This review is special. Like, EXTRA SPECIAL. Because this wonderful person, Vanessa from the blog Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind has finally come out with her first cookbook…wait for it….Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind! Genius. And not only does Vanessa come up with the most creative and delicious recipes out there that I have tried many times made by hers truly, but she is one of my close friends who has seriously made my life better. She’s my spirit animal. I truly mean that. She and I can sit next to each other, making random noises like it’s a second language, and it will make complete sense to both of us. We’re both weird as fuuu so we get along blissfully.
Anyways, I met Vanessa just last year while writing my second cookbook. I instantly loved her. She’s bubbly, she’s vivacious, and she came in with her Reese’s Cheesecake in tow and I about died with how perfect it was. She was just such an incredible cook with this personality that wouldn’t stop. I love it. We laughed, got a champagne buzz, and we talked food. It was the perfect relationship. So perfect that we stayed in touch, doing fun things, bouncing recipe ideas off of each other. And in the end, when she began creating her first cookbook that made we swoon with recipes like S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies and Better Than Box Brownies, I ended up writing the foreword for her book. I about cried writing it because I adore this woman so much, and may even adore her recipes even more.
Ok, I’ll stop. You don’t care how much I love her, do you? Of course not. We’re talking about her new book here, that’s what’s really important. So, Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind is Vanessa’s first cookbook that is filled with over 150 paleo and gluten free recipes that are created from her insane brain. Here are just a handful of recipes you’ll get in the book:
- French Onion & Bacon Tart
- Pizza Soup
- S’mores bars, pie, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches (you see the trend here, don’t you? she’s s’mores obsessed)
- Salted Caramel Ice Cream
- French Macarons
- Death by Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Covered Toffee
And that’s just to name a few. How creative are those recipes? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Her recipes keep getting more creative and more beautiful with every turn of the page.
But wait, we need to talk about the photography. Unless you’re a person who collects cookbooks or just a person who is obsessed with food, I think you forget about how important photography is. Photography is everything. And Vanessa has it all. She worked HER ASS OFF to not only create every single one of these perfect recipes in her tiny ass kitchen, but she also photographed every single one of her recipes in the meantime. All by herself. I don’t think people understand how difficult that is. But just think about when you melt a bowl of chocolate and how it hardens in the bowl while it waits to be cleaned. Now multiply that bowl by 10, then add 5 baking pans, and 12 mixing bowls, and 100 spoons. And imagine that clutter while trying to photograph and not completely lose your mind at the same time. That’s what Vanessa did because she’s a badass.
But not only did she make, perfect, create and photograph every single one of these recipes, she also put a tremendous amount of effort into the front matter of the book. She shares all the cookware and bakeware she uses in her own kitchen, the flours, chocolates, sweeteners, and all kinds of other items she uses and where she finds them, how to troubleshoot an issue that may happen while baking, and how to make the kitchen work for you, such as making something ahead of time to make life simpler later on!
So here’s the thing, Vanessa’ new book is completely stunning, creative, and absolutely delicious. Believe me, I’ve tried many of her recipes. She worked her butt off for this book and everyone deserves to know about it and be able to sport it in their own kitchen! So do yourself a favor, especially before the holidays are here, and buy this book right now! You are going to absolutely love it! And while you’re waiting for your book to arrive, try out this delicious recipe!
- 1 cup (130 g) cashew meal (see Notes)
- 1 cup (48 g) unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup (90 g) golden flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coconut flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces/70 g) cold salted butter
- 1/4 cup (38 g) coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup (30 g) date sugar
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
For the frosting
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) melted coconut butter
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside. (Note: If working with one baking sheet, allow to completely cool between batches.)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cashew meal, coconut flakes, flax meal, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda. Stir together using a fork until well combined; set aside.
- Place the butter, coconut sugar, date sugar, honey, and vanilla in a separate medium-sized mixing bowl. Cream together with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Once combined, add the egg and increase the mixer speed to medium. Continue beating until smooth ripples appear on the surface, about 1 minute. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the creamed butter mixture into the dry mixture and beat on low until combined.
- Place a 2-inch (5-cm) square-shaped cookie cutter or Wilton size B on a lined baking sheet and press the dough into it evenly, about halfway up the sides. (If working without a square cookie cutter, see Notes for other options.) Repeat with additional dough, leaving about 2 inches (5 cm) between cookies or 6 per sheet, the dough will rise and spread. Repeat the process until no dough remains. Bake each sheet separately for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges and bottoms are golden brown. Remove parchment from the baking sheet and let cool.
- Once the squares are cool, spread the coconut butter across the top of each cookie using a butter knife and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to harden and set. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Let thaw for about 15 minutes or so before serving.
If you don’t have square cookie cutters, another method to form the squares is to roll a spoonful of dough into a 2-inch (5-cm) ball, press it down with your palm, and shape into a square. Or use a greased brownie pan. Press the dough into the slots and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
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