Once upon a time, many months ago, I wrote a review of Honeybuns: gluten free baking. by Emma Goss-Custard. It’s not often I get thanked for a book review, but I was surprised and delighted to receive a box of Honeybuns minis in the post one day with a lovely note thanking me for the review. Now I had every intention of reviewing this box of delights, for delightful every one of those gluten free treats most certainly were. I did make a bit of a start, but somehow, CT and I managed to polish them all off before I got very far.
Tidying up my desk recently, I came across the Honeybuns note which reminded me of just how good the cakes were. Somewhat shamefacedly, I renewed contact and lo and behold another box arrived. This one contained a biscuit, a cake and four minis – all chocolate.
All of the Honeybuns range is gluten free with some products being dairy free too and made with good quality ingredients containing no artificial colours or preservatives. Whether one is gluten intolerant or not, the cakes I have tried are all interesting, not overly sweet and tasty. Very few of the products have sugar as the main ingredient, which, in my experience, is highly unusual in commercial cakes and biscuits. All products are made on the family farm in Dorset. Looking after nature, especially bees is a key objective and to this end the farm includes a nature reserve and is involved in various conservation projects. Packaging is biodegradable and comes with fun facts and stories about Honeybuns and their products. The minis, as the name suggests, are little cakes weighing in at 40g; they are the perfect size for sticking in your pocket to maintain energy levels on a bracing Cornish cliff walk. The full sized cake bar (85g) carries the following salutory warning: this cake is an indulgent treat, if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Oh bother, another fifty mile hike needed!
Heathcliffe Brownie – dark chocolate, free range eggs, butter, sugar, ground almonds, whole almonds, orange zest, ground coffee, orange oil, sea salt, vanilla.
These were very chocolatey, which I guess should be no surprise given this was the main ingredient. It had a noticeable, but not dominant orange flavour which CT would have approved of, except he didn’t get a look in. Nice fudgy brownie consistency, that was both smooth and chewy at the same time, due to the generous amount of almonds chunks. If Cathy had any sense, she would have gone for this rather than the man himself.
Triple Chocolate Tinker Cookie – ground almonds, rice syrup, milk chocolate, plain chocolate, dark chocolate, salted butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder, ground coffee.
Strong chocolate aroma. We both liked the texture which was slightly sticky and rather chewy; it forces your jaws to get some exercise even if the rest of the body is static. Not too sweet with a good chocolate flavour and a hint of treacle. Tinker Tuesdays are an institution at Honeybuns it seems; each week, they give away a tin of their cookies. I’m definitely tempted to enter this, what about you?
Congo Bar – caramel, pecans, polenta, ground almonds, butter sugar, milk chocolate, nibbed almonds, coconut xanthan gum.
A little like millionaires shortbread but more interesting and not as sweet. A polenta and ground almonds shortbread base, covered with a layer of caramel and then topped with a crunchy layer of toasted pecans, coconut and chocolate. Just as well CT was around when I tried this one or I would have had to have put my walking boots on again. Then again, I think it would have been worth it.
Milk Chocolate Brownie – milk chocolate, dark chocolate, butter, sugar, ground almonds, free-range eggs
Like the Healthcliff Brownie before it, this had crunchy nuts and chocolate pieces studded throughout, but was slightly sweeter and had a vanilla and coffee flavour rather than an orange one. The taste lingered on the palate in a pleasant manner with the coffee coming more to the fore, but without any bitterness.
Chocolate Caramel Shortbread
The first thought in biting into this, was thank goodness it’s not tooth-achingly sweet. It was in fact delicious with a dark top? and a the polenta base seemed ideal to mop up any excess sweetness and was deliciously biscuity.
Snowy Hills (the only one I wrote up from the first batch)- Ginger and polenta shortbread with a lemon sponge topping – delicious, moist, nice varied texture with nibbed almonds for extra crunch. Not too sweet and just a subtle flavour of ginger and lemon.