Saturday, June 20, 2015

Goji Berries & Chocolate

Have you ever had goji berries? I hadn't had them until the folks from Viva Labs contacted me again to see if I'd be willing to try a few more of their products. Our rule here on The Chocolate Cult is that if we can combine it with chocolate, we'll try it out so they sent us this 16oz bag of their Viva Labs #1 Premium Himalayan Organic Goji Berries, Noticeably Larger and Juicier, 1lb bag
. Given that is it summer and some of you may be looking to add more fruit to your diets, I thought this was a good time to give it a try. I used the goji berries in a few different ways to see how they worked and how the type of chocolate I used them with affected their taste and vice versa.



First let's look at them on their own, chocolate free. They look a lot like a red raisin, don't they? They taste a lot like a raisin, too, but a bit tarter and a touch drier. I liked them okay on their own but we want to get to the chocolate with them, right?






I made a modified Hermit Bar recipe that I found in the "Just One More Bite!" cookbook from Mr. Food (page 174 for inspiration) that I'll review later this year. I switched out their cranberries for the goji berries and added a bit of cocoa in place of the flour and added in a bit more moisture as well as some other substitutions and reductions so here is my

Cocoa Goji Hermit Bars Recipe

Ingredients for the Bars:'
2 sticks light butter, softened
2 C firmly packed light brown sugar
6 T egg white substitute
1 C water
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C cocoa powder (I used Equal Exchange which I had on hand)
1 C goji berries
1 C mini chocolate chips (I used Nestle which I had on hand)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, move one rack to the middle position in the oven.

2. Coat 10X15 inch rimmed baking sheet with no-stick spray.

3. After bringing sticks of butter to room temperature, cut the sticks into small pieces and beat them together with the brown sugar until thoroughly mixed.

4. Blend in the egg whites until thoroughly mixed.

5. On lower speed, beat in water, baking soda, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.

6. Mix in flour a bit at a time until thoroughly blended and you can't see bits of any of the ingredients.

7. Stir in goji berries and chocolate chips by hand.

8. Spread mixture on baking sheet.

9. Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm.

10. Set pan on wire rack to cool before cutting into bars. I cut mine into 42 bars. Using the ingredients that I did and cutting them that many bars, made each bar hold 117 calories.


First thing to know about Goji Berries and baking -- the berries turn orange, they do not stay red so keep that in mind if you have an idea of what you want your finished product to look like.

I also tried the goji berries in a few other chocolate goods and I'll share those results and recipes with you later on in the year. But for now here's an extra photo to tease you.


What recipes have you made with Goji Berries, cocoa, and/or chocolate? Let me know in a comment please. If you haven't tried Goji Berries but like raisins and cranberries, I strongly suggest you give it a try. If you use the links we've proved it will take you to Amazon.com to buy these, helping out Viva Labs as well as The Chocolate Cult with every purchase.

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