I recently borrowed Vegan Desserts by Hannah Kaminsky from the library. I had taken a peek at it before at the book store and quickly decided to add it to my Christmas list but I couldn't wait and lucky for me, the library had a copy. I waited patiently on the list and then my time finally came to borrow this beautiful book. I have to say first off, I'm really impressed with the overall look and quality of this book. Vegan cookbooks are definitely becoming more and more glossy and full of photographs and thank goodness! I love pictures and this book is full of Hannah Kaminsky's beautiful work. I went through the whole book in one go (which is impressive considering I have a four year old who wants my attention all the time) and immediately had at least ten things I seriously had to make right away. I decided the first recipe I would try is the Chocolate Mint Macarons. It was like Hannah's warning that they were tricky made them irresistible to me. I have been watching a lot of Top Chef Just Desserts and these macarons were all over the place. I have never ever had one so I have no idea what the craze is all about but they are seriously precious. I always love those photos where they have lined up all the different colours of them like a little rainbow.
I broke out the stand mixer and the food processor and collected up all my ingredients...I was ready to face this challenge! I mixed up the first batch and they didn't look quite right. I was looking for ribbons of lava and I had a thicker mix than that. I blamed it on my stand mixer which has never had the right bowl. Lucky for me, my mom has her own stand mixer and she lives with us so I grabbed hers and gave it another go. The second batch worked only slightly better but I decided to pipe them anyways hoping that I was wrong about it being wrong and maybe I would get the results I was hoping for in the end. They didn't look right at first but after a minute they settled and spread out a bit and looked more promising. They have to rest for an hour and a half so I patiently (yeah right) waited and looked and waited and wanted to pick at one but resisted and waited. The true telling point would be once they were baked. Unfortunately that batch didn't work either.
But I wasn't going to let that stop me. I went straight to Facebook, sent Hannah a message asking for some help and within the afternoon I had my answer. My super strength microwave was killing my egg replacer and it wasn't getting the body I needed (which I should have known right away because the thing is seriously on steroids). By this point it was too late in the day to start again but I went right back at it and this time used 50% power on my microwave and low and behold...it worked! I got a big fluffy bowl of meringue to which I added the ground almonds and icing sugar. I piped the little guys and went to play a game of Candy Land with Mac to distract me. Once they were baked I knew they were much better than my previous attempts. They even had the little "feet" that their non-vegan counterparts have! The icing for this recipe was minty and I'm not a fan so I just opted out of the minty extract, adding a bit more vanilla extract. They are so delicious and couldn't be cuter. Ryan is in love with them, even just the plain shells. He says that he loves the crunch of the outside and the chocolate flavour on the inside. They really are a special treat and I will definitely make them again. I might even get brave enough to play around with the recipe some day for different colours and flavours.
I do want to say again to Hannah...Thank you sooooo much for your help! I really wanted to try these and I really wanted them to work and I wouldn't have been able to do that without your help. I can definitely say that vegan cookbook authors are the best and most helpful (and available) people around! I'm pretty sure only vegans can say that they emailed the author of their cookbook and got an answer within an hour or two. I can't wait to try more recipes from this beautiful book and hopefully there's one under the tree for me this December too! (hint hint Mom, if you're reading this!)