Oh, dear readers– I love me some Universal Magic! Remember when I first came across Leanne Vogel and her killer website? (If you’re wracking your brain and searching for clues, you might also remember this first encounter as The Guilty Peanut Butter Incident, in which I felt intimidated by Leanne’s ninja-like wizardry in her allergy-friendly kitchen. Yes! I just called Leanne both a ninja and a wizard. No wonder I got suckered into the “I’m Not Worthy!” trap. Never fear, though. I’ve since recovered and reclaimed my cool factor. I’m OK, she’s OK, and it’s all good. Promise!)
It’s been an honor and an absolute thrill to work with Leanne this winter, helping her share The Most Amazing Christmas Cookbook Ever with as vast a swath of the internet as we can manage. (I feel like the Christopher Columbus of the Internet lately– exploring uncharted waters, but now with less scurvy!) Who knew an awkward first website visit would morph into a lasting friendship and an exciting business experience? I feel like I’m in my very own sitcom here, Full House style. Happy endings for all! Thanks, Universe!
Back to the amazing cookbook, though. The e-book is called Christmas Dessert Freedom and features ten holiday classics made tastier, prettier, and more ninja-like than ever before. What’s Leanne’s secret? She’s banished all the dairy, gluten, grains, refined sugars, peanuts, corn, soy, and eggs from the recipes we’ve felt guilty about eating since the Dawn of Time.
Peppermint bark? Check!
Rum balls? They’re in there!
Shortbread cookies? Uh-huh!
Pecan bars? She’s on it!
Leanne has even managed to create a dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free version of tiramisu. I kid you not! (That recipe alone is worth the 10 buck cookbook cost. Seriously.)
Since I love a good challenge even more than I love this cookbook, I decided to attempt the Queen Recipe (tiramisu, obviously) to prove a couple of things:
1. Even a disaster-prone chef (like yours truly, ahem- almond milk mayhem! Cough, cough– sauerkraut carnage!) can create these recipes and have them turn out just fine.
2. You don’t need a mile-long list of alien ingredients to make the recipes in this book– even something even as intimidating-sounding as tiramisu.
3. You don’t even need all of the recommended kitchen appliances to make these recipes turn out right. I, for example, don’t have a stand mixer OR electric beaters. So there!
4. The recipes aren’t some half-assed shadows of the original, guilt-laced confections. They will still impress even the most skeptical of tastebuds.
So! Adventures in Tiramisu Making!
The full list of ingredients for the tiramisu includes cashews (I used almonds instead), non-dairy milk, coconut oil, coconut nectar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, coconut milk, coffee, rum (optional but hello! IT’S CHRISTMAS!), cocoa powder, dark chocolate, coconut flour, and maple syrup. (Obviously, if you have an aversion to coconut, this is not the recipe for you. Same goes for people with nut allergies, though the e-book does contain 6 nut-free recipes, FYI.)
The assembly line in action!
Anyway. I started off by making a batch of Leanne’s Maple Shortbread cookies (recipe included in the e-book), and then I chilled some ingredients and mentally prepared to slave away in the kitchen all day. Let down alert: No slaving was necessary. The prep work for the recipe was surprisingly easy (even for me, who has a hard time making ice). You blend some of the ingredients together to make a “cashew cream” layer (almond cream layer in my case– I’m wicked allergic to cashews). You mix some of the other ingredients together to make a sinful “coconut cream” layer, and then you stack everything together in a loaf pan with the shortbread cookies and let it chill overnight. Seriously way less work than I was expecting. And the rewards?
Sheer decadence. And deliciousness. And divinity… and other great words that start with ‘d’.
This is Leanne’s photo, not mine.
I was worried because my can of coconut milk rendered a runnier “cream” than you would expect from the word “cream”. Leanne even had to give me a pep talk while my tiramisu was setting in the fridge, which consisted of the ever-encouraging words, “I hate to say it: but it may not turn out” AND the always-rousing phrase, “it may be a lost cause.” Ha. AND EVEN STILL: my batch turned out just fine. Delicious! Guilt-free! Impressive to my neighbors! Sure, it might not win any presentation awards from the judges on the Food Network, but tummies can’t tell the difference if the recipe still tastes delicious, right? My point exactly.
My tiramisu, collapsed on its side. DON’T LAUGH! It’s no Miss America in the looks department, granted, but hot damn, it’s DELICIOUS!
This cookbook is Leanne’s labor of love and her holiday gift to the world. It’s great for people who have special diets or a mile-long list of food sensitivities, and it’s great for the people who love them, too. It truly feels like the “Get Out of Jail Free” card of Christmas– a way to actually partake in the holiday festivities without feeling gross or guilty afterward. Christmas Dessert Freedom for the win!
- $10 USD per copy
- 10 revamped recipes of holiday classics (vegan, paleo, gluten-free, all-around miraculous!)
- 35 pages, full color PDF
- Totally effin’ incredible!
As the helper elf to Leanne’s Santa (or something…), I get to share in some holiday abundance for everyone who makes a cookbook purchase through the links in this post. In other words, I’ll get a few bucks if you decide to buy the Christmas Dessert Freedom cookbook based on this review of it. Don’t be fooled by my pathetic-looking tiramisu, either: IT TASTES GREAT. You know I wouldn’t even be involved in this project if it wasn’t totally awesome, let alone pimp it out on this here blog. I promise the cookbook is amazing. I promise you can impress your friends and family by making any/all of the recipes in the book. I promise you can become a Christmas ninja, too.*
*Actual ninja-ness may vary. Also, if you have super grinches for friends, their level of being impressed by your kitchen wizardry might vary, too. Jerks!
Your turn, dear readers: Is guilt a regular part of your typical holiday experience?
What’s your favourite holiday treat?