I recieved sun-dried cherries, sun-dried blueberries, sun-dried cranberries, hazlenut paste, organic cocoa nibs, crystallized maple syrup, extra bold amber cocoa powder, chestnut purée and lavender blossom honey. Sounds amazing right? But way too much to handle in one post, so I will split it up into a few different posts. Many of these ingredients are new to my kitchen so it has been a bit of a learning opportunity for me too! I'm really excited to taste the lavender honey and maybe try my hand at a chestnut pavlova cake!
I started by testing out the cocoa powder and hazlenut paste. I decided to use them both in my GF banana chocolate chip muffins. I added 3 Tbsp cocoa powder and 2 1/2 Tbsp hazlenut paste, hoping to create a kind of Nutella flavour. It turned out amazing! I've been having one with warm milk for a bedtime snack every night since I made them :D
I have never had the opportunity to use this Italian ingredient, and after doing a quick taste test, I considered eating the jar by the spoonful. It tastes just like the inside of those hedgehog chocolates, except not really sweet. Really, really good. I knew it would pair great with a chocolate flavour... and would probably be delicious spread over some GF toast. I think it would also make an amazing in a GF chocolate hazlenut biscotti. That is definitely on my to do list now. It's very rich and smooth, so a little goes a long way. I would love to get my hands on more of this stuff!
As the name implies, it is a very rich, flavourful cocoa powder. The colour is a deep reddish-brown and the flavour is smooth, dark and bitter. A little went a long way in my banana chocolate chip muffins, and the dark colour and taste was amazing in Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites. Definitely a high quality cocoa powder.
I created a new recipe to incorporate the cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and sun-dried cherries. I've made energy bites before, but for some reason these Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites were disappearing in a fraction of the time. I used mini chocolate chips along with the cocoa nibs to balance out some of the bitterness. I have enough leftover ingredients to make this recipe again, and I will!
I've had dried cherries in the past, but to my knowledge, never sun-dried cherries. They are so much better! I was expecting them to be sour and firm, but they were flavourful, soft and sweet. Another ingredient that I could eat as is. They would be great in trail mix, granola, or baked into scones or muffins. I used them in my Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites.
Again, I've never worked with this ingredient in baking. I've tasted cocoa nibs in store bought products, but never purchased them on their own. I usually see them in granola bars or chocolate, so I tried to use them in a similar way (in the Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites). I only used a tablespoon because the flavour is intense and they are very crunchy. A little goes a long way, a truth I am repeatedly discovering in all of the gourmet Qualifirst ingredients.
Cocoa nibs are made from cocoa beans that have been dried and roasted. They contain magnesium, fibre, iron and antioxidants - basically all the health benefits that are attributed to dark chocolate, and more. And as an added bonus, these ones are also organic!
I'm loving everything I've tried so far! My Qualifirst review will continue in another post :)
Disclaimer: The products were sent to me free of charge. All opinions are my own.