Chocolate has been an abiding passion ever since I can remember. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to try bars produced by some truly excellent brands. Pacari premium organic chocolate is one such. To celebrate World Chocolate Day on 9 July, I’m delighted to offer my readers the chance to try this excellent chocolate too. Read on for details of the giveaway. The chocolate is so good, it’s really best enjoyed on its own, but I have to say it also works wonderfully well in these chewy and delicious coffee chocolate chip cookies with cardamom – I just couldn’t help myself.
Pacari Chocolate is one of the most ethical chocolate brands I’ve come across. Their chocolate bars are not only organic, but also fair trade, tree to bar and made in Ecuador, the country where the cacao beans are actually grown. Good quality is key; they are all dark chocolate with at least 60% cacao, contain no refined sugars or other nasties and are suitable for vegans, chocolate connoisseurs and the health conscious. They have won several International Chocolate Awards since they began business in 2012.
Reasons to Love Pacari Chocolate Bars
Pacari reckon there are seven good reasons why you will love their chocolate. Here are a few of them:
- All chocolate is made with 100% certified organic and natural ingredients. They are also certified kosher.
- The best Ecuadorian cacao beans are used; Arriba Nacional are known for their richness, full taste and fruity floral notes.
- Environmental concerns are key. Pacari are working to protect priceless Ecuadorian genetic stock and work exclusively with traditional cacao growers, not plantations. They are also partnered with WWF Ecuador to protect the jaguar, dolphin and tapir.
- The company is owned by an Ecuadorian family who believe business has a duty to support local people, their livelihoods and the environment. They support 3,500 families by working directly with small scale farmers rather than middle men. They also pay a significant premium over market prices.
- Unlike most chocolate bars consumed in the UK (less than 1%), Pacari chocolate is both produced and packaged in its country of origin. This helps create a range of work opportunities in a developing nation and builds wealth where it’s needed most.
If you want to follow Pacari chocolate on social media, here’s how:
- Twitter – @PacariUK
- Facebook – Pacarichocolates.uk
- Instagram – PacariUK
The Chocolate Bars
I have tried Pacari chocolate before, I find it to be smooth, flavoursome and with a nice balance of sweet and bitter. It melts beautifully on the tongue, when I can bring myself to exercise some restraint. I was sent three 50g bars and several super cute 10g mini bars to try. Do head over to the Pacari website to find out what other flavours are on offer. There are lots of them.
Smooth dark chocolate with chewy flakes of tart and flavoursome golden berries, otherwise known as cape gooseberries. CT reckoned it had a hint of rum and raisin about it.
I adore cardamom as a flavour, but it I can be difficult to get the balance right. Too little and you can’t really identify it, too much and it can taste a bit soapy. This was the bar I was most looking forward to trying, but it was the one I found most disappointing. The cardamom was rather overwhelming. Sometimes less is definitely more. However, it works beautifully chunked up into these coffee cardamom chocolate chip cookies.
This was real wake up; the bar contains actual coffee beans. It has a powerful coffee flavour and chewing on the crunchy beans is a real pleasure. One for coffee lovers. It was almost a shame to use some in my coffee chocolate chip cookies, but I’m glad I did.
We used to grow lemon verbena and hope to do so again one day. It smells wonderful and makes the most fabulous tea. I was really keen to try this bar, but although I liked it, it was a bit too subtle for me.
Rose is a firm favourite with me and it pairs beautifully with chocolate. Andean rose is probably my favourite bar. It has beautiful floral notes which combine well with the rich dark chocolate. As with the coffee and cardamom combination, as used in my recipe for coffee chocolate chip cookies, it makes me think of the Middle East. I was slightly concerned that it would have bits of dried rose petal in the chocolate. I’ve had this experience before and find it quite off-putting. Luckily this bar was smooth and sumptuous. Step aside Turkish Delight.
Cuzco Salt & Nibs
Salted chocolate is another favourite, though I’m not so keen on cacao nibs. I find they don’t really taste of very much, though they are said to have several health benefits. As it happened, I was pleasantly surprised. The nibs are crushed quite finely, which seems to make quite a difference and their crunch creates a nice contrast to the smooth chocolate. The salty notes were just right too.
You can smell the heady scent of mint as soon as you open the packet of this Andean mint bar. Mint is a classic flavour pairing with chocolate and I was pretty sure I was going to like it. I did. I was particularly impressed with the depth and complexity of flavour; it tastes of fresh mint rather than just mint essence.
Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cardamom
Middle Eastern Flavours
Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I have developed a relatively recent penchant for the combined flavours of chocolate coffee and cardamom. It’s a sophisticated flavour profile with spicy citrusy accents and rich bitter notes. I reckoned the combination would work well in these coffee chocolate chip cookies – and they did.
The combination of coffee and cardamom is redolent of warm evening soirees in my ancestral home of Alexandria. Middle Eastern cuisine is one of my favourites. If you’re a fellow fan, here’s the link to my Flavours of the Middle East recipes. For those of you who are not so familiar with Tin and Thyme, you might like to take a look at my decadent coffee cardamom chocolate mousse cake and these wholemeal spelt pancakes with coffee cardamom chocolate sauce.
Baking in a heatwave probably isn’t the most sensible thing to do, but it has the advantage of butter softening almost instantly. This made creaming the butter and sugar together an absolute breeze.
I didn’t have any coffee powder for these biscuits, but I did have coffee granules. It was a quick and easy task to grind them with a pestle & mortar. I killed two birds with one stone and ground the cardamom seeds this way as well.
Instead of my usual wholemeal spelt flour, I decided to mix it up with some rye flour along with some oats for extra texture. Rye works surprisingly well in cakes and biscuits when mixed with other flours and gives a bit of added body.
The beauty of using chocolate bars in these coffee chocolate chip cookies, rather than dedicated chocolate chips, is that you get all sorts of sizes when you chop it yourself. A mix of chunks, chips and tiny fragments all go to make the biscuits more interesting.
These coffee chocolate chip cookies would have been beautifully round biscuits if it wasn’t for two things. Firstly, we’re in the middle of a heat wave and the kitchen was way too hot. I should have cooled the cookie dough in the fridge before rolling it into balls and placing on the rack. This would have meant the cookies wouldn’t have spread so much. My fridge, however, was chock a block and I couldn’t find room.
Secondly, I should have spaced the cookies well apart from each other. In my desperation to turn the oven off as soon as possible, I had to fit the cookies onto my only two trays that will fit into this new-to-me old oven. The result were two trays of cookies that had virtually merged into each other. Not particularly pretty, but luckily, the taste and texture are not affected at all. These coffee chocolate chip cookies with cardamom are delicious and just what I was hoping for.
Let Us Know
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these coffee chocolate chop cookies, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or via social media. Do share photos on your preferred social media site and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them. For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. PIN IT.
Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies – The Recipe
Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 120 g unsalted butter - softened
- 175 g light brown muscovado sugar
- 1 tbsp coffee powder or ground granules
- 4 cardamom pods - seeds extracted and ground
- 1 large egg I used a duck egg
- 80 g light rye flour
- 60 g wholemeal flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 85 g rolled oats
- 40 g Pacari cardamom chocolate 60% dark chocolate - chopped
- 30 g Pacari coffee chocolate 60% dark chocolate - chopped
- Cream the butter, sugar, coffee and ground cardamom seeds together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg.
- Sift in the flours, soda and baking powder, then add the oats. Stir until just combined.
- Finally add the chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
- Take heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture and place well apart on lined baking sheets.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180C (Gas 4, 358F) for about 13 minutes until golden. Bake for an extra couple of minutes if you want a crispier biscuit.
- Leave on the trays to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
I’m sharing these coffee chocolate chip cookies with my link-up #WeShouldCocoa. They also go to #BakingCrumbs at Only Crumbs Remain, #BakeOfTheWeek, hosted by Casa Costello and #CookBlogShare, hosted this week by Easy Peasy Foodie.
Pacari Chocolate Giveaway
Pacari Chocolate Bars
I was sent some Pacari Chocolate bars to try. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blithe and blogging.