Peanut Butter and Sambal Wontons with Chocolate Sauce from Olives for Dinner! Born from hurricane Sandy anxiety, these look just glorious. You know I’m always into the savory-items-made-sweet and sweet-items-made-savory so this is right up my alley. Plus, I love dipping things in chocolate. Who doesn’t? Evil people!
Choc&Nut vegan chocolate spread is chocolatey delicious! »
You may have already heard of Choc&Nut vegan hazelnut/cashew chocolate spread as it’s been making waves in the vegan chocolate-loving community. Well I received a free jar to sample and now I will tell you all about it!
Choc&Nut is made by a very sweet family business in France and I know you will all be excited about this: not only is it organic, it’s palm oil-free! So you orangutan fans* can eat with a clear conscience.
Onto the flavor! As you can see, I tried it on a nice toaster waffle. It’s excellent! The flavor is sweeter than many chocolate spreads I’ve had and it definitely has a Euro taste to it. Reminds me of the chocolate we’d get on family trips to Europe when I was a little one. It’s also very smooth. Some chocolate spreads are granular like when you grind your own peanut butter, but this is not like that. It’s smooth as silk. Another difference between this and say Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread is that this doesn’t have a salty flavor. I like the saltiness of others, but I like this too. I think it just depends on what you’re in the mood for. I think this is definitely a good Nutella substitute and would be awesome in crêpes. If you have a good vegan crêpe recipe, dude, get some of this, a few banana slices and go to town!
There Facebook has some adorbs recipes but they aren’t vegan. I’m thinking we could veganize them? If you do, send me a pic and I’ll post it. But not a janky pic! I have standards. Maybe not in men, but definitely in photography.
*Orangutans are my 2nd favorite animal in the world! It’s elephants, orangutans, …dogs or otters…mountain gorillas or dolphins…I don’t know, I haven’t really figured it out past the first two. Point is: I love those ginger monkeys!
Vegan pumpkin pie Reeses from Chocolate Covered Katie! I’ve never tried pumpkin with peanut butter but I can attest that pumpkin with chocolate is delicious. And peanut butter is great, and pumpkin is great, so maybe they’d be great together. It’s like if Jeff Buckley and Arthur Lee did a duet and we covered it in chocolate! I know that’s what you were thinking.
Product Review: Wholesome Chow gluten-free chocolate cake mix! »
Last weekend, I baked with Wholesome Chow’s chocolate bake mix and that’s it; I’m throwing in the towel on ever making my own mix from scratch again. There’s no point! This Wholesome Chow mix amazing. I can’t even tell it’s gluten-free! Love, love love!
As with the last time, I followed the instructions on the back, adding a non-dairy milk and oil. I used full-fat canned coconut milk, which I find gives my cakes and extra degree of moistness and also makes the baking process a little more forgiving. You see, I’m prone to over-baking. It’s a curse! But luckily, coconut milk and I have found each other, so all is well over here.
I don’t have much more to say—this is an exceptional product. I’ve actually bought out every SF store that stocks the chocolate mix. So, there’s that. Actions speak louder than words, and I’ve snatched all the convenience away from you, city-dwellers. But you can buy the mixes online! Then they’ll come straight to your doorstep! Win win! Also, because I bought Rainbow and Other Avenues out, I had the opportunity to try the lavender chocolate mix, which is also very tasty. Much like the vanilla lavender, there is only a hint of lavender flavor, which adds a fruitiness as a opposed to a potpourri-ness.
I made my frosting from scratch again, this time adding some instant espresso powder (instant coffee works too) to it. For the border and flowers, which are chocolate frosting, I added unsweetened cocoa powder. You can find my vanilla frosting recipe here!
Vegan Divas: New vegan bakery in NYC! »
If you recall, a few months ago I went to Vegan Divas dessert tasting and had a lovely time. Well guess what? They opened a bakery! Yes, the Upper East Side just got a vegan bakery. Yay richies! Get your vegan on.
They invited me to the opening, promising free desserts and champagne—do they understand me or what? Hint: they understand me. My absolute favorite thing was the baby chocolate cupcakes pictured above. Aren’t they darling (that’s Upper East Side talk!)? And very good. I actually would say their chocolate stuff is their best stuff. It’s always a nice, rich, semi-sweet chocolate that’s not too sugary. Love it. I also like the funny “sand cookies” that are pictured behind the cupcakes. They are funny and I’m not sure everyone would like them. I love them—they are a bit salty, that’s my favorite: salty+sweet.
These donuts are good as well. But all their donuts are baked, not fried, so we’re not talking Ronald’s. Good though. Of course I recommend the chocolate! It’s not surprising their donuts are the baked kind, the whole place is very health-conscious. For those calorie counters, you’ll be excited to find that all the items on the menu include the calorie count next to them—and everything is pretty low. All the ingredients are natural and everything is kosher too. So everybody can eat this stuff! And the prices aren’t bad in my opinion, especially considering the quality of the ingredients.
They don’t just have dessert, they will also be having quiche. I haven’t sampled it yet but I love quiche so I’m excited! And they have juices—see? Healthy stuff! I didn’t try the juice because I didn’t want it to interfere with my champagne intake, but I’m sure it’s good. If you like juice! And it came in cute little glasses. Baby glasses!
Oh the other thing I tried were the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! They were party favors so I had them at home. I actually had two for breakfast this morning! Yeah, I’m all about health too. The cookies are nice and soft; I don’t like crunchy chocolate chip cookies so that’s perfect for me. They also had oatmeal raisin cookies but I’m allergic to cookies with raisins in them. Ok I’m not exactly allergic but still, raisins better stay away from my cookies.
All in all, a great bakery, especially for the health-conscious set. I’m glad we have another bakery in the city! For you non-NYCers, you can order lots of their products on their site. Bon Appétit! That’s more Upper East Side talk. I’m basically bilingual. Trilingual if you include Philadelphian.
Chocolate-tahini timbales from John Shuldiner’s Pure Vegan! The recipe is featured in the Guardian, presumably as part of England’s National Vegetarian Week, or maybe just because it looks awesome! I love unexpected ingredients. Celine has a bunch of tahini desserts that are way tasty as well. These little timbales, though, they’re so pretty and fancy! Let’s have a party and pass these around on trays!
[photo by Emily Brooke Sandor for Pure Vegan]
Interview: Gnosis Chocolate gives you sweet vegan choices! »
A couple years ago, Vegansaurus TV did a feature on super-gorgeous Gnosis Chocolate creator Vanessa Barg. Since then, Gnosis has undergone some super-exciting changes! Vegansaurus chatted with Gnosis’ Marla Golde about these changes, and how Gnosis is working to offer more healthful ingredients in its all-vegan, organic raw chocolate!
Vegansaurus: In the past, your products were sweetened with agave, and it seems some of your new chocolates have coconut sugar. Why?
Gnosis: We are currently in the process of a switch to raw, organic coconut palm sugar as our primary sweetener! The taste and consistency of coconut palm sugar is slightly different than agave nectar, so we decided to offer our customers a choice during this transitional period through our “Sweet Choice” program. This allows customers to choose between chocolate sweetened by an agave nectar/coconut palm sugar blend, or coconut palm sugar only.
Vegansaurus: What’s so great about coconut sugar? Are you anti-agave?
Gnosis: Coconut palm sugar is a highly nutritious sweetener; rich in magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and calcium. It has a low glycemic index, and we’re particularly excited about it because it has been named the most sustainable sweetener by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations!
Vanessa Barg has a great relationship with Big Tree Farms in Bali, and has worked directly with their farmers. This has created a deep connection between our company and the community there, ensuring that we receive the highest quality product. The difference you’ll notice in the flavor of CPS-sweetened bars is that they impart more of a maple, molasses, or brown sugar-like taste—it complements our line of chocolates beautifully.
We still stand by our specific source of agave (see Vanessa Barg’s report here) and will continue to use it as a sweetener in some of our products. Our agave is organic, truly pure, low-glycemic, and raw.
Vegansaurus: Gnosis uses no advertising, but y’all are doing pretty splendidly! Why do you choose not to advertise?
Gnosis: The company has grown 100 percent by word of mouth, with no advertising and no PR companies. Instead, we devote that energy and money to making the absolute best products possible; and carrying out projects that make sure that our customers can deeply trust in our commitment to run our vegan business with complete integrity.
Vegansaurus: Where are you located?
Gnosis: Both our office and our kitchen are located in Long Island City, just a few minutes from New York City.
Vegansaurus: Please tell us more about your vegan mission!
Gnosis: The phenomenal health benefits of veganism (decreased likelihood of heart disease, increased life span, stronger immune systems, just to name a few!) are vitally important reasons why our chocolates are vegan. Because our bars are dairy-free, they don’t block antioxidants and contain no cholesterol. Gnosis was born out of Vanessa’s work as a holistic health counselor—the bars were created for her clients as a way to take great care of their health without giving up their beloved chocolate.
Also, while personal health is a vitally important part of our mission, planetary health is just as important—so our products are also vegan in the name of sustainability and environmental consciousness! Since the livestock sector plays such a major role in deforestation, pollution, land degradation, and the reduction of biodiversity; and animal agriculture leads to global warming via methane and nitrous oxide emissions…. Producing products that support a vegan lifestyle is a great way to ensure that we’re a model for responsible, conscious entrepreneurship.
Lastly, we never, ever want our products to harm any creature, so our chocolate is also vegan in the name of kindness to animals. We know that the animals at factory farms feel pain just the same as our beloved Choco-Kitty, Charlotte, and are proud that our vegan certification tells the world that none of our products are tested on animals.
Vegansaurus: Thank you! Any concluding thoughts?
Gnosis: Thank you so much for this opportunity! We absolutely honored to be a part of Vegansaurus again!
All Gnosis products can be purchased online and at select Bay Area health food stores.
Product review: Raw Shakti Single Origin Ecuador Chocolate! »
Raw Shakti Single Origin Ecuador chocolate has only two raw vegan organic non-GMO ethically-sourced ingredients: cacao beans and coconut sugar. That’s it! It takes some serious confidence to put out a raw chocolate with two ingredients. With so few elements, there’s no room for error—no coconut flakes to mask the flavor of slightly subpar cacao beans, no fancy superfoods to overwhelm the palate and shock any critical senses into submission.
Raw Shakti Chocolate sent me some samples. The single origin raw chocolate is indeed unbelievably intense, and not everyone is going to like it. You might wanna try one of their other varieties if you’re used to 70 percent cacao vegan chocolate or anything around that percentage. But if you like your chocolate as strong as possible, as I do, their Single Origin 85 percent chocolate will be your new mana. A small square of Raw Shakti Chocolate will remind you of that one time you woke up in an unfamiliar bed next to two drop-dead gorgeous roommates wearing B12 patches and nothing else—you’ll experience confusion, and strong sensations throughout your body, and you’ll pray for it to happen again. Get it online and at some Bay Area health food stores.
Product review: UliMana raw vegan chocolate truffles are totally baller! »
Remember that 1998 episode of South Park (I’m so old) when Chef told his students to enjoy his chocolate salty balls? The world grimaced, laughed, and I have a hunch that chocolate balls and certain pornographic film sales increased exponentially.
Twenty years later, how is the market for chocolate balls? Are they still culturally relevant? Do they still taste amazing? If you’re a vegan who likes raw chocolate, our answer to all of these questions is UliMana raw vegan chocolate: proof positive that chocolate balls still rule.
The super adorbs packaging of UliMana drew me in immediately. Stacked like gum balls in a jar, each delicate chocolate ball miraculously keeps its shape while pressed against its brethren. How do they do that!? I imagine that’s a well-kept UliMana secret.
UliMana are technically considered truffles. I love that each ball is infused with cacao powder, coconut nectar (which is a much lower-glycemic sweetener than refined white sugar and other sweeteners on the market!), high-quality salt, cacao butter, vanilla beans, and various superfoods, depending on the flavor. The goji cherry and the cacao nib truffles are my favorite, but if you prefer your chocolate balls straight up, then get the dark cacao raw truffles.
Be a baller! Get UliMana online, at local Bay Area health food outlets (including Rainbow and Whole Foods), and your new best friend’s pantry. UliMana sent me some samples, which I loved on thoroughly.
Holy Cow vegan M&Ms! They are the yum. I got them from Vegan Essentials last week and they are SO GOOD. Like real M&Ms! They take a little longer to melt and I think the shells might be a bit crunchier but not in a bad way at all. And the chocolate is probably actually better because it’s not uber-sweet milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is for babies, am I right?! I’m always right!