You might have noticed that I’m not blogging as much as I did in past years. This reduction in content was a conscious decision to back off on my social networking efforts and an attempt to eliminate the stress (and the consequent burn-out) that accompanied my self-imposed editorial schedule. It’s felt absolutely fantastic and I feel good that when I do share a recipe it’s because I really, really want to and not because of some artificial and self-imposed need to post regularly. You might also have noticed that thus far I have not published any cookbook reviews or plugged any products. Again, this has been a very deliberate move on my part. In 2015 I was getting hit up over and over again to lend space on my blog to carry the content of others – be it requests for sponsored posts, product endorsements, or reviews. While I am happy to help promote plant-based authors or products when it feels right, I overdid it last year. By the close of 2015, I was feeling pretty icky. Having said that, today’s post is an endorsement of a brand that gets daily use in my home. It’s also my first giveaway of 2016. And it’s a way of thanking Ron Redding (a.k.a. Sugar-free Poppa) of NuNaturals, who has been sending me a steady stream of their innovative stevia products for a couple of years now. Ron never asks me to return the favor by creating recipes or publishing glowing reviews. He’s just a cool guy who believes in the products he sells. Recently Ron sent me a box of goodies. One of those goodies was a new product, Cocoa Dutch Process powder, that he wanted me to try. I go through cocoa powder like it’s water, so this was a very welcome package. I wasted no time at all and got right to work testing and tasting it. When you open the bag and stick your nose in for a sniff – as I did – you are greeted by rich chocolate aroma. It smells just like brownies baking in the oven. NuNaturals cocoa powder works beautifully in hot chocolate, too. Add a touch of one of their liquid stevia products and you’re good to go. I routinely add a couple of tablespoons to waffle batter, smoothies, or steel-cut oats (prepared in my Instant Pot), i.e., any thing in which more chocolate can be crammed.
One of the results of my testing is the recipe below for Mini Chocolate Mint Pudding Pies (perfect for Valentine’s Day) made with four NuNaturals products: Cocoa Syrup, Cocoa Mint Syrup, their new Cocoa Dutch Process and Peppermint NuStevia Liquid. If you’d like to try these or other NuNaturals products, visit their website and use BLG0616 at checkout and you’ll enjoy a 15% discount (through June 30, 2016). Orders over $35.00 ship free within the continental U.S.
Oh, and the giveaway! FOUR readers will win some of these products – see below for details and to enter the giveaway. Open to those living in the U.S., Canada, and overseas! FOUR WINNERS WILL RECEIVE:
- One 1 pound package Cocoa Dutch Process powder
- One 16-ounce bottle of sugar-free Cocoa Syrup
- One 16-ounce bottle of sugar-free Cocoa Mint Syrup
- One 50-packet box of NuStevia No Carb stevia powder
- BONUS product
The total retail value of each package is $70.00. Other treats I’ve made with NuNaturals products:
- Puffed Quinoa & Cacao Nib Chocolate Bars
- Marbled Banana Bread
- Fudgey Brownie Bites
- Apricot Tartlets
- Chai Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mint Chocolate-Mint Pudding
- Cherry Coconut Cream Pie
- Raw Chocolate Cherry Coconut Cookies
Mini Chocolate Mint Pudding Pies
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 25
- Total Time: 55
- Yield: 14 1x
- 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- 2 Tbsp. NuNaturals Cocoa Dutch Process powder
- 2 Tbsp. NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup
- 1/2 tsp. NuNaturals Peppermint NuStevia
- 6 dates, chopped
- ~3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup chopped dates soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup NuNaturals Cocoa Dutch Process powder
- 1 Tbsp. NuNaturals Cocoa Mint Syrup
- 1/2 tsp. NuNaturals Peppermint NuStevia
- 12.3 ounce carton of extra firm silken tofu
Make the crust
- Preheat the oven to 375-degrees F and have muffin tins set aside. You’ll need a total of 14 muffin “cups.”
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the oats, flaxseed meal and cacao nibs 2-3 times. Add the remaining ingredients and process until the ingredients begin to pull together into a ball. Add more water if necessary.
- Divide the dough between 14 muffin “cups” and press the dough down and up the sides of each cup to form a bowl of crust. Dip your fingers in water if they stick to the dough.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crusts are firm and dry. Let cool completely before filling.
Make the filling
- In a blender, add the dates and 1 cup of the soaking liquid and process until very smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and process again, making sure the mixture is smooth as silk. Taste and adjust for sweetness and minty-ness.
Finish the mini pies
- Divide the tofu mixture evenly between the 14 crusts. Chill the mini pies in the refrigerator for several hours. The filling will firm up a little bit, but will remain more like a pudding consistency.
- Garnish the pies with fresh mint leaves and/or fresh berries.
My favorite way is in a smoothie (chocolate covered cherry smoothie) but I also enjoy using it in things like puddings
I totally hear you Annie on the pressure we put on ourselves to do things. I actually took a small step back myself this year, meaning I’m focusing on quality over quantity with who I work with. I took on way too much in December and I have 3 little kids that need their mom and missed time with them I can’t get back. I actually love working with brands and the challenge of creating something awesome with their products, however I only work with those I love and use myself and have said no to many. I’m only taking on a few sponsored posts with brands a month this year and with my year long contract I just signed on for with Silk (who I LOVE) and the every other month job with NOW Foods (who is new to me but I love so many of their products) I am actually booked a lot of months! But I feel good knowing that I can spend time that I want with my boys and I have a few jobs I’m excited about in the wings that will help contribute to my family a bit. You’re recipe sounds amazing! So creamy and good, I want to stick my face in it…weird? Kind of, but so yum!
I love NuNaturals products but have only tried their liquid stevia, I put it pretty much in everything from coffee, homemade soy yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and even baked goods like cookies and muffins. The chocolate syrup sounds so good!
I would like to make some brownies right now. Yum!
I was wondering where you were! I have your cookbook in my photo room and always take a moment or two to draw inspiration from it 🙂
I hear you on burn out though, and the excitement of posting for its own sake rather than because of the expectation that one *must*. I’m also a total slave to NuNaturals – it’s in at least one dish every single day – whether it be in a smoothie or even a stir fry with the orange liquid drops. I’m so psyched about the cocoa powder though – Ron was hinting in our last email about new goodies!
Anyway, as for favourite use…hmmmmm, possibly homemade chocolate, since it’s so versatile with the different NuNaturals drops in terms of flavours 😀 When I have a chocolate craving and am too hangry to wait even plain old cocoa and hot water hits the spot.
These pudding pies look gorgeous though! Definitely want to give them a go!
I love making chocolate pudding! Especially my mom loves it. I always use NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup to sweeten it, it’s by far my favourite brand of stevia!
I would not be able to live without my NuNaturals!! The stevia syrups are just the best! Always a top my oatmeals, pancakes, etc! Ah…and cocoa powder…I go through tons! Mainly, those pancakes 😉
I use cocoa powder in EVERYTHING. I make hot cocoa, I add it to chia seed pudding, avocado pudding, oatmeal, or even just mix it with coconut oil and a little stevia, and let it harden for a homemade dark chocolate bark!
Anytime chocolate is involved, I’m happy. With winter here, I’m loving hot cocoa!
I love the combination of mint and chocolate, it’s the best! 😀
I can honestly say that I’d have much more trouble if I ever had to give up chocolate than I EVER did giving up meat or dairy.
Chocolate is just the good girl drug. And the darker the better for me anyway.
What a special crust these beauties have!! I’m sure the crunch of the cacao with that creamy pudding is just delicious and a touch of mint? Yes please.
We miss you Annie but as I’m in the same slowed down blogger boat, can totally relate to a fresher, unpressured recipe pace now.
Ron’s the best and I can’t wait to try their cocoa
Happy Valentine’s to you and your Kel
I like to use cocoa powder with soy milk for hot chocolate or bake with it.
I love using cocoa powder in homemade Nutella, or Chocolate no bake cookies. Then again, can’t forget some tasty chocolate frosting lol.
This looks absolutely delicious and crazy decadent, just my thing 🙂
I totally hear you and agree with everything you’ve said here. I actually posted in our group back in January that I was done taking on sponsored posts and was passing on the emails info to other bloggers, because even though I didn’t really do that many last year, I just honestly don’t enjoy doing them that much, lol. I realized, hey I have the power to say no, period. I don’t like spending all MY blog space promoting everybody else’s product, I just felt like I was working for the company instead of running my own blog the way I want. I created my blog to reach people, real people and help them. It is afterall, MY blog. I have also gotten sooooo many book review requests and I’ve said no to some, but yes of course to bloggers that I communicate with regularly, but must admit, they are a bit overwhelming too when you get many back to back.
I only have one more sponsored post to do for this month and I’m not planning on doing anything else after that unless it’s a really perfect fit for me. I just simply don’t like enjoy doing them for the most part. I simply enjoy creating recipes and the excitement to share with my readers. They are who inspire me and I love helping them, it gives me the greatest joy to help see others excited about vegan food!
I am really excited though to see you blogging again…missed your awesome talented stuff!
I love using cocoa powder. It’s great for sweet treats and hot drinks. Great looking recipe.
I am a total chocolate loving beast, they look so good! 🙂
cool! I’m always interested in expanding the stevia sweetened products I use…I hope the cocoa is responsibly sourced!
my favorite cocoa vehicle is homemade chocolate pudding!
I’m with you on that!!
These look delicious! Since it’s been so chilly around here lately my favorite way of incorporating cocoa is through warm drinks.
Such a great recipe and thank you for the giveaway opportunity! I use NuNaturals in smoothies and coffee mainly now.
OH MY these look fantastic!! My favorite way to use cocoa powder is in MUFFINS or brownies. I love your step back from blogging, and think when you do post it’s just as magical as seeing a unicorn.
My favorite way of using cocoa powder is definitely in chia seed pudding. i love it! and ive been using unsweetened cocoa powder which was tough at first but now i prefer it!
I love using cocoa in my grandmother’s chocolate pudding cake!
Well this recipe is a nice take on my no bake bars I usually make. I like to use cocoa powder with the oatmeal for bars and usually crusts too. Pudding inside is a yummy plus!
It’s a coincidence you’d mention the self-imposed stress of keeping up a certain blogging schedule as I touched it in my post today, too. I’m glad to hear taking a step back helped you feel better again.
These pudding pies look amazing and the filling … mmmh. So creamy. I need to get my hands on some silken tofu again.
My favourite use of extra dark cocoa powder is in my banana-sweetened bowl of oat bran. It’s a daily necessity for me.
Mmmmm….. Chocolate and Mint is just the best combination!!!
I made these tasty beauties but used Another brand,..delightful & Oh so inviting too. Yum!
yay indeed! Sorry that I not have been here recenty but I have been hard working at our big allotment!
I’ve been taking a long break from social media so I understand, my friend. Hope that your garden is growing beautifully :-)!
Oh yes, my 1st allotment update is here witha tour!