19 July 2009

Book Review: The 30-Minute Vegan

Yay! Another great resource for vegans, vegetarians, and the folks who love them. Usually 30-minute recipe books tend to be on the slim side, but The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray is a hefty volume, packed with a wide range of recipes that don't require a lot of special ingredients that vegans will find tough to locate in their local health food store. While there aren't that many desserts included in the book, I was able to select a very tasty one to try out for you using agave nectar here on Altered Plates.

From July_2009_Photos

For my trial recipe, I selected Macadamia Nut-Chocolate Chip Cookies (although I made mine into carob chip cookies). They are a snap to make, and I could easily substitute agave nectar for the maple syrup (although I'm sure they would be just as good with the syrup). Because I used agave nectar, I had to drop the temperature down to 325 degrees F, and that increased the baking time by a few minutes.

Even though they look a little on the light side, trust me, these cookies are done. I tried one about 20 minutes after they had finished cooling and was very pleased with the result. The carob chips make a nice foil for the sweet cookie and rich macadamias. They don't spread, so you can easily make nearly 40 cookies using a tablespoon scoop on three cookie sheets (just stagger your rows). Overall, they remind me of what great chocolate chip cookies should taste like without the 1/2 pound of butter, brown sugar, and bendable chewiness. Best of all, they were a hit with the folks at the museum, when I brought in a bag of them yesterday.

I'm not sure I'd be able to make these in 30 minutes, even if I wasn't trying out the recipe for the first time, but they definitely can be done and on your cooling racks in under an hour. Getting all the ingredients together and preparing the cookies took longer than 15 minutes (chopping the nuts, measuring, etc.), and I just don't like rushing when I'm baking. That's when things tend to go wrong for me. Terribly wrong.

However, most of the recipes in the book are for beverages, meals, and snacks that are very time-friendly. I'm looking forward to making my way through all the recipes that I've already tagged with post-it tags.

And now, here's the recipe. Excerpted from the book The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray published by Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2009. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com

My changes are in bold.

Macadamia Nut-Chocolate (Carob) Chip Cookies

Makes 24 3-in. cookies (My yield was 38, from tablespoon-sized scoops)


1 3/4 cups whole spelt flour (whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts (mine were salted and roasted)
1 cup vegan chocolate (carob) chips
2/3 cup pure maple syrup (agave nectar)
2/3 cup safflower oil (canola oil, although I'm sure a light olive oil would be fine as well)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (OK, my oven does not take much time to preheat at all, so I actually don't do this until I begin scooping out the cookies. And, most importantly, my oven is set to 325 degrees F.) Sift the spelt flour, tapioca flour, basking soda, salt, and cinnamon through a fine-mesh strainer or sifter. (I didn't do this; I just whisked my dry ingredients together very well.) Whisk well and add the oats, macadamia nuts, and chocolate chips, stirring again.
2. In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine the maple syrup, safflower oil, water, and vanilla, and whisk together. Add to the flour mixture and stir well.
3. If you aren't using a nonstick cookie sheet or baking tray, you will have to lightly oil the tray or lay down aluminum foil (neither, in my case, I'm a big fan of parchment paper, so I used it). Use a spoon to scoop out your preferred size of cookie, leaving enough space in between them to allow the hot air to circulate and the cookie to spread out (at least 2 inches). It will take at least two trays. Bake them for 10 minutes (mine took about 13), until the bottom edges start to brown; do not over bake. Allow them to cool for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack.


fresh365 said...

Thanks for the review! I will have to cehck this book out as I am always looking for new inspiration!

Debbie said...

Thanks for the recipe. It looks Yummy!! I will definitely use agave nectar to substitute the maple syrup.
I get my agave nectar at wholeandnatural.com

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Debbie!