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
- 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.