The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

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Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Agave nectar sweetened vegan cupcakes

My childhood friend Summer Genetti is the pastry chef at Chalk. I met up with her shortly after the Covington eatery's opening earlier this year and sampled her vegan chocolate cupcake, one of five mini treats served in her signature Flight of Cupcakes. If I hadn't known in advance the cupcake was vegan, I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference. Most diners don't either, said Summer.

All of which makes this vegan chocolate peanut butter mousse-filled cupcake recipe tempting to try this April Fool's Day. But you don't have to be vegan to try and enjoy a vegan recipe; the cupcakes are made without dairy, eggs and sugar, so they're cholesterol-free and diabetic-friendly, too. The sweetener here is low-glycemic agave nectar.

The recipe comes from Ania Catalano, author of the new "Baking With Agave Nectar," featuring more than 100 agave-centric recipes, many of which are vegan, gluten-free or both. I've never experimented with agave nectar, but this cupcake recipe looks and sounds so good it may just be the time to try it.

Anyone ever use agave nectar? Do you have any recipes or tips to share?


at 12:28 PM Blogger Cin Twin1 said...

Where do you buy Agave nectar? At Whole Foods or Trader Joe's? Does Jungle Jim's carry it?

at 12:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice timing..my wife and I just came back from a week in Arizona. At the Desert Museum in Tucson someone there was talking about this. We could have gotten some at the museum store but it was crowded. Never found any again the entire trip!

at 1:08 PM Blogger Stepf said...

Not sure about Jungle Jim's or Trader Joe's, but natural food stores and Whole Foods carry it.
I've been meaning to try it... my new baking bible is the joy of vegan baking. I usually try to cut the sugar in recipes when I can. Most of the time, you can cut the amount in half with few side effects. (Cookies, carrot cake, and chocolate cake are the three I routinely do this with.)

at 2:55 PM Blogger liberal foodie said...

Jungle Jim's has it for sure. It's a healthier replacement for sugar. Whenever I go to a vegan friend's house, she doesn't keep processed sugar so I add agave nectar or turbinado to my coffee.

at 3:51 PM Blogger Rachel said...

Oh, oh, I just found it. Summer gave me her recipe for her vegan chocolate cupcakes. Email me if you want it at rrichardson (at) cincinnati.com

at 4:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agave nectar is available almost everywhere these days, including Kroger's in Anderson Twp.

at 4:52 PM Anonymous Mary D said...

The Biggs in Delhi carries it, in their remodeled and expanded organic department.

at 1:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summer's pastry work is good, but waaaay overrated. Still, her stuff is far, far better than anything coming out of the Bonbonerie, where the cakes' sweetness overpowers their flavor.

at 2:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about Bonbonerie. I don't get the obsession with them. Everything I've ever had from there tasted pretty much the same: Like sugar. And tons of it.

at 1:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Food Fascists don't approve of using sugar.

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