Updated: Jan 16, 2021
As we are all quite aware, there's been some weirdness floating around the universe, so I'm just going to go right ahead and attempt to bring some joy to your world as I introduce this year's edition of the holiday bites. Now, if you were a fan of them last year, the recipes haven't changed *much*, and depending on your favourite holiday flavours, there might just be even more to love.
FLAVOUR #1: CANDY CANE COCOA
These bad boys were the best seller of the 2019 season. Given the peppermint flavour, they are predictable but still give the tastebuds a delightful surprise - adults and kids alike.
meet the team
Ontario organic rolled oats, organic fair-trade cocoa powder, almond butter, local unpasteurized honey, organic coconut oil, crushed candy cane, organic peppermint oil, sea salt
the three stars
i. organic Ontario rolled oats
As we know, Ontario can't grow everything but we can grow oats, which obviously means I am going to take advantage of it. The sourcing of the high-fibre, micronutrient rich grain is from Oak Manor Organics, a mill in Tavistock, about 35 minutes outside of KW - and home to one of the nicest rinks back in the minor hockey days.
ii. local unpasteurized honey
Some argue "sugar is sugar," and while there are similarities between table sugar, pasteurized honey and unpasteurized honey, there are also differences worth noting: the presence of antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as trace amounts of amino acids, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. Pasteurization and heavy processing on the other hand, is a process that destroys the yeast by applying high heat to extend the shelf life.
iii. simply organic peppermint flavour
Sure, it's a team effort but the peppermint oil is where the flavour punch is packed, allowing me to use less candy cane (keeping sugar at 4g/bite) without sacrificing flavour. In fact, it's the second-smallest quantity of all the ingredients but makes perhaps the biggest impact.
FLAVOUR #2: GINGERBREAD
Perhaps this flavour isn't the most ordered of the two but those who love them, reaaaaaally love them. With a more unique flavour profile, the gingerbread holiday bites are somewhere between eating a classic gingerbread cookie and eating the dough itself.
meet the team
Ontario organic rolled oats, almond butter, almond flour, local maple syrup, organic blackstrap molasses, organic medjool dates, chia seeds, organic cinnamon, organic ginger, organic cloves, organic nutmeg, sea salt
the three stars
i. organic blackstrap molasses
Blackstrap molasses has a slight bitter, robust flavour and contains worthy health components like calcium, magnesium and iron. In fact, one gingerbread bite contains about 5% of your recommended daily iron, a common deficiency. I mean, I could put a cup of spinach in there for the same iron content, but I felt like it wouldn't go over quite as well. Blackstrap molasses, it is.
ii. maple syrup
As I was making one batch, something seemed off. The colour was there, the smell of gingerbread was there, but the texture was missing. As I went through my list, I realized I had forgotten the maple syrup. I poured it in, turned on the food processor and watched as the gooey goodness began to unfold. In large part, the maple syrup is ultimately what brings the dough-like consistency. And hey, here's a bonus side note: between the 3 unique natural sweeteners in the gingerbread bites, there is still only 5g of sugar per. That is half of what you'll find in a timbit, and a third of a mini pack of skittles.
iii. allllll the spices
I don't have a lot of experience making gingerbread cookies, but after some review of critical spices, I made the choice to include cinnamon, ginger spice, cloves and nutmeg. Many classic recipes include some, but most don't include them all. This flavour combination was my second recipe test, and it's safe to say the 'testing' phase ended there.
FLAVOUR #3: VITAMIN C-OCOA
If you were one who loved your seasonal dose of Terry's Chocolate Orange in your stocking or under the three, this one's for you.
meet the team
Ontario organic rolled oats, organic + fair trade cocoa powder, almond butter, maple syrup, ground flax, almond flour, orange zest + juice, organic + fair trade bittersweet chocolate chips
the three stars
i. orange zest + juice
This fruit certainly isn't local, but it's a Christmas flavour, so I pulled it in anyways. Plus, extra vitamin-c this holiday season is never a bad thing. The bites contain real zest and the juice of that same orange, which makes up the entirety of the citrus flavouring.
ii. ground flax
There's no bad time to pop in some additional omega-3's, so I threw freshly ground flax seed into the mix as it's one of the best plant sources of the nutrient. It doesn't add or takeaway much flavour at all, but instead, gives you another reason to feel good about what you're eating.
iii. bittersweet chocolate chips
There's not three, not two, not one but HALF a tablespoon of these dairy-free dark chocolate chips in a batch. They are finely chopped but still provide an additional flair of flavour and crunch as you mindfully eat them.
THE 2020 UPDATES
The gingerbread will see a little change-up with the hopes that they will maintain their structure a little bit better, which is why some almond butter has been subbed out for almond flour, and chia seeds have been called up to the plate.
The candy cane energy bites will see no change of recipe; if it ain't broken, don't fix it, right?
The holiday bite pack will include all three flavours for a burst of excitement at your family holiday party, or in your own fridge or freezer for personal consumption. I encourage both.
THE ORDER SYSTEM
Orders can be placed on the iii website (click here) and will be ready every Friday from November 20th until December 11th, and daily from December 14th to 18th.
It's been a wild year of development for The III and I am looking forward to what's next as I inch closer to making the dream a reality. Here's to soaking up the 2020 holidays as best we can and setting ourselves up for bigger and better things in 2021.
Cheers to a better future,