Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mimi Clark's Cooking Class with Emily Mainquist

Mimi Clark is a local chef who I've seen around from time to time. She does a lot of demos, develops recipes for restaurants and manufacturers, and conducts her own cooking classes. When I heard that she was going to have Emily Mainquist of Emily's Desserts as the guest chef, I quickly signed up for the class. I met Emily at her bakery back when she had a storefront in Baltimore, MD. I've also tasted her delectable desserts at Roots, a grocery store in Maryland, and they are all delicious.

Mimi's class is out in Fairfax Station, Virginia, which is a long drive outside of DC -- about 40 minutes. When I arrived, she showed me to the kitchen where she had chairs set up for about 12-15 people. She had many cookbooks and products on display for our perusal. By 10 a.m., almost everyone had arrived so she went ahead and got started. She introduced many of the food items she had on display and gave us a list of the "sponsors" of this class who had donated the products. We started off with a sampler plate of many of the items she had on display. My favorite items were the Sheese vegan cheese and Galaxy cream cheese, both of which I hadn't tried before.

After that, Mimi got to cooking. She demonstrated how to make 4 desserts, then allowed us to taste each one. She had already prepared the desserts in advance. She started with the No-Bake Key Lime Pie, which was my favorite of her recipes.  She also made Brown Rice Crispy Squares, Tamari-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Vegan Ice Cream. I really appreciated her tips on how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.

The second half of the class was dedicated to Emily, who demonstrated 3 of the recipes from her new cookbook, Sweet Vegan. She started off by making a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake. This cheesecake had layers of chocolate chip cookie dough with a cheesecake filling. It was soooo good!

Next, she made Peanut Butter Brownies, which were my favorite. These brownies were very moist and flaky. I will be making these on my own in the near future!

Lastly, she made Peach Biscuits. These looked incredibly complicated, but Emily whipped through it in just minutes! She is really good.

Peach Biscuits from Sweet Vegan by Emily Mainquist
10 servings

Ingredients for Biscuits
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tblsp butter substitute
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
Ingredients for Fruit Topping
  • 4 large peaches
  • 3 Tblsp apricot preserves
  • 1 Tblsp water
Ingredients for Coating
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups butter substitute
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. First make the biscuits: Using a mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and blend at medium speed.  Then, add the butter substitute 1T at a time, waiting 5 seconds after each addition. Add the soy milk and beat the dough on medium speed until a soft dough has formed.  Take the dough out and put it on a lightly floured work surface, then roll it to 1/2-inch thick. Cut it with a 4-inch round cookie cutter. Continue until you've used most of the dough. Set aside.
  3. Cut the peaches into 1/4-inch thick slices
  4. Then, make the coating: mix the cane juice and cinnamon in a bowl. Melt the butter substitute in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute. Dip the biscuits into the butter, then in the cinnamon sugar, and place on a 10 x 15-inch cookie tray.
  5. Create a well in each biscuit using your fingers. Arrange 3-4 sliced peaches in each well. Sprinkle with any remaining cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the apricot preserves with the water in a microwave-safe dish for 20-seconds, then spread onto the warm biscuits before serving.

It was great to see Emily in action. She is an amazingly talented baker and her book is great. There are even pictures of each and every dessert!  You can buy her book at Amazon by clicking this link: Sweet Vegan.

At the end of the class, Mimi gave us all coupons and samples of food products. Emily signed her cookbooks and we all stayed for a while and chatted.

All in all, I think Mimi's classes are good classes for individuals new to vegan cooking/baking. Mimi does a good job of demonstrating how to prepare each dish, though she does go through the recipes very quickly. I think her students would get more out of the classes if she slowed down and took the time to explain each step in detail and allowed for more interaction. I, personally, prefer hands-on cooking classes where I have the opportunity to cook, but, like I said, these are good classes for new vegans, but not necessarily for seasoned vegans.  To see her schedule of classes, click here.


  1. Thank you for the review. I just signed up for the January soups & stews class and was looking for information. Very informative! If you have any class recommendations please let me know, I'm so eager to learn.

  2. Very nice! Please let me know how you liked it. Other classes I enjoy taking are at the Whole Foods Markets in DC. Enjoy!

  3. Just came back from Mimi's Meatless Makeover class. What a horror! It seemed as if she was selling us at all times, at first her own classes, then all matters of products that she 'endorsed'. Almost everything used was processed and tasted very salty to me (I've been a vegetarian for 30 years). In addition, she was very rigid, almost cruel to class members, insisting that they register in advance and send a check well in advance of class. When an unregistered class person came to class, she angrily tried to send them home even though they had driven 45 minutes to get there. Combine shameless huckstering, bad food, rigidity, and no opportunity for participants to cook and you get a pretty good waste of 3 hours and $55.