a hot topic: what do you think?

12 Nov

It’s Fridaaaaaaaay!

Another rainy day here and my heart is telling me to go curl up on the couch and take a nap.  Oh, the dangers of working from home.

There is no time for naps today, though because the husband and I are off to visit mom and dad McCoy for the weekend!  This means lots of relaxing, game playing, good eating and the best part – just feeling at home 🙂  But first, there will be packing.

I couldn’t possibly leave you high and dry after teasing you with chocolate last night, though.  That would be cruel.

Vegan Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins
from Vegan with a Vengeance via this site


  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershe’s dark chocolate, and it is to die for)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant coffee powder (I used a Starbucks Via sample)
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbsp soy yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • as many (vegan) chocolate chips as you want!


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and grease a muffin tin or line with muffin liners
  • Sift together all dry ingredients except the coffee.  Then mix in the coffee.
  • Whisk together all wet ingredients.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well.
  • Dump in chocolate chips and mix well.
  • Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

A few things worth noting:

First.  This is the most delicious vegan dessert I’ve ever baked or eaten.  Ever.  It is so moist and soft…just as delicious or more so than any non-vegan dessert I’ve ever had.  And the husband can vouch for that as well.   I think I may have to order Vegan with a Vengeance as soon as possible.

Second.  Next time I might try using whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose, softened Earth Balance instead of oil and more coffee powder.  Might is the key word because these muffins are so delicious I would die if I messed them up!

Third.  I have only recently thought about the fact that it might not be a good idea to post a recipe if said recipe comes straight from a cookbook.  I honestly never really thought about it until now.  I found this recipe on a website and didn’t realize that it actually came from a cookbook until about 5 minutes ago.  Considering I had already taunted you with it last night, I couldn’t bear not delivering you the recipe.

But I really want to hear your thoughts on this issue.  I can see both sides.  On one hand, if a blogger posts a recipe that is from a cookbook, then readers have no reason to go buy the book because they can just access the recipe for free online. This could quite possibly hinder book sales, and when it comes down to it could probably be considered stealing, even if credit is given to the book.

On the other hand, now that I have had a chance to try this recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, I am hugely motivated to go purchase the book now because I want to bake/cook every other recipe in it! Obviously, this is a way to increase book sales for the author by generating interest in her book.

I found an interesting article from another blogger on this issue.  Here is an excerpt (entire post found here) from what he has to say in regard to publishing recipes via blogs:

“If it’s from a book, it’s acceptable to use a recipe, as long as credit is given and the person changes the language of the recipe to personalize it…When you adapt a recipe from another source, you do not need permission to adapt the recipe. But it’s considered proper etiquette to acknowledge the source. You should not reprint a published recipe word-for-word, which can be construed as a violation of copyright infringement.”

This brings us to another issue – when is a recipe considered to have been adapted?  How much do you have to change in order to say you adapted it?  Where do you draw that line?

Honestly, I most enjoy creating my own recipes because it’s such fun and brings so much satisfaction.  That being said, I think part of the process of becoming more competent at baking/cooking is gaining inspiration and experience by using other people’s recipes as well.  It’s all a part of the process for me.  I don’t know where we would all be if it wasn’t for sharing recipes and learning new ideas from others.

I would never post a recipe here and not give full credit to where it came from, but lately I’m beginning to wonder if that’s enough?  According to the excerpt above, as long as the directions are written in the blogger’s own words, it is perfectly acceptable (legal at least) to publish it, as long as credit is given.

What do you think?  Do you think it is ethical to post a recipe with little to no adaptations, as long as you write it in your own words?  When do you consider a recipe to have been adapted?

I hope you all have a wonderful, fantastic, refreshing and relaxing start to your weekend!


15 Responses to “a hot topic: what do you think?”

  1. Heather (Where's the Beach) November 12, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    I think it goes back to being ethical and honest. If you get a recipe from another blogger or cookbook you must must must acknowledge them, link to them, whatever it takes to show that it’s theirs not yours. Just as you would with essays and research papers. I think the problem really has come down to people not thinking to include where they got the recipe from and just posting it then it looks like they made it up. Like it’s their recipe when it’s not Then they end up getting credit. That’s wrong. So what it seems to be coming down to is that you can’t post someone’s recipe but have to link back. In some ways that’s good, but in other ways, well, not so good b/c lots of times people won’t take the time for the extra click.

    I personally don’t mind if someone posts my recipe as long as they say that it’s mine and they link back to me as well.

  2. Halley (Blunder Construction) November 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    The world we live in is so interconnected and information is readily accessible. I think your question is an important one, but it could be applied to so many current debates about sharing: music, pictures, personal information (like Facebook). I think the best we can do is to continue to share information, and credit the minds behind it. It’s impossible to tell what’s right/what’s wrong nowadays because the answer is ever-evolving. Sidenote: I wish I wasn’t allergic to soy or those muffins would be in my oven right now!

    • candice November 15, 2010 at 8:51 am #

      What a great point about there being so many areas where this could be applied – so so true. Thanks for your thoughts:)

      Also – you could you try making the muffins with almond milk or cow’s milk?!

  3. Kristina @ spabettie November 12, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    these look AWESOME !

    I agree that a recipe may increase sales of a book – if you love it, you want MORE ! I would never post a recipe from a book that was not already out there on another website, like this one was.

    If I use someone’s recipe, I talk about them and link back to their blog, not reprinting the recipe, only listing substitutions. If a recipe is inspired by someone, I say that, and share the recipe I wrote (but I want it to be MUCH different than theirs).

    That said, there are most likely few original ideas floating around, and we know them when we see them. I posted a recipe recently, that I had several tries before I completed it. I then saw (on a blog I just found) that they posted a recipe similar to mine the day before I found them! 🙂 Coincidences happen a lot.

    • candice November 15, 2010 at 8:54 am #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. How crazy that you saw your exact same recipe posted, although depending on what the item is, it seems that many recipes have a lot of overlap. I think it’s nearly impossible to be completely original. But I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing!

  4. Sarah November 12, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    This is a tricky one, and even though I no longer blog I think about it quite a bit. Some of my favourite bloggers are constantly posted “adapted” recipes, but I don’t consider a recipe adapted if you just subbed out some flour or used different nuts and fruits, etc. To me, the recipe is still the original authors unless you significantly change the ratio of the ingredients. Even if you make it vegan, for instance, by subbing out the eggs for an egg substitute, I don’t think that it’s really adapted. Bloggers do this all the time, and while I understand where they’re coming from (and I usually see them cite the original, somewhere in the post), I think more credit needs to go to the original authors. That said, I don’t know exactly how bloggers could go about it! I know that a lot of authors are happy for people to post their recipes, as long as they give a plug for the book (and that’s more than just a little link, in my opinion). I don’t think it’s necessarily unethical to post recipes from other authors, but I do think that it’s bad form if it’s done all the time and especially if the recipe is not elsewhere on the net. This is where it gets tricky with books like Vegan with a Vengeance or Dreena Burton’s recipes. These authors often post their own recipes online. When they do, I think it’s best to link to their sites where it is posted, but still add your own narrative because, after all the narrative is the best part! That’s why I read your blog and so many others.

    I’ve rambled on long enough, but the other tricky bit in all of this that I think about is that most recipes are essentially variations on the same ingredients anyway. Especially baked goods. Sometimes it can be hard for bloggers to even give credence to one particular source because they’ve really just taken other recipes they’ve made before or looked at online and worked from there. It’s a tricky situation.

    One more thing: BUY Vegan with a Vengeance. Best vegan cookbook in my collection (and I have a HUGE collection). I know everyone loves Veganomicon, but my heart still lies with VwaV (the pet name many people give it). You can get it for such a great price too 🙂

    • candice November 15, 2010 at 8:57 am #

      Wow, I love your insight on this.

      “I don’t think it’s necessarily unethical to post recipes from other authors, but I do think that it’s bad form if it’s done all the time and especially if the recipe is not elsewhere on the net.”

      I totally agree with this thought – I think posting one or two recipes from a book and giving a plug for the book can be great exposure for the author, but if recipes from the same book are posted over and over, the point is kind of lost because there’s no longer a real need to buy the book.

      And thanks for the recommendation – I’ve now put it on my Christmas list!!

  5. amber@SAHM's musings November 13, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    These look absolutely delish! As for the hot topic I’d say that as long as you state your source it’d be ok but I’m no legal eagle. I don’t know what the diff would be quoting someone, you know? I posted that quiche recipe on my site but I found it already posted by another site of a writer that did a review of the book and posted the reviewed recipe. If I don’t find the recipe already on the web then I usually don’t post it but tell people where to find it.

    On a completely other note you wrote something way back about your library habits and I had to laugh b/c it was just like me. Furthermore the quiche flavors would probably be delish as a side dish minus the eggs if you sauteed the onions & garlic then the spinach and topped with parmesean but then again I don’t think you eat much cheese either unless it’s vegan. Just a thought though.

    • candice November 15, 2010 at 9:02 am #

      “I’m no legal eagle” – haha! Never heard that phrase before, but I like it:)

      Glad to know I’m not alone in my sloppy library habits. And speaking of the library, I think I need to make a trip down there soon…

      I have a great vegan cheese I could possibly use – wonder if it would work? It sounds good at least!

  6. Lisa @ I'm an Okie November 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    Ya know, I never really thought about it.

    I hardly make my own recipes *just not confident enough in the kitchen yet* and I am sure in the past I have copied a recipe–but I do always give credit to what book the recipe was found in.

    Most of the recipes I make know are from other blogs and I do the same thing that Spabettie does.

    • candice November 15, 2010 at 9:04 am #

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who never really thought about it until recently. I feel kind of bad because I’ve posted several whole recipes from Eat Drink and Be Vegan (with a link to the book), without even giving it a second thought. oops! I guess all I can do is be better about it from now on!

      btw – thanks for the sweet reply to my comment (about skin) on your blog the other day – made me feel so good:)

  7. salah@myhealthiestlifestyle November 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    those look so fabulous!!! I’ve never really thought about this. I usually link to the place I got the recipe from or state the book the recipe was derived from 🙂

    • candice November 17, 2010 at 8:15 am #


  8. kate November 15, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

    I read somewhere that the recipe isnt the ingredients or ratios of ingredients but instead the how-to description. I think if you use a recipe for inspiration and add your own flare and switch up the ratios its just that – inspiration and not copying.

    • candice November 17, 2010 at 8:16 am #

      I read that for the first time right before I wrote this post – so interesting I think. I had never thought about that before. I like the simplicity of your take on this:)

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