I made a lot of new friends this week.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my sparkling personality that drew the throngs to my side. I am convinced that they smelled the sweet, delicious treats that Ricki Heller delivered to my office.
Three boxes of dessert samples can certainly create a raucous among the foodies I work with. I had been excitedly anticipating Ricki’s delivery since she announced that I won the giveaway contest on her blog. Ricki is publishing a cookbook, of her much sought after recipes, called Sweet Freedom. Through her generosity, my tastebuds were blessed with this opportunity to test many of the desserts that will be included in her upcoming publication.
Seriously, 3 boxes!!!
Aren’t these little guys cute? The ginger flavour is fantastic. The texture is perfect-almost cakelike. You would never know that they contain healthy flours and less refined sweeteners. Ricki really makes healthy baking both accessible to the masses (through her amazing recipes) and completely satisfying.
Raw Fig and Cherry Bars(in the background)
The raw bar had an unexpected flavour with the addition of tahini. The sesame flavour rounded out the sweetness often associated with dried-fruit energy bars, creating a much more balanced flavour profile. I will be bringing these with me to yoga, until the supply runs out. They are the perfect post-workout treat.
Fruity Cereal Chews (in the foreground)
I loved, loved, loved this concoction. I did not expect these bars to be so addictive. I found myself hiding them from others. But the Executive Director of the Toronto Vegetarian Association did get a sample (that was before I started hiding them) and raved about them.
Cinnamon Coffee Toffee Bars
When I tasted this bar I was litterally frightened by how good it was. The texture reminded me of a buttertart-bar made by M&M; meats (I would not advise anyone to shop there, but I have tried some of their desserts in my prevegan-early childhood days). There is a real decadence to this treat. The word unctious keeps coming to mind when I reflect on this tasting experience.
Sunflower Seed Shortbread Buttons(the little biege ones)Gluten-Free, Vegan, buttery, creamy. Seriously, amazing.
Ginger Coconut Cookies (in the foreground with obvious coconut bits)
A definite favourite around the office. I love ginger, I choose to add it to almost every recipe I make. The coconut provides a richness to these spicy cookies. I plan to ration these from my freezer for a few weeks.
Hazelnut Mocha Cookies (in the foreground, left of the coconut ones)
I know a lot of people who do not like nuts in their cookies or dessert bars. I am not one of them. I love the texture complexities that the hazelnuts add to this cookie.
Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (chocolate ones at the top of the photo)
These cookies had a deep, dark, minty flavour, and a wonderfuly chewy texture.
Triple C Cookie (dark brown in the 11 o’clock position in the photo? lame description!)
Cardamom is a surprising and delicious addition to these cookies. Carob adds a unique sweetness that makes these cookies taste quite sophisticated.
I recieved an email from a coworker with the subject “Chocolate Heaven”. I think that is a very accurate review of this brownie. The texture is the perfect balance between fudgy and cakey-not mushy and not dry at all. There is a deep, rich chocolatey flavour that would satisfy any true chocoholic.
So, from my dessert-coma, I surrender with high-praise to Ricki.
I can’t wait to see the entire collection of recipes that she has put togehter in Sweet Freedom. You can whet your appetite by reading the cookbook blog.
I am sorry that all of you could not have won this package. I shared the treats with my office mates and my fellow volunteers at the Toronto Vegetarian Society during my volunteer shift. Everyone raved about the complex, flavours and incredible texture that Ricki was able to achieve without using wheat, dairy, eggs or refined sugar.