 g (2 heaping tablespoons) date crumbles or chopped dried cranberries
  • 25 g (1⁄4 cup) pecans, broken into smaller pieces
  • 16 g (2 tablespoons) wheat germ

Combine the water, cracked wheat, and salt in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover with a lid, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly while preparing the rest.

Combine yogurt, juice, spelt and kamut flakes, dates, pecans, and wheat germ in a large bowl. Stir the cooked cracked wheat into the muesli, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight to let the flakes plump up. Stir the muesli again before serving. Eventual leftovers will keep well for up to 2 days after preparation when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator; stir before serving.

Yield: 3 cups (855 g), 2 large to 4 more modest servings

Serving Suggestions & Variations

• For a fruitier muesli, add 248 g (11⁄2 cups) of fresh pineapple chunks, chopping them finely before stirring them in. Other fruits, such as fresh or thawed berries, would also be fantastic when added upon serving, to further increase the fiber and vitamin profile of this healthy breakfast.

Recipe note
Date crumbles are nuggets made from dried dates, with only oat flour added to prevent clumping. They’re ideal to use in baked goods because there’s no sticky chopping involved, but you can replace them with regular chopped dates without missing a beat.

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54 comments:

Chef Amber Shea said...

Good ol' whole wheat pastry flour is probably my all-time fave, though I also love spelt flour. I've been experimenting with sorghum flour recently, and it's fun too.

Lisa from western Mass / ljapple@crocker.com said...

I really like stone-ground whole wheat flour, the fresher the better. I also like garbanzo flour, although I do realize it's not a grain!

charj said...

I like spelt flour and I'm looking forward to trying other whole grain flours.

Esther Gyory said...

Standard whole wheat pastry and whole wheat all-purpose flour are the only two I've used! I'd love to have a good recipe book for experimenting with others...

The Peace Patch said...

I like playing with buckwheat flour. :)

Marlene aka LuckyDog said...

Whole wheat pastry flour for sure!

Michaela said...

My two favorites are whole wheat pastry flour and oat flour (spun fresh in my coffee grinder which I never use for coffee)--great flavors and texture

Julia P. said...

I love baking with whole wheat pastry flour. This book would definitely inspire me to expand my whole grain repetoire! And, those lemon cookies sound awesome!

Unknown said...

This book sounds fantastic. I am crossing my finger. I have been baking with a bread machine and I have enjoyed cooking with spelt flour. I know it is probably not a "whole grain" flour but I also like soy flour.
Here's my email in case I win (valeriaparejo.gmail.com)

Catalina said...

I love buckwheat flour. I try to sneak some into all sorts of things.

Sweet Orange Studio said...

I'm using more buckwheat these days and loving the "eggy" flavor of garbanzo flour. I want to experiment soon with almond flour made from the leftover bits after making almond milk.

T.M. said...

Right now I'm using alot of oat flour as I'm baking gluten-free for my mom. Thanks for the chance.
(email-lockesdaydreams@aol.com)

Cacodaemonia said...

I guess I'm old-fashioned in this regard: I love whole grain wheat flour. :)

Vegyogini said...

Thank you for the giveaway and recipe! My favorite whole-grain flour is spelt.

alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] said...

Thanks for such a great giveaway! I'm experimenting a bit more with whole grain flours and am particularly loving teff these days!

Casey Westbrook said...

This is an amazing giveaway! My stomach is grumbling mucho for that cookbook! I would like to say that my favorite whole grain flour is almond. It has its own unique flavor that I love to utilize

Sherry said...

That book looks amazing. I've not done any baking Vegan Style, but need to start trying, since my husband has gone plant-based with me now! (I've been vegetarian for most of my adult life). I like to use oat flour...hubby does not like the texture of traditional oatmeal, but I can sneak the flour as an additive into veggie loaves, etc, so he can still get the health benefits. ;-)

jesusscribbles said...

Yumm!!!! I actually love rye flour for baking!

tofu cat said...

I like whole grain oat flour, it gives a chewy texture to baked goods.
tofucat@aol.com

Jan Scholl said...

I don't have a favorite flour. Depending on my cravings, I can go for wheat, stone ground rye, and I found this new ultra flour at Costco that makes great bread.

Johanna said...

I seriously don't see any reason not bake with whole grains.

johanna@woodbury.org

Heather B said...

Mmm, I think either spelt or garbanzo bean flour!

Thanks for the giveaway!

http://olasow.blogspot.com/

Carla Anderson said...

I think white flour has been giving me some stomach troubles lately. Time to go more whole-grain!

sara said...

Those sweets look wonderful! I never thought to use barley in baking sweets. I like to use whole wheat pastry flour.

novascotia32 said...

I love oat flour .

Shanna said...

That book looks amazing. I'm currently loving oat flour!

Mina said...

Whole wheat pastry flour is my go to choice. I really would like to branch out, this book would really help!
Mina

*Autumn Tao* said...

Whole wheat pastry flour is my go to, but I've recently tried making my own oat flour. Curious to try more though!!

Thanks!

Jessica Caneal said...

I really like using spelt flour or oat flour (I just grind up some oats in the food processor). So excited about the giveaway!

Millie said...

it worked Dynise...okay I would love to be part of this giveaway...yay for whole grains.

http://nuestracena-vegancuisine.blogspot.com

http://frugaliciouschick.blogspot.com

GlutenFreeHappyTummy said...

looks like a fabulous cookbook! my fav flour is almond!

Micah Thompson said...

I love great river organic milling whole wheat flour

sarah said...

Versatile and available everywhere - all-purpose whole wheat flour has always been my favorite!

echowoman said...

I love teff flour...it has protein and iron and you can replace 1/4 to 1/2 of white flour in recipes and it works great.

Becky said...

Oat flour- tasty and fairly versatile!

Eva said...

I love rye flour! And whole wheat pastry flour, and spelt flour... and all the flours I've ever tried???!

Steph! said...

Definitely buckwheat or oat flour!

Madeleine Teacup said...

I've been experimenting with buckwheat flour lately! And I learned it is related to rhubarb, which is awesome.

dawn k said...

If I have to pick - probably Whole Wheat Pastry Flour is my favorite to use for many things!

Bethany said...

I like spelt flour...especially spelt pretzels,yum!

Vada said...

I guess we are kind of boring at my house, using mainly whole wheat flour, but then sometimes the whole wheat pastry flour. Oh, and we did buy brown rice flour to use in gravies! My daughter and I have been working our way through your breakfast recipes, making one each Sunday for brunch and they are delicious (last week was Blueberry Grunt)! I too am a huge fan of anything lemon!

panda with cookie said...

Spelt flour! So good in a savoury pie crust.

Lois said...

Due to a variety of food intolerances, I can no longer use wheat, rye or barley. So I've been experimenting with sorghum, brown rice, buckwheat, teff, millet, quinoa and chick pea flours, frequently combining them into gluten free flour blends. Some experiments have been more successful than others!

lagram@verizon.net

Val Jackson said...

This book looks lovely, I love their sandwich book so I have my fingers crossed! My favorite whole grain flour is probably spelt, I love its nutty flavor and it's easy to swap it in place of whole wheat flour.

michelle P said...

I love to cook with whole wheat pastry flour. It usually works great in most goodie recipes. I would love this book. zula154@yahoo.com

L. Tucker said...

Depending on what I am making, I use whole wheat pastry and bread flours. I would love to use other kinds, but I am rather clueless as to how to incorporate them successfully into my baking. This book would really help me to diversify!
drltucker@gmail.com

Sherry said...

Spelt for whole grain and I'm also into almond and hazelnut flours, too!

Jared Bigman said...

I really like the nuttiness from spelt flour and like to blend it with whole-wheat pastry flour. I imagine this cookbook would help me break out of that!

ez said...

I like teff!

sydney sin said...

I really love oat flour, its easy to make and yummy to eat!

sydney sin said...

sydneysinsation@gmail.com

Jennifer K said...

Is the contest still on? I like spelt flour

foodandmen said...

I'm sure you've already done the drawing, but just in case you've put off doing it for six weeks I'm a huge fan of oat and buckwheat flours! Just my $0.02. Lovely blog btw- I stumbled upon you through "Have Cake, Will Travel." In case you would like to cruise by my blog or if by some weird spin of luck no one has yet claimed this lovely cookbook- I can be reached at www.foodandmen.com. Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Niki T. said...

Amazing giveaway! My favorite is stone ground whole wheat flour.

My email is jnturley@yahoo.com

Thank for the opportunity!