Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Kelly Peloza Interview: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur
Today I'm very excited to share an interview with cookbook author Kelly Peloza! Kelly is the author of the amazing book The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, a must have for anyone that loves cookies (that's everyone, right?!?) A big thanks to Kelly for taking the time to answer a few of my questions! Without further ado, please enjoy the following interview:
1. How long have you been vegan and what inspired you to start?
I've been vegan for nearly 6 years now. I have always loved animals and made the connection between animals and the food we eat, then started to experiment with vegetarianism at age 10. I didn't really know what to eat or how to cook for myself at such a young age, so it only lasted a year. I revisited vegetarianism when I was 14, learned more about factory farming and what's in our food, then became vegan a few months later and have been ever since.
2. If you were baking cookies for a group of people who had never tasted vegan cookies, which recipes from your book would you choose?
I would bake the giant bakery style double chocolate chip cookies. They're easy to make, familiar, extremely fudgy, and decadent, just the qualities that will win over a wary omnivore. Another favorite is the chocolate peppermint cream bars to really wow them.
3. What are your baking staples that you always have on hand in your pantry or fridge?
Flour, sugar, oil, baking powder/soda, chocolate chips, cocoa, vanilla, and a big tub of Earth Balance margarine.
4. While working on The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur book, were there any cookies that were epic fails, or flavor combinations that sounded better in your head than they ended up tasting? I always wonder about the recipes that don't make it to the final book.
I had the idea to make Bloody Mary Cookies, with every component of the drink included in the cookie. It was mostly a joke, but they actually weren't horrendous. I'll probably revisit the idea with scones instead.
There weren't too many recipes that didn't make the final cut. I remember there was one that just had way too much going on: cocoa, pistachios, chocolate chips, nuts, dried cherries, and maybe even apricots. There are also quite a few recipes I wanted to include but simply didn't have the extra time to create more new recipes, like rainbow cookies and some other veganized versions of packaged cookies.
5. What are your top 3 essential cookbooks that everyone should have in their collection?
It's so hard to pick just three! My first vegan cookbook was Vegan with a Vengeance, so that definitely is my number one. It's approachable, but still requires making food from scratch. It would be a great way for a new vegan to learn different kitchen techniques and have fun with it.
Veganomicon, for the vast array of different dishes, and you can never go wrong with an Isa/Terry book.
Third, everyone needs a few dessert books in their collection!
6. You're known for your sweet treats, but what are some of your favorite savory dishes to prepare?
My favorite cuisines when dining out are Ethiopian, Indian, and Thai. At home, I like making a lot of stir fries, Italian food, hummus, grilled sandwiches, and scrambles.
7. Are you working on another book or other exciting project?
I just started writing a few recipes for a new book. It will include cookies, but it's definitely not all cookies again! Once I get all the details ironed out, I'll announce exactly what it is. I can promise it won't take as long this time around since the book writing process is a lot clearer now!
As for other projects, I'm revamping the design of my blogs, working on proposing to bake for local vegan-friendly restaurants and shops that don't have vegan baked goods (yet!) and offer catering services, maybe write a new zine or two, getting involved in as many events and bake sales as possible, and taking any opportunities that present themselves. It's going to be a busy summer!
Kelly Peloza's book The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur is available in bookstores, in her online shop, and at all major online retailers.