Laura Crotty is the author of the new book The Little Vegan Dessert Cookbook. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Huffington Post and Motherwell. She is based in Seattle.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for this cookbook?
A: I started collecting vintage cookbooks years ago. It began as a hobby that turned into a blog.
Since my culinary training was in health-supportive foods, I wanted to combine the two into something useful and hopefully, joyful, for others. Every time I overspent on a plant-based dessert I kept thinking, “I could have made this at home for a fraction of the price.” This cookbook was born out of that frustration.
Q: Can you say more about your interest in vintage cookbooks, and about how you researched this book?
A: I have always been drawn to them. They are my “happy place” and a source of comfort, especially nowadays! I’m drawn to cookbooks from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
For this particular book, I flipped through cookbooks from different decades for each recipe. When I came across recipes that looked promising, the process of trial and error began. Baking is like a science experiment. Ingredients such as egg replacers, whole-grain flours and baking powder, play off each other in unexpected ways.
Recreating a recipe isn’t simply taking an old recipe and swapping ingredients; It doesn’t work that way with plant-based ingredients. Depending on the recipe, these types of ingredients produce a variety of results, and although my experience helped in the process, each recipe, more often than not, involved extensive testing; a period of time that included trial and error.
No one wants to spend money on ingredients for a recipe that doesn’t work. With this cookbook, I have done the testing for you, and the desserts are not only delicious, they’re satisfying.
Q: What do you see looking ahead when it comes to vegan cooking and baking?
A: It’s nice to know that plant-based desserts are becoming mainstream. People are experiencing how wonderfully delicious these types of treats are.
The belief that vegan treats aren’t as good as non-vegan treats is finally disappearing. Decadently delicious brownies can be made without butter, and mouthwatering cakes can be made without eggs. Nowadays, if you want to eat healthy, you can literally have your cake and eat it, too!
Q: Do you have a particular favorite or two among the recipes you included?
A: I love the Genets and the Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts in particular. The Genets are light, with a fresh lemony flavor; it’s a great cookie for any time of the year, especially summer. The Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts are moist and rich in chocolate flavor. The vanilla glaze gives this pastry a wonderfully balanced flavor.
I also like the portability of these recipes. They present well, and make great gifts.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am actually thinking about organizing a recipe collection for my girls. I have a massive, slightly disorganized, binder of “go-to” everyday foods ranging from sauces, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts; it’s all in there.
I want to give them something practical to use when they go off on their own, and into the world. Hopefully the book will be a source of nourishment and comfort for years to come.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: The nostalgic recipes contained in this book are ones that people love, and the recipes work well any time of year. These desserts are primarily for those who aren’t necessarily vegan, but curious about plant-based foods.
These simple, straightforward recipes are not only delicious, but cost-effective. With this cookbook you don’t have to compromise on taste to enjoy the healthful benefits of plant-based desserts.
Bottom line, people eat dessert for pleasure, and with these desserts, you experience the pleasure without the guilt!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb