Make Those Valentine Sweets Yourself!

Kristina’s Bookshelf

Chocolate may be the surest way to a loved one’s heart. If that special someone is vegan, intolerant to dairy or gluten, or just enjoys creative chocolate confections made with natural sweeteners, you’ll want to check out some of these new books.

Bliss Bites: Vegan, Gluten- & Dairy-Free Treats from the Kenko Kitchen
By Kate Bradley
(Hardie Grant Books, 2018)

For super-sweet confections made without dairy or refined sugar, Kenkō Kitchen blogger Kate Bradley’s new cookbook is the place to go. The collection includes over 60 gluten-free, vegan, and plant-based recipes made from nuts, seeds, and fruits, all designed to be put together quickly. Her Bliss Balls, which include a chewy base of dried fruits combined with various spices, nuts, and seeds, require no cooking. Turkish Delight Bliss Balls can be prepared in 10 minutes from rosewater, dried cranberries, goji berries, dates, honey, and flax, all combined and rolled in crushed pistachio nuts. Date Night Truffles are made from Medjool dates, crunchy peanut butter, dark raw chocolate, and sea salt flakes or coconut “bacon.” Get Ya Glow On Bliss Balls, another no-cook delight, are made from seeds, bee pollen, cinnamon, turmeric, dates, and other tasty ingredients. Bradley even includes a recipe for Vegan Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits made from sweet potatoes, carrots, chickpea flour, and other healthy ingredients. Don’t eat nuts? Bradley offers suggestions for making the treats nut-free. You’ll find delicious, creative desserts, as well as good workout snacks.

Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution:
The Origins, the Makers, and the Mind-Blowing Flavors

By Megan Giller
(Storey Publishing, 2017)

Though it includes some recipes, this isn’t a cookbook as much as it is an exploration of the craft chocolate movement. Chock full of information about craft chocolate, this book, like many that Storey publishes, contains loads of sidebars, photos, tables, graphics, and other useful bits.

Pana Chocolate, the Recipes: Raw. Organic. Handmade. Vegan
By Pana Barbounis
(Hardie Grant Books, 2017)

Pana Chocolate presents over 70 recipes based around raw chocolate, which Barbounis explains is more nutrient-dense in its uncooked form. The book also shares the story of the business that has achieved a global following for its unique handmade chocolates and desserts that avoid preservatives and are all raw, organic, vegan, and free from dairy, gluten, soy, and refined sugar. It’s a varied collection of recipes for chocolate candies like Cardamom Dreams, a hard chocolate exterior filled with a soft, fragrant filling made of Medjool dates, coconut cream, cardamom pods, and cacao powder. Besides truffle confections, the book includes breakfast items like granolas, cereals, and grain bowls, as well as items especially for children. While ingredient lists are short-ish and preparation relatively manageable, these are the sorts of very refined, finished sweets you’d find in patisseries and restaurants.

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers