Cakes, cobblers, puddings, cookies, fillings and frostings (do I have your attention now?) without dairy, eggs, and butter? What? Are you serious?! Yes, she is! Who is she? She is Fran Costigan, an extraordinary vegan dessert chef acclaimed for her delectable culinary creations. Fran Costigan also has a Vegan Baking Boot Camp at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, which sells out in a flash every time.
In Fran’s book More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally, Fran shares yummy vegan recipes for treats and sweets of all kinds. Her book is my favorite dessert cookbook because it demystifies vegan baking, breaks it down for the average Joe or Josephine. Her precision and extensive expertise make this a valuable dessert cookbook for even professional chefs as well.
In More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally you’ll learn about the many different ways to replace eggs in a vegan recipe. She outlines all the sweeteners and fats that are good to use in baking and when to use one over the other. Her recipes are easy to follow and not too complex to prepare. Her vanilla cupcakes are some of the best I’ve ever had.
Her Chocolate Cake to Live For is SO amazing! I made it for my vegan and non-vegan (very much omnivores) friends and they were all pretty much blown away at how great it was and not just great for being vegan but just awesome, no qualifiers. From experienced chefs to the everyday cook, this book is for everyone.
Fran’s casual, conversational way of writing makes reading her book fun and entertaining in addition to being highly educational. Her book is a veritable course in vegan baking. I rarely read a cooking book. I’m a bit of a just go straight to the recipes kind of girl when it comes to cookbooks, but I found myself devouring the first chapter which goes into everything you need to know about how to bake without dairy and eggs. That said, you actually can skip over this section all together and go direct to any recipe as everything you need to know that pertains to that recipe will be spelled out succinctly and clearly.
Having had the pleasure of meeting Fran, it all makes sense. She takes an easy going, fun, and creative approach to things but make no mistake about it, baking requires precision.
She was a guest on the Discovery Health Channel show “Get Fresh With Sara Snow” where she made her “Chocolate Cake to Live For”. It was great fun to see her doing her thing. She slams down the pan and gives it a spin before placing her cakes in the oven.
Fran’s creations are both decadent and healthy. Her desserts contain no trans fat and are cholesterol free (one of the benefits of vegan desserts). They are rich in flavor yet not overdone with fats and sugars. She uses just the right amount necessary to knock your socks off. If you’ve ever thought you can’t make awesome desserts without animal products, check out Fran’s book.
Fran is now busy in intense recipe testing mode for her new vegan desserts cookbook slated for a fall 2013 release.
Sharon Nazarian, co-founder of the vegan lifestyle website BigCityVegan.com (a multi-media blog and shopping destination for all things vegan), is a vegan food-loving fashionista with a passion for helping others live happier, healthier lives. She is also an accomplished speaker on social media.