When Allyson Kramer asked me to be part of her virtual tour for her new cookbook launch for Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World* (GGFVE-FATW), I was totally thrilled. I was so excited when I received my copy for review and I’m even more excited to be bringing you this review, a recipe from the book and cookbook giveaway (see end of the post for more details).
I decided to try 3 recipes for this review, I ended up making 5 —the 5th is in the oven right now and won’t make it in this post but I can already tell it’s going to be so good. I was delightfully surprised with the flavors of the dishes I selected to make for the review, I’m not sure why. I love the recipes on Allyson’s blog and I reviewed her first cookbook last year, Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats, so I should’ve known what to expect. Yet she snuck up on me and BAM! delicious meals. Mauro and I just couldn’t get enough of some of them. Here’s what I made: Cocoa Almond Truffles (Brigadeiros), from Brazil (recipe below); Roasted Fennel Salad with Caramelized Onions, a fusion dish; Save the Fishies Cakes, from the UK; Roasted Tomato and Beet Bisque, from Belarus; and Smokey Tempeh “Bacon”, from Nepal (still in the oven, no pic, sorry).
I started off making the brigadeiros, just because I had to see if they were going to taste like the ones they make in Brazil. Plus, let’s keep our priorities straight, dessert first, people! This ooey, gooey version of a truffle is a staple at any celebratory party or catered event in Brazil. There are even gourmet brigadeiro stores at malls there. What defines a good brigadeiro is a caramel chewiness and a melt-in-your-mouth quality at the same time. It will also be hard to roll when making them, they tend to stick to your hands, but wash off easily. I followed the recipe with a couple of exceptions, I used this canned Soymilke Soy Condensed Milk* and I used shredded coconut and cacao nibs instead of nonpareils. They came out with the perfect texture, flavor and yum. Being an experienced brigadeiro maker, I can say that the recipe would have turned out equally as good following Allyson’s instructions to make your own almond condensed milk. I just had a can of the soy condensed milk, so I used that instead.
The next recipes I tried were the Roasted Fennel Salad with Caramelized Onions and the Save the Fishies Cakes (STFC). Disclaimer: Since we have year-round CSA shares, we eat as seasonally as possible and I try to use the ingredients I have on hand for recipes —this drives Mauro nuts because I don’t always follow recipes to a T, which is the case of these two recipes. I didn’t have spinach or any apples for the salad, so I subbed them with romaine lettuce and kohlrabi, respectively. We scarfed down this salad in 2 minutes. Mauro’s not a big fan of fennel, but he loved how the caramelized onions and the lemon juice balanced it out. We both felt the kohlrabi was a perfect fit, adding the crunch but not interfering with the flavor. As for the STFC, I didn’t have any jack fruit so I took a gamble and used a can of heart of palms I had in the pantry. The cakes were delicious, but I think the stringy texture of the jack fruit would have made them better. If you try this recipe, please use the right ingredients. 🙂
Last but not least, I made a blonder version of the Roasted Tomato and Beet Bisque. I had all the ingredients for this recipe, or so I thought, until I started peeling the beets and found that they were white and variegated beets. So the soup didn’t quite turn out the right color and the beet flavor wasn’t as bold as the darker beets would have made it, but the soup turned out absolutely delicious. It was rich and creamy, not too tomatoey, not too beety and it went well with the leftover STFC from the previous night. I will definitely be making this soup when I get more beets from the CSA.
I hope you enjoyed the review. Don’t forget to see the recipe, tips and giveaway below. Allyson is an amazing cook and recipe writer. She makes gluten-free and vegan so easy and the flavors of her recipes are simply delightful. Read my review for her first book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats and watch our interview with her last year, in case you missed it.
Recipe – Cocoa Almond Truffles (Brigadeiros)
Brigadeiros are similar to truffles in texture and flavor, but they come together much more quickly and easily than a traditional truffle. The key to this recipe is making your own condensed almond milk, which I’ve included a recipe for below. I recommend using unsweetened store-bought almond milk rather than using homemade almond milk, as it seems to yield the most consistent results when condensing the milk.
Yield: 20 Candies
For the Condensed Almond Milk:
3 cups (700 ml) almond milk
1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
Combine the ingredients into a 1-quart (946 ml) sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a constant simmer (not too high as to bubble over) and let cook until reduced to 1 cup (235 ml) liquid, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir at least every 5 minutes, to ensure reduction is occurring and the almond milk is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. It should be the consistency or runny caramel when finished reducing.
For the Brigadeiros:
1 cup (235 ml) condensed almond milk (recipe above)
1 cup (80 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Dash sea salt
1 tablespoon (14 g) coconut oil
1/4 (48 g) chocolate nonpareil sprinkles
To make the Brigadeiros:
Combine the condensed almond milk, cocoa powder, sea salt, and coconut oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Let the mixture cook until it begins to easily come away the bottom of the pan when stirred, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool just long enough to make it easy to handle. Roll into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls and then roll into the chocolate nonpareils to coat.
Recipe Shared with Permission of Fair Winds Press
Tips for making the Brigadeiros:
A few tips on how to roll the mix into truffles:
- Make sure the mix has cooled and it is firm but not hard.
- Oil the palms of your hands.
- Scoop a small spoonful of the mix into the palm of one hand and gently roll it into a ball (too much pressure will make it stick). If it’s too sticky and you can’t roll it, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to firm up a bit.
- Roll it into the nonpareil, coconut, cacao nibs, etc.
- Place into paper liners.
- Alternatively, you can bypass the rolling process and scoop the mix into mini glasses and use mini spoons to eat them.
- Store the finished goodies in the fridge and pull them out 1/2 hour before you’re ready to serve them.
GGFVE-FATW Giveaway – Ended
Who doesn’t like free stuff? Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win a copy of GGFVE-FATW. I’ll randomly choose one person on Monday, July 8th 2013 at 6:00pm. US residents only, please. Happy commenting and good luck!
And the winner of the giveaway is… Karen Faivre.
Thank you to everyone who commented. Please consider supporting Allyson Kramer and all her hard work by buying the cookbook.