I’ve always enjoyed baking… a lot more than cooking, anyway. What’s not to love? It’s relatively easy – just throw wet ingredients together, then dry ones, then mix the wet and dry, and bake! As a kid, my favorite part was licking the beaters… and the bowl… and the spoon. Actually, that still is my favorite part, although I have to pretend to be an adult and share them with Jillian.
Lately, I’ve gotten into baking a lot more. It’s hard to find milk-, egg-, peanut- and tree nut-free baked goods. Very hard. Oreos have become a staple around here. But we need more than Oreos in this house. We need chocolate chip cookies, and brownies, and blondies, and cupcakes, and cakes! In come some of my favorite cookbooks – vegan baking cookbooks! Now, of course, vegan baking only gets rid of milk and eggs, NOT nuts, but I find that there are more than enough nut-free recipes in these books to try.
My two favorite books are both from the same author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, who has written numerous completely awesome vegan cookbooks. And with names like Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, how can you not want to try them?! And let me tell you, her cupcakes really could take over the world… I’m pretty convinced. She’s got basic chocolate and vanilla, of course, but with 75 recipes to choose from, it’s almost difficult to just make a basic chocolate cupcake. I love to throw in crushed up Oreos and whip up a batch of my entire family’s favorite Cookies ‘n Cream cupcake. Yummmmmmmmmm!
And her brownie recipe? DELICIOUS!!!! Seriously, quite possibly the best brownies I’ve ever had. Certainly the best brownies I’ve ever made! And guess what the secret ingredient is? Tofu! Seriously, I never would have wanted to try “tofu brownies” if someone had offered them to me, but I get the most compliments on those things. And from people who have no idea that they’re not your run-of-the-mill, egg-laden brownies. They’re awesome! Just the fact that I can actually bake a safe treat for my daughter and have people’s mouths water instead of people saying, “Who’d wanna eat that?!” is awesome.
I’ve actually used my joy of baking to help other people with allergy needs. I took four months of cake decorating classes so I could make my daughter beautiful birthday cakes, not just ugly-but-tasty ones. And I’ve made a few for some other allergy parents, too. Finding a bakery to make your child a cake without milk, eggs or nuts, or cross-contamination with any of those ingredients can be hard, if not impossible. So I’m happy to help. Our kids deserve cakes that look just as cool as their friends’.
Now I bake cakes for just about everyone in my family, which is fine by me, because it means that Jillian is always included in the festivities. I see a lot of baking in my future.