BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Feed Your Hungryface

25 Comments

It’s a small world after all. The blogosphere brings together people from the furthest pockets of the Earth, and yet somehow the perception of an immense distance remains between even “real life” friends. After lurking about on Vanessa’s blog and admiring her tasty recipes for a good number of years, it would never in my wildest dreams have occurred to me that she might be closer much than I thought. Upon learning about her latest sweet venture, Hungryface Bakery, that imagined gap was compressed down to nothing when she suddenly arrived at my doorstep bearing boxes of incredible treats. Rather than ship them, it was easier and faster for her to cross a few town lines and meet me face to face. I’m still reeling at how dangerously close such a talented source of delicious baked goods is to my home!

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Vanessa takes the same stance on baking vegan as I do, which means that the fruits of her labor are just damned good eats that happen to be vegan. No more qualifiers, no more excuses. Vegan desserts aught to be held to the same standard as any others, so it’s heartening to see this point of view in those who really can spread the word- And sweetness. Her current selection ranges from cookies to tea cakes, all available to ship anywhere in the US, even if you aren’t as lucky to be practically neighbors with the baker herself.

Heart of Darkness Brownies are the most visually arresting of the group; Bars that are this dark and dense are guaranteed to be a rich chocolate experience. Living up to their outward appearance, each bite packed a punch of full-frontal fudge goodness, offset by deep, dark notes of roasted espresso. A minefield of chocolate chips, hidden by the pitch black surroundings they’re buried in, just a few bites would satisfy even the most voracious chocoholic.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Moon & Stars Shortbread glittered with a topping of snowy white granulated sugar, covering a dense yet delicate, buttery cookie. Slightly bitter thanks to the smattering of toasted black sesame seeds woven throughout that soft yet crisp crumb, a restrained dose sweetness balanced out the whole equation perfectly. Periodic bites of chocolate were also a surprising delight to discover within. A subtle aroma of coconut lends a slightly exotic undertone, making it reminiscent of an Asian chocolate chip cookie.

Another standout was the Earl Grey Tea Cake. Straddling that fine line between muffin and cupcake, it’s certainly sweet enough to be right at home on a dessert platter, but has a more sturdy, substantial crumb, and of course no superfluous frosting to cover up the delicate flavors of tea. Whole tea leaves impart a floral and slightly citrus flavor throughout the moist miniature cakes, accented with a bright spike of sea salt to really draw out the full intensity of typically demure earl grey. Though packed with tea already, they would indeed make an excellent accompaniment to a cup of one, too.

Pistachio Cherry Shortbread stays true to its name and tastes like actually pistachios, which is a subtle and difficult flavor to convey in any baked good. Seemingly sweeter than the previous offerings, for some odd reason these reminded me of strawberry marshmallows, of all things. Though plenty delicious, they seemed out of place amongst the other more adventurous pairings. By comparison, it was simply a bit too tame.

Building up expectations pretty high with a name like The Sugar Cookie to End All Sugar Cookies, these flat, monstrous frisbees of cookie dough have a classically homey appearance that implores you to dive right in. Perfectly chewy, through and through, Vanessa nails the texture, which is arguably the single most important aspect of a solid sugar cookie. Subtle hint of brown sugar adds complexity, but these are really straight-forward, simple sugar cookies, sure to please younger palates as well.

My very first whiff of the Drunken Shortbread tells me that these will be a doozy. Thankfully, the cookie’s aren’t as powerfully alcoholic as they first threaten, but a comfortable undercurrent of bourbon is constantly present from the first bite to the last. Chocolate chips lined up neatly on top like the buttons on a double-breasted jacket add just enough interest to keep the cookie from becoming monotonous. These melt-in-your-mouth tender bars are sophisticated with a touch of whimsy; not too sweet, and just a little bit naughty.

The creative flavor pairings matched up in Hungryface Bakery are what set them apart from the pack, but the superb execution of each individual offering is what will keep the curious coming back. Even if you’re a passionate baker, it’s nice to take a break and let someone else fire up the oven to satisfy your sweet cravings every now and then. Rather than give in to the siren song of stale, store-bought biscuits, take the time to order online. These cookies tastes about a hundred time better and fresher because they’re all still handmade.

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

25 thoughts on “Feed Your Hungryface

  1. You had me at “hello!” Going to order those Heart of Darkness Brownies ASAP!!

  2. I’ll take one of each! They look fabulous!

  3. Everything has the coolest names and the most delicious looking photos but truly ‘heart of darkness’ brownies are the way to go :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Aw, everything looks so good! No vegan bakery close to me though! But I thought about making Earl Grey muffins for a while!

  5. Looks and sounds amazing! I agree with putting vegan bakes or the same category as non vegan cakes. They taste the same if not better!

  6. As always, your pictures make me hungry. How do you find the time?

    http://haymarket8.blogspot.com

  7. A vegan bakery just opened up down the block from me and I really hope that it’s as delicious as this!

  8. The pictures make me hungry… need to find some food lol.

  9. Wow I could seriously spend so much money at that bakery! Everything looks so delicious! Lucky you :)

  10. Wow, lucky you to live so close! Everything looks amaaaaazing!

  11. what a great review! they all look so good…but my heart melted for the pistachio cherry shortbread!

  12. Now why do I never have someone on my doorstep with gorgeous cookies like that! They look amazing and I love that chocolate one!

  13. Congrats my friend, I have awarded you and your awesome blog the Versatile Blogger Award :D
    Check it out here: http://gobakeyourself.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/wishing-for-spring/

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  14. wow..those heart of darkness brownies look really fudgey and chocolatey. THe earl grey tea cake is what I’ll go for amongst all that you have featured. You make it look so delectable!

    Even though I am not vegan, I do agree that vegan sweets should be judged by the same standards as other non-vegan sweets. and with those treats that you have featured, I would eat them any day… I’m sure that they would taste as good or even better than any non-vegan sweets.

  15. Too bad there’s no awesome vegan baker down the way from me, ha ha! Maybe when I move to Toronto. :) I’d be all over those brownies!

  16. Yum, these are my kind of baked sweets – homemade by someone else. :-) They all look delicious! How to even decide?

  17. That’s awesome! I love that Vanessa has an etsy store. I was trying to convince my girlfriend that that was a thing you could do with your baked goods. Ordering those dark chocolate brownies STAT! Thanks :)

  18. holy yumm indeed. envy u too:) i’ll take all and some extra drunken shortbreads pls

  19. My mouse is hovering over the Add to Cart button for the drunken shortbread cookies….and the Heart of Darkeness brownies…and the Earl Grey Tea cakes…oh, the choices!

  20. Oh to be able to just step into a bakery…ANY BAKERY in Tasmania and be able to purchase something “vegan” let alone “drop dead scrumptious vegan”…I guess if I could do that…I might not have splurged on every single one of your books on Amazon and be waiting with baited breath and no fingernails left for them in the mail…so I guess something good has come out of it ;)

  21. Pistachio Cherry Shortbread oh my! I don’t know how many times people tell me they can’t believe my vegan baked goods are vegan. What does that mean really? It’s just a baked good without any eggs or dairy.

  22. Very cool that it was closer for her to just show up at your door! I completely agree about vegan baked goods — they should be held to the same standards as other baked goods. And when they are, I think they oftentimes outshine their non-vegan counterparts. My absolute favorite chocolate cake in the whole world is my mom’s recipe for crazy chocolate cake…it’s moist and chocolaty with a tender crumb (and not to mention versatile!)…and it happens to be vegan! Love it. Everything here looks amazing…right now, I could really go for a piece of that beautiful pistachio cherry shortbread!

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