Friday, December 09, 2005

Things That Make You Go... Mmmm!

Ok, this is the first of many product reviews involving chocolate! I love chocolate, and I eat a little every day. Yes, every day! With a good quality dark chocolate, you only need a little to satisfy that chocolate indulgence. Plus, it is the dark chocolate that has all those healthy antioxidants reported in studies... not milk chocolate!

I am always trying different dark chocolate bars. One of my favorites are the line of Endangered Species bars. Not all of their flavors are vegan, but many are. My personal favorites by far are the:

Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs ('Bat Bar')
Extreme Dark Chocolate with 88% Cocoa ('Black Panther Bar')
Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans ('Tiger Bar')

I love each of these flavors for different reasons. The cocoa nibs bar is very unique with actual crushed bits of the cocoa nib in the bar (the nib is inside of the cocoa bean that is ground into the cocoa 'liquor'). Divine! I love the intensity of the extreme 88% cocoa bar when I want that true deep cocoa hit! As for the espresso beans bar... it's funny because I don't drink coffee, I have never liked it. But, I have always loved the aroma of coffee and coffee flavored sweets. Dipping pieces of this bar into my hot green or rooibos tea is a morning indulgence!

Ask Santa to please pop one or two of these fabulous bars in your stocking, or if you can't wait that long, treat yourself!!


juliehasson said...

Hi Dreena,

I'll have to give the chocolate a try. I haven't tried that brand before.

I have a question for you about your lemon pie recipe. Can I substitute equal parts Mori Nu silken tofu for the soft tofu? I want to make the pie this weekend and am wondering if it will work.


Dreena said...

Hi Julie,

Absolutely you can substitute with mori-nu. Best if you have the 'soft' mori-nu. But, if you have the firm mori-nu, use just under 1 1/4 cups (about 2 TB less), and then add back about 2 TB of soy milk to the mixture... just for that less-dense texture.

Good luck... I'd love to know how it comes out and what you think of it!

juliehasson said...

Thanks Dreena! I can't wait to try it!


juliehasson said...

Yum! Yum! Yum! Your lemon pie is fabulous! I used the Mori Nu silken firm tofu, and reduced it by 2 tablespoons like you suggested. But instead of adding 2 tablespoons of soy milk, I added 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. I also added a drop of vanilla paste to the vanilla pudding topping. That pie is scrumptious Dreena!!

Dreena said...

awww, wow, thanks Julie! I am so pleased that you like the pie. I have to ask you about vanilla paste... this is new to me. I have used vanilla beans (and LOVE them), but I haven't seen paste before. Is it much like a pure vanilla extract, but more concentrated? What is the brand?

Mal said...

I somehow found my way over here from the Vegan Lunchbox. I'm really likin' the blog. I'll have to order your book for Christmas!

Is that your daughter in the pic? She's such a cutie!

juliehasson said...

The vanilla paste is something that I buy at Trader Joes (their own brand label) but Nielsen Massey makes it as well. It's a thick, pure vanilla extract with little flecks of the seeds in it. I find that it adds a more concentrated vanilla flavor to recipes. It was great in the pie topping!

While were on the topic of flavors, have you used the Boyajian citrus oils? They add an amazing citrus kick to recipes as well (pure pressed oil from lemon, orange, lime and grapefruit). They're a fun flavoring to add to recipes too.

Dreena said...

Hi Mal! I've seen you on the lunchbox scene as well... thanks for dropping by! Yes, that's our older daughter - she was 3 1/2 in that photo. How many times we had our hands in that cookie batter that day... oh dear, it was quite a goopy mess when we were done! :)

Hi again Julie! - Thanks for that info. I have never seen either of those products, but boy you have me interested! I don't get to a lot of specialty food stores (none in my immediate area, just health food stores), and I am assuming that's where I might find them. The vanilla paste sounds AMAZING. I love the pure taste of vanilla seeds. And then the citrus oils... yum! I like using citrus zests to get that intensity without a lot of juice, and it sounds like those oils give that impact. I will have to look around for them, or online. Again, thanks for the tips!

Harmonia said...

Is most Dark Chocolate vegan? What is a good way to tell? I am still confused when it comes to long as it doesn't say milk chocolate is it okay? HELP!

Mal said...

I always just look at the ingredients. lol. If it doesn't have any animal products, I assume it's okay to eat. I know that Giant, my local grocery store, has their own semi-sweet chocolate chips and they contain no animal products (for example).

Dreena said...

Hey Harmonia! Mal is right, usually the ingredients will show "milk solids" or "cream" if it has dairy in it.

The best dark chocolates do NOT have dairy. They usually have at least 55% or more cocoa mass or 'liquor', and are sometimes labelled dark, semisweet, or bittersweet - but still check the ingredients since some dark chocolate may have milk ingredients. Once you sample some great high-end dark chocolate, you won't want to go back!!

Harmonia said...

Thanks ladies! I have been avoiding it altogether but now I will have to research it! I love doing that...

Thanks for the tips...that is kinda what I thought but I wondered if I was missing something.

Good to know! Thanks again!

Nell said...

The bat one is one of my favorites also.
I love Endangered Species because they are not bitter like some dark chocolate can be.

Thanks for the bark recipe and advice. I am going to make some this weekend for the holidays.

Dreena said...

Hi Nell! I listened to your chocolate review on Vegan Freak, and checked out your website - super fun review! Great job! Funny, I actually enjoy some of the more bitter chocolate, like Dagoba. I really appreciate the variety of flavor tones in the different vegan chocolates available now!