vegansaurus!

09/24/2013

Product review: Wholesome Chow’s Big Yummy (gluten-free) Brownie!   »

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Okay, here’s the deal you guys: I’m not the biggest sweets fan. In fact, sometimes when I eat too much sugar, my skin gets red, puffy and really warm.* This just happened at my birthday party, and freaked out my entire family. I finished my cake anyway, but everyone kept touching my red, blotchy arm as if I were a science experiment. 

Being the incredibly talented (as well as good-looking, charismatic and hilarious) professional pastry chef that I am, people are often quite confused that I don’t really eat sweets anymore. I’m like, “good thing you guys, this way at the end of my shift there’s actually prouduct available for the public to buy!” I mean, makes perfect sense to me—I go home and gorge on pizza, so everyone wins. 

Cutting to chase here, I usually pass up on dessert samples for Vegansaurus. However, because of my success with, and complete admiration for, Wholesome Chow’s products in the past, I was not willing to give up the opportunity to try their gluten-free brownies! I was expecting to get a dry mix in the mail that I would then bake, so imagine my delight when I opened a package with three BIG brownies encased. I mean, I’m excited just reminiscing about that evening. 

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Let me tell it to you straight: The Big Yummy Double Chocolate Brownie by Wholesome Chow is not playing around. It took all the willpower I had not to eat all three brownies in one sitting. They’re quite sizable, and everything no brownie in the past has ever been to me. To be honest, I eat cake and brownies as vehicles for frosting, and these babies didn’t even need it. I didn’t miss a side of fudgy chocolate frosting AT ALL. 

I’m someone who stays away from sugar, has never really been a brownie person (I mean, usually they can be SO dry) and doesn’t have to eat gluten-free (though I do feel better when I do). On that note, I crave these. I think about them all time. But where can I find these chocolate sensations, since Wholesome Chow doesn’t deliver them anymore? Well, here’s a handy list for you! (Just try to beat me to Rainbow to buy out their stock, I dare you.) Unfortunately for now, they are only available in California, but maybe you can ask your local natural food store to carry them? Of course you can always buy the brownie dry mix online too, as I’m sure it does not disapoint! Chef Veronica of Wholesome Chow also has a recipe for these decadent treats on their company blog!    

*I did not have any type of reaction to the sugar in Wholesome Chow’s brownies, which may have also been because for once I exerted some amount of will power in not eating all three in one sitting. 

08/09/2012

Product Review: Wholesome Chow gluten-free chocolate cake mix!  »


Last weekend, I baked with Wholesome Chow’s chocolate bake mix and that’s it; I’m throwing in the towel on ever making my own mix from scratch again. There’s no point! This Wholesome Chow mix amazing. I can’t even tell it’s gluten-free! Love, love love!

As with the last time, I followed the instructions on the back, adding a non-dairy milk and oil. I used full-fat canned coconut milk, which I find gives my cakes and extra degree of moistness and also makes the baking process a little more forgiving. You see, I’m prone to over-baking. It’s a curse! But luckily, coconut milk and I have found each other, so all is well over here.

I don’t have much more to say—this is an exceptional product. I’ve actually bought out every SF store that stocks the chocolate mix. So, there’s that. Actions speak louder than words, and I’ve snatched all the convenience away from you, city-dwellers. But you can buy the mixes online! Then they’ll come straight to your doorstep! Win win! Also, because I bought Rainbow and Other Avenues out, I had the opportunity to try the lavender chocolate mix, which is also very tasty. Much like the vanilla lavender, there is only a hint of lavender flavor, which adds a fruitiness as a opposed to a potpourri-ness.


I made my frosting from scratch again, this time adding some instant espresso powder (instant coffee works too) to it. For the border and flowers, which are chocolate frosting, I added unsweetened cocoa powder. You can find my vanilla frosting recipe here!

08/02/2012

Product Review: Wholesome Chow gluten-free lavender cake mix!  »

Wholesome Chow sent me a box of their gluten-free, organic, vegan cake mixes to bake and review. Being a professional vegan baker myself, I was so excited to play with their product! Gluten-free baking is not an easy venture.

Jeffery and Veronica sent me their seven-mix variety pack, which includes lavender, chocolate, vanilla, and chai spice cake mixes, an all-purpose baking mix, and a vanilla frosting mix. Being surrounded by baked goods all day at work, I don’t bake too much at home, so I decided to review each one for you as I make them.

I started with the lavender cake mix, because that is the one I was most iffy about. I usually don’t like lavender baked goods; they tend to taste like soap. However, Wholesome Chow has figured out the perfect vanilla-to-lavender taste ratio! The lavender gave the cake a fruitier flavor, as opposed to soap. Of course I had two of my trusty, non-vegan taste-testers with me, Britney and Dan. Neither of them were turned off by the lavender taste either!

Even though I bake for a living, I get really nervous to bake at home sometimes. What if my oven temperature is off? What if I overfill the cupcake tins? WHAT IF I BURN IT, THUS RENDERING MY REVIEW USELESS?! Happily, I can say that Wholesome Chow is Jenny-proof and Jenny-approved. All you have to do is add a non-dairy milk, vinegar, and oil. Then you mix, let sit for a few minutes, and bake!


I was extremely happy with the cupcakes I made. They baked beautifully and tasted amazing! I’m not a gluten-free connoisseur, and I felt as though these passed the non-Celiac sufferer test. I would eat and bake these again, not because they are gluten-free, but because they were easy to make and tasted delicious! I cannot wait to bake with their other products (chocolate cake, you are next).

Now for a little about my process. I turned on the oven, and while it was heating, I mixed my batter. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, I cannot stress the importance of buying one. Home ovens tend to be waaaaay off, and how will you know? Luckily ours is on point, which I would not have know if not for our trusty thermometer! As for the “milk” in my cupcakes, I used straight-up coconut milk. I think it adds a moistness that many vegan baked goods lack. Not the light stuff, either: the full-fat, canned coconut milk. I also used apple cider vinegar.

As for the frosting, I made mine from scratch. Earlier in the day, my social media friend Jen suggested I make blueberry frosting. I had made a blueberry pie the previous day and had filling leftover. PERFECT. Half of the lavender cupcakes got with blueberry frosting, and half got vanilla.

Buttercream frosting
Ingredients

1 cups organic vegetable shortening
1/2 Earth Balance buttery spread
3 - 4 very full cups organic powdered sugar (start with 3, mix, taste, add more)
1 very generous splash of vanilla extract (the higher the quality, the better your frosting will taste)
1 pinch of salt

Instructions
I mixed mine  with a hand mixer no more than 10 minutes, until obtaining desired fluffiness. If you have a stand mixer (I envy you very much), let it go for 20 to 30 minutes (with the paddle attachment) and you will have the lightest, fluffiest frosting than you ever thought possible. Add flavorings as desired. I added some blueberry filling, mixed, tasted, and added more until I got the flavor I wanted.

Wholesome Chow is available at a variety of retailers, and online. Check here to see if it’s at a location near you!

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