16 September 2010

Review: Rawmazing Desserts

I love curling up with a good book and I've read many that have left me hungry for more. But this was a first: from page one, I was drooling. And I mean that in all seriousness. My taste buds kicked into overdrive. Susan Powers' stunning photographs have that effect on people. If you've ever visited her website Rawmazing, how often have you had to restrain yourself from licking the computer screen? Be honest now.

With each turn of the page, her newly released book Rawmazing Desserts will no doubt have you salivating too. Every recipe is accompanied by a colorful, full-page photo. No shortage on eye candy here. No shortage of mouth candy either. In fact, there's even a section on Confections. Can I interest you in a Hazelnut Mint Truffle? Perhaps some Cacao Walnut Fudge? Oh yeah.

Other sections are devoted to Breads & Biscotti, Cookies, Cakes & Cupcakes, Custards & Mousses, Pies & Tarts, and Ice Cream, Sorbet & Frozen Treats. Ooooh, just writing that makes me giddy.

Sprinkled throughout the book are Susan's fabulous tips and tricks on storage and storage containers; soaking and "toasting" nuts; dehydrating; and using raw oat flour and flaked oats in recipes. She shares what's stocked in her pantry, and what "magic" pans she uses for her gorgeous tarts and cheesecakes.

And, hello, let's talk cheesecake for a minute. I consider myself a connoisseur. Susan's Orange Chocolate Cheesecake rivals any New York-style cheesecake I've had – creamy, smooth, rich, and absolutely delicious. You'll find no white sugar, white flour, eggs, cream or butter here. All of Susan's desserts are vegan, dairy free and gluten free. No bloating, no guilt, no sugar-induced lethargy.

Rawmazing, indeed. How can something made from just fruits, nuts and agave nectar look and taste so freaking good? That is Susan's gift and what makes her a master chef in my opinion.

In Rawmazing Desserts, you'll find over 40 recipes that look so much like their traditional counterparts, I challenge you to tell the difference. Now, have a bite. They taste even better. You'll be shaking your head and thinking, "This cannot be raw vegan" even though you just followed her easy-to-prepare instructions to the letter.

Did you catch that? Easy to prepare. For real. Not a lot of fuss here. Maybe a dozen or so recipes require a dehydrator. That's it.

So my large Hungarian clan gathered for dinner on Sunday. I decided to bring Susan's White/Dark Chocolate Raspberry Torte to share. Magyars love a good torte. This one is so easy (no dehydration required) and absolutely beautiful to behold.

Eldest Brother: "Ohmygod, this is fantastic!"

{ People with very full mouths agreeing with sounds of, "Mmmmm." }

Mother: "This tastes like Lucy used to make. Where'd you buy this?"

{ Note: Lucy was the Hungarian baker in the "old" neighborhood. }

Me: "I made it! It's raw vegan. No sugar. No dairy. No baking."

"No way!" exclaims my Hungarian clan in unison.

There you go. If you can fool these folks, you can fool anyone. Buh-lieve me, there are no harsher critics to be found.

Treat yourself, your family, your friends. Rawmazing Desserts. I can't think of a more appropriate title.


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