I’ll be honest: As an avid baker with a highly discerning sweet tooth, I make it a rule to almost never purchase packaged desserts. Most of the time I’d rather just make them myself. This particularly applies to cookies. I find that your average pre-packaged store-bought cookie tastes, well, pre-packaged and store-bought. Usually there are flavors and textures present that guarantee a long ingredient list full of scary words such as partially hydrogenated and yellow #6, which aren’t exactly tempting.
For Tate’s Bake Shop cookies, however, I would break my rule. I mean, just look at these guys!
I received an email from the people at Tate’s last week, asking me if I would be interested in trying their Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate cookies (uh, yeah!) and doing a review and a giveaway on my site.I don’t really do many product reviews and giveaways either, but again, for Tate’s I made an exception. Why? Because I’d actually been dying to try these cookies since they had first been introduced.
But wait a minute, I thought that you didn’t “do” pre-packaged cookies.
I generally don’t, but Tate’s Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate cookies had recently won the Gold sofi Award in the Cookie category at the 2011 Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., where I had a booth for my granola. These are like the Oscars for specialty foods, and they are tough to win. I had heard the buzz that had been building around this product at the show, and I knew that for a chocolate chip cookie to win the top prize, it had to be darn good.
And they ARE. Darn great, for that matter. Thin. Crisp. Buttery. Caramel-ly (OK, so that’s not a word, but you know what I mean.) Rich dark chocolate generously scattered throughout. In a word: Addictive.
I’m much more of a dark chocolate person than a milk chocolate person, and I prefer crisp chocolate chip cookies to soft, so these are perfect for me. Plus, they are all-natural: Dark chocolate chips, white whole wheat flour, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, and water. No scary ingredients whatsoever!
Bonus: As I apprehensively turned over the bag to look at what I was sure would be a diet-destroying calorie count, I was happy to see the number 80, with only 4 grams of fat. Not too bad, especially since I kept finding myself reaching for a piece here and there throughout the day (such as while I type this post.)
Tate’s has been kind enough to offer a super-sweet prize package to one of my Peanut Butter and Julie readers, which I have detailed below. In addition, the are offering ALL of my readers an opportunity to try their cookies with an exclusive discount coupon worth 15% off at their e-bakery. Just enter the word “COOKIE” at checkout through October 31.
In order to be considered for the giveaway, please leave a comment including your favorite Halloween candy. I still haven’t decided what we are going to give out this year, and I need some ideas
You can also earn extra entries if you “like” Tate’s Bake Shop on Facebook and/or Twitter. Please let me know in your comment if you have done so! On Saturday, October 15, I will randomly select one lucky winner to receive:
- Not one, but THREE bags of Tate’s Bake Shop’s Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Chip cookies
- A signed copy of Kathleen King’s fantastic Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook, pictured below
I have owned this cookbook for a few years now, and it has definitely reached the stage where the pages are dusted with flour and the occasional chocolate-covered fingerprint (that’s the sign of a good cookbook, right?) This book is filled with recipes for all of the treats that you would hope to find inside a classic American bakery like Tate’s. And yes, there is even a recipe for their chocolate chip cookies!
As a preview for the lucky winner, I created one of my favorite recipes from the cookbook, the deceptively simple no-bake Chocolate Mousse Cake. This would be a perfect dessert for entertaining: It can be made in advance, and it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
- The cake can be made in advance and frozen, wrapped tightly, for 3-4 days. It can also be refrigerated overnight.
- Instead of making one large cake, you can make individually sized portions in mini springform pans, or you could even make individual cups, as pictured below.
- If you can’t find the chocolate wafer cookies at your grocery store (I sometimes have a hard time), you can always grind up some Oreos instead. Since the Oreos have the cream filling in them to help keep the crust moist, I suggest cutting the amount of butter in the recipe by a few tablespoons.
Tate’s Chocolate Mousse Cake
Makes one 10-inch round cake or two 7-inch round cakes
For the Crust
3 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
9 tablespoons salted butter, melted
For the Mousse Filling
2 3/4 cups chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 large eggs
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups heavy whipping cream
For the Topping
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Prepare the crust: Grind the chocolate wafers in a blender or a food processor. Place them in a bowl and add the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture into a 10-inch springform pan, covering the bottom and the sides evenly. Refrigerate the pan.
Prepare the mousse filling: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double-boiler. Remove it from the heat and transfer the melted chocolate to a large bowl. Add the whole eggs and mix them in well using an electric mixer. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff. For the cream and egg whites into the chocolate mixture until completely incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and chill it overnight or freeze it for future use.
Make the topping: Whip the heavy cream with the sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form.
Loosen the crust on all sides using a sharp knife and remove the sides of the springform pan. Cover the cake evenly with the cream topping one hour before serving and chill.