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Holy Mother of God—Hannah Kaminsky’s a Friggin’ Genius!

Yeah, I ate that.

Yeah, I ate that.

I’m not kidding. I made three of the desserts from Hannah Kaminsky’s new cookbook, My Sweet Vegan, for friends who came over on Sunday. And all I can say is…

Oh. My. God!

The smells! The tastes! The presentation! My pals were so impressed that when they finally stopped eating, they all ran out to get their own copies.

Here’s what caused the commotion:

  • Coffee Break Shortbread
  • Zesty Cranberry Crumb Muffins
  • Triple Threat Chocolate “Cheese” Cake

I didn’t do everything exactly the way HK suggests—for instance, I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour in the cookies and muffins—but no matter. It all came out scrumptious.

Coffee Break Shortbread
Of everything I made, the Coffee Break cookies were the simplest, both ingredients- and energy-wise. And despite the fact that I used gluten-free flour and did all of the mixing and dough work by hand, they came out amazing: not too sweet, and with a light coffee taste (thanks to instant coffee powder). The batter was so delicious that I kept licking my fingers; if I hadn’t forced myself to stop, there wouldn’t have been enough to make the cookies. And the smell while they were in the oven—wow! I have to admit, I did overcook them a little (I’m still adjusting to a new oven), but everyone loved them. Success story #1!

Zesty Cranberry Crumb Muffins
I’m not a fan of muffins with berries in them, but these were unbelievable! Again I used gf flour; I also used EdenBlend Rice & Soy Beverage instead of soymilk. After I rehydrated the cranberries with OJ and combined the other batter ingredients, it was time to add the orange zest. This was my least favorite task: grating the damn orange peel. (Actually, it didn’t take that long. But if a fairy bearing orange zest appears the next time I make these muffins, I won’t complain.) Anyway, the zest made the batter incredibly aromatic. And not surprisingly, the batter tasted as good as it smelled. (That always bodes well for the finished product.) Of course, my “crumbly” topping was wetter than it should have been, so it melted into the muffins instead of staying solid and on top, and the muffin centers imploded for some reason. But in the end none of it mattered; the muffins still looked great, and they tasted even better. I cannot wait to make these babies again!

Triple Threat Chocolate “Cheese” Cake
All of the My Sweet Vegan desserts were hits, but this is the one that sent everyone over the edge. After making the graham cracker crust, I moved onto the filling—mmm, rich, chocolate-tofu-cream cheese filling. Three layers of rich, chocolate-tofu-cream cheese filling, to be exact. The trick: Once the chocolate is melted (I don’t have a microwave, so I made a double boiler out of a bowl and a saucepan), you add some of the tofu-cream cheese mixture to it and spread that over the crust. Then you add more of the t-cc to the chocolate, which gives you a paler second layer, and spread that over the first one. Then you do it all over again. The finishing touch is yet another melted-chocolate mixture drizzled over the top. Gorgeous! Sophisticated! And most important, beyond delicious! My friends were speechless.

So to recap, Hannah Kaminsky is a friggin’ genius! And a fantastic photographer, too: She took every one of the photos in MSV herself. (The pic of the Triple Threat Chocolate “Cheese” Cake above is hers.) Somewhere in between, she even finds time to blog (at My Sweet Vegan and Bittersweet Blog). Oh, and did I mention that she finished My Sweet Vegan before she’d even started college and that she’s already working on cookbook #2???

Yeah, my friends hate her too. But I promise, as soon as you start using MSV, your hatred will turn to gratitude. And be sure to share the love. A very decidedly unvegan colleague practically hugged the life out of me after I shared a piece of Triple Threat Chocolate “Cheese” Cake with him. What better tool for vegan advocacy is there than tasty treats?

8 Comments

  1. Comment by

    L2Lulu

    on #

    All true! All true! SOOOO gooooooooood!!!! Thanks for the tasting samples, Roseann!
    Not only does Hannah take every photo herself but she photographed every recipe in MSV! When was the last time you saw a cookbook with beautiful color photos of everything in the collection! You go, Hannah!

  2. Comment by

    amy

    on #

    About the orange zest- it used to be my least favorite thing to do, too. Then I got a Microplane grater, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Zest-wise, of course. It makes it sooo easy.

    That all sounds great, by the way.

  3. Comment by

    Roseann Marulli

    on #

    A Microplane grater, you say? I’ll have to look into that, because the zest really did make the muffins. Thanks, amy!

  4. Comment by

    vegoftheweek

    on #

    I have never used Eden Blend Rice and Soy beverage in place of soymilk in recipes. I’ll have to give it a try.

  5. Comment by

    Roseann Marulli

    on #

    I wouldn’t have thought of it either, but I’d just watched the videos of Moby on Epicurious (www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/kitchenequipment/celebrityvideo/moby) and thought I’d give it a try. Btw, because of those videos, I love him more than ever now. And damn that ex-girlfriend for besmirching his pancakes!!!!!

  6. Comment by

    vegoftheweek

    on #

    That’s funny, you should mention him and that video. I actually have a link about him on my current post on my blog:
    http://www.vegoftheweek.com

  7. Comment by

    rachaelrayforever

    on #

    i made that cheesecake week between christmas and newyears.i’ve made maybe 20 or so recipes from the book and i think that’s my favourite.

  8. Comment by

    gossepboi

    on #

    omgd, i wanna make these desserts!!! XD but i have a question: when you used the gluten-free flour, did you use xanthan gum??

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