Monday, July 6, 2009

The Vegan Dessert Challenge

ice-cream sandwiches

Here are two ideas for delicious vegan desserts: ice-cream sandwiches and chocolate-walnuts zucchini cake. The first one is quick and cute, perfect when you are in a rush but still want to make an impression, and the second one is rich and decadent, when you really want to make a statement.

One of the things non-vegans usually say about vegan pastry is how inferior it is to the "real thing", that what it has in good intentions, it lacks in taste. I find such statements not only unfair, but also very butter-&-lard-centric!

Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Cake
(made by Nikki and Greg)

There was an episode a couple of nights ago when my good friend Jenn -a talented cook and the sister of a celebrated pastry chef- decided to make impromptu cupcakes at a friend's house, and to make them vegan for my sake. Isn't that sweet? However, an inner voice kept prompting me to tell her to forget about it and stick to something she would normally make, because, if the attempt failed, the vegan would be blamed for spoiling everyone's pleasure!

Brittney's Strawberry-Banana-Coconut Milk Muffins

Of course, something went wrong, the kitchen did not have the right kind of chocolate, and the cupcakes turned out super blah, which, sadly, seemed to settle once and for all the case of the inferiority of vegan pastry. I did argue that another friend had made those very same cupcakes with the right kind of chocolate and they had turned out lip-smacking good, but my statement was probably attributed to my unreliable taste buds and filed under "pathetic attempt at vegan propaganda".

Vegan desserts are not inferior, just out of the Western norm where butter, dairy cream, eggs and sometimes lard prevail. Western tastebuds are just dairy-centric, that's all! When I became vegan, rather than lowering my standards, I believe I expanded my horizons. I do know for sure that butter tastes good, and so does dairy cream, and cheese: I'm French, I was raised on the best stuff! But I also know for sure that there's much more to life than this, even from a purely pleasure-based point of view. Dairy-centered folks are missing out on tastes and textures that truly deserve praise. How sad!

These were from a Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World recipe...
(the Book, the Blog) -picture by Yasmin

The only thing we can do is to convince the agnostics by blowing their minds with incredible goodness! It doesn't sound so awful, does it? (Except maybe for your waistline...)

Ice-cream sandwiches
These were my contribution to a cocktail party. I knew the homemade beverages were going to be fancy and elaborate, and served in pretty thrifted glasses. I wanted to contribute with something bite-size that would look very cute.

Sorbet or non-dairy ice-cream
Small-sized vegan cookies

These delicate little thing complemented the fancy beverages.
In the pitcher: Greg's Limoncello Punch.

I simply went to the store and purchased fruit-sweetened raspberry sorbet and lemon cookies. I then made the sandwiches in 10 minutes, at the party. Easy peasy!

Of course, you can also be truly amazing and make your own cookies and ice-cream...

raspberry + lemon= yum!

kinda cute...

Decadent Chocolate-Walnut Zucchini Cake

This recipe comes directly from the Post Punk Kitchen Website.

Dang! I gained three pounds just uploading the photo...

bundt pan, mixing bowls

2 1/2 cups grated, peeled, fresh zuchini
2 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 cup canola oil
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar*
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup ground walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
*I could cut a little bit of sugar...

In medium sized mixing bowl, combine zucchini, bananas, oil, and vanilla. Stir well or beat with electric mixer if you want to be fancy. In large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients except chocolate. Add wet mixture to dry, mix well and add chocolate chips. Pour into lightly greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool upright 15 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack. Allow to cool 30 minutes before tasting. Enjoy!

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