Cookies: Mother Knows Best

Welcome to BitterSweet’s very first guest post! Why me? As an experienced baker, editor, and Hannah’s mother, I have certain special qualifications, and Hannah has graciously decided to share the kitchen and invited me to review the new cookbook by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. So here goes…

I began by reading VCIYCJ carefully. The first section, “Cookie Science,” explains the whats, whys and hows of making great cookies. The recipes are grouped mostly by technique (drop, bar, etc) and most have eye-catching full-color photos, although I was occasionally confused by the repeated placement of photos for the Snickerdoodle and Rocky Road Cookies. I decided to try a Drop Cookie, a Wholesome Cookie and a Sliced and Rolled Cookie.

First, I made the Chocolate Chip Cookies. Having baked the traditional, non-vegan variety all my life and having eaten many of Hannah’s exceptional examples, I know a good chocolate chip cookie when I eat one. These cookies had a great texture – light, chewy but with a bit of resistance around the edges. The flavor, however, was bland. More brown sugar and less white would make these cookies even better.

Next, I tried the Fruity Oaty Bars. Assembling all the ingredients was a bit of a challenge and fairly pricy, but the resulting bars make an excellent breakfast option. The sesame flavor was a nice touch, and the variety of ingredients made each mouthful taste slightly different. The bars were a bit drier than I expected, considering all the dried fruit, but a little jam or peanut butter on top made a big difference. I really enjoyed eating these.

Finally, I chose the Coffeehouse Hermits. Expecting a pliable dough, I ended up with a moist batter, so I added an extra cup of flour and put it in the fridge to chill. Even after an extra hour, I still had a batter, not a dough, so I poured it into two loaf pans and produced very pleasant gingerbreads. After wards, Hannah discovered a correction posted online for this recipe – I should have used ½ cup, not 2 cups, of coffee. I didn’t end up with Hermits, but the gingerbread was delicious.

Overall, I enjoyed this challenge. These recipes are easy to follow and produce tasty treats. VCIYCJ is a good resource for beginning bakers, but I can’t say it stands out in the ever-expanding world of vegan dessert cookbooks. One cookbook in particular comes to my mind as the very best for vegan desserts, but since I know its author, you might question my objectivity, so I won’t mention it.

Thanks, Hannah, for taking the photos and sharing your blog with me. One final thought: the views expressed in this post are entirely mine, so don’t bother Hannah if you don’t agree. Happy New Year to everyone, and Happy Baking!

44 thoughts on “Cookies: Mother Knows Best

  1. I very much appreciate your Mom’s review! I’ve only had a chance to make two cookies from this book- the chocolate chip and ginger macadamia. I really loved both!

  2. Hi,
    I’m always glad when non-Vegans take on Vegan recipes, and sometimes it takes a while to get used to the more natural, low sugar, low non-additive flavor of each recipe. I think it’s great your mother tried it though! So many cookbooks; so little time for we Vegans, it seems. Thanks for all your recipes, Hannah! You’ve added so much to the world.

  3. Hi Hannah’s Mom! I love the review! I’ve only tried one of the recipes from the book so far, the pignoli almond cookies, and they were super yummy.

  4. I only make cookies when we have company coming. Maybe I should invite some company over, and try your Coffeehouse Hermits. Cookies or slices, it sounds good.

    I just looked up the recipe, and it seems that the 2 cups of coffee should have been 1/2 cup. Is that the recipe you used?

  5. Very nice of you to have a non-vegan take on a vegan cookbook.
    Your mother sounds like a very sweet woman. How lucky you are!
    I still want the book because cookies are so my thing.

  6. It’s nice to meet the mother of Hannah, who is quite a role model in my life. Go Hannah and mother! And yes, I agree that the no-name book (Hannah’s) is a great one!


  7. I just got the book for Christmas, so I may as well add my 2 cents :) I’ve made the NYC Black and White cookies, which apparently taste exactly like non-veg B/W cookies and were a huge hit with my family, but they weren’t my cup of tea. I also made the peanut butter oatmeal cookies, which were simple, crispy, and DELICIOUS. The Lazy Girl Samoas were phenomenal–I may forgo the chocolate drizzle entirely and just stick to the coconut cookie, because they were so good by themselves! And, to me, the chocolate chip cookies were fantastic.

    Thanks for the info about the Hermits, too! I have been wanting to make them and had no idea about the corrections.

  8. This is pretty fun! If only my mom would take on some vegan cooking :) I made the lazy girl samoas and can also vouch for their deliciousness! I made cowboy cookies last night and they are great. They’re HUGE and my boyfriend still ate two!

  9. Yay! Fun. I might have to let my mom guest post on my blog… I haven’t bought VCIYCJ, because of the gluten, but I hear many of the recipes can be adapted to be gluten-free? I sure hope so. I’ll take a look next time I’m at the bookstore. Thanks for sharing your review!

    1. there are special instructions in the cookie science part of the book on how to turn the cookie recipes gluten-free, including a recipe for “Isa & Terry’s Gluten Frida Mix” to replace the flour with. It actually says “[…] any of the cookies in this book can be made gluten-free. Yeah, we said it. There are a few gluten-free-specific recipes in these pages, but the reason there isn’t a big whopping GF chapter is because cookies are so flexible, subbing in gluten-free flour is a breeze”.

  10. I happen to agree with Hannah’s eloquent mom in the assessment that this is a good, but not groundbreaking cookbook. I have definitely enjoyed the recipes I’ve tried so far (3 total) and love having a completely vegan cookie cookbook. Hannah’s My Sweet Vegan is more creative and each treat I’ve whipped up from MSV has been spectacular.

  11. This all looks so great. I have to ask you, and I am sorry if you answer this all the time, but what do you do with all this amazing goodness? You couldn’t possibly eat it all.

  12. I loved reading your mums guest appearance! I wish my mum liked baking, i cant remember the last time she baked a sweet treat.
    I love the look of the gingerbread! although it didnt turn out how it was meant to, i bet it was still delicious.


  13. Nice post Hannah’s mom!

    I didn’t jump out and buy the book yet because I recently bought Vegan Brunch Isa. It has lots of good, challenging recipes to keep me happy. My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Brunch have become my baking staples.

  14. Hannah:
    you should definitely tell me your favorite dessert cook book :)

    Have you ever considered doing a post sharing what you consider to be essentials in the kitchen (cookware and/or ingredient-wise)? I bet your bloggers would be interested in knowing what you, the baker extraordinaire-considers essential.

  15. HI Hannah’s Mom! Your baking looks great and everything sounds delicious. I have this cookbook on my wishlist. Happy New Year!

  16. Great guest post! I’ve never baked anything vegan, so this was really interesting. I loved your mom’s honest feedback.

  17. great review – i’ve only made one thing from the book so far (ginger/macadamia cookies) and they were pretty good, but I like seeing other people’s reviews too, especially non-veg ones.

  18. I just got this book, and the first recipe I tried was the chocolate chip cookie. I will take your advice and change the brown sugar to white sugar ratio next time. Thanks!

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