Effortless Eggless Baking: A Wonderful Comfort Companion for Winter

Taking a fresh cookbook home from the library is a treat at any time of the year but in the darkest months (February – I am looking right at you) it can be especially helpful even if it just means flipping through pages that highlight a celebrity’s gleaming kitchen counter. After twenty minutes with one of those pretty books I feel refreshed and better able to face all that mid-winter has to throw at me. When one of these cookbooks yields useful recipes, it is far better and I can’t stop talking about it to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen to me. 

This happened to me with the enthusiastically titled Effortless Eggless Baking: 100 Easy & Creative Recipes for Baking Without Eggs by Mimi Council. I wouldn’t go so far as to agree that the recipes included are ‘effortless’ but they were no more complicated than any you would have seen in any cookbook you saw on the shelves when you were growing up. The author is a fan of recipe experimentation so each one included has recommendations for making the bakes vegan, gluten-free, and for baking at high altitudes (she lives in Mammoth Lakes, CA) and the super talky bit at the beginning of the cookbook is pleasant, not too long, and filled with helpful tips and explanations. Unlike the many egg-free recipes that I have tried in the past, she has set out to create something that tastes a lot like a cookie, cake, loaf or bar that would usually have had eggs in it, rather than just producing an approximation of a baked good–and, from the recipes I have tried so far, it absolutely worked! 

In the past I have tried to substitute quite a few things for eggs, including applesauce, bananas, commercial egg replacement products, chia and flax seeds – and even used a bit of alchemy which combined several of these at once – but rarely have I had as much success as I did with the recipes that Mimi includes in this book. She isn’t going for low-calorie baking in this cookbook. In more than one recipe she includes butter, full-fat sour cream, and full-fat milk plus everything else that makes a baked good turn out like the sugar, chocolate and sprinkles but, let me tell you, it was all worth it! I made two different loaves from her cookbook that were so successful that I made them again a week later because we liked them so much and her brownie recipe?  Well, I have never successfully made an egg-free brownie in the twenty years that I have been experimenting (that’s a lot of gorgeous chocolate sacrificed to the green bin), and her brownies were so incredible that we have made two batches and even served them to people who don’t live in our house.  We can finally share our baking with others – the ultimate test of a recipe.   

The design of the cookbook is bright and clean with photographs of every bake and the friendly chatter shared at the beginning of the recipe is often ingredient or recipe specific and not all filled with extraneous information about her life.  This is the perfect book for someone who requires egg-free baking but it is also an excellent resource to have in your back pocket for days when you happen to be out of eggs/milk or if you have guests coming who are vegan or have other dietary restrictions because she includes great tips in the introduction.  I would normally suggest that readers rush out and place a hold on the book but I have it on my kitchen counter right now and I still haven’t tried the biscotti.  So, maybe give me another week?