Creating Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar
with Stephanie Bullen
February 5, 2014
With over 160 different spice blends lining the shelves of our stores, people are always curious to know what inspired all of our unique flavor combinations. So we’d like to share with you the process by which our limited time (exclusively for Valentine’s Day) Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar was created.
We set out with the thought of creating something special for Valentine’s Day. In talking about Valentine’s Day, we always come back to chocolate. Our Baker’s Brew coffee and cocoa blend has quickly become a customer favorite. In addition to spiced hot chocolates, we have two cocoa blends: Mexican (blended with cinnamon) and Mayan (with the kick of a few different chiles). The popularity of these blends tells us that, like us, our customers love cocoa!
That’s when Savory Spice Shop founder Mike Johnston got an idea. Our vanilla sugars are popular, so why not create chocolate sugar just for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate sugar was a great idea but would be even more fun as sugar cubes. The recipe was inspired in part by our existing recipe for Vanilla Bean Sugar Cubes, which you can try in your own kitchen! Mike ultimately created one recipe that would become both cubes and granulated Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar.
Jake and production mananger, Aimee, sample test batches of Black Onyx Sugar Cubes.
Creating a blend is a process of trial and error, involving a lot of tweaks. Mike often says that you never get a blend right the first time. It took us several iterations before we achieved the balanced and unique flavor we were seeking: a sugar base infused with chocolate extract and layered with black onyx cocoa, with notes of aromatic Mexican vanilla and mild Ceylon cinnamon. These first batches were prepared in the test kitchen, sending a wonderful brownie-like aroma wafting through the warehouse.
Once Mike finalizes the blend recipe, it goes into test production. Much like the initial creation of a blend, test production often involves a few tweaks as our production manager Aimee creates larger batches. The final process involves pressing the damp sugar mixture into sheet pans and scoring each sheet. After being processed, the trays of Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar Cubes are stacked on a rack. We then separate them into individual cubes, a delicate process that it has to be done by hand. At the same time, we pull out any cubes that have broken. After completing this step, there’s always some granulated sugar left. We blend that into the granulated Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar.
The finished product! Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar and Cubes.
We have some wonderful recipes that use our vanilla sugars where you could easily substitute Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar. Try our Black Onyx Chocolate Sugar in Snickerdoodles Done Right or boost the chocolate flavor in Mary’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Torte. This sugar would also be great with some less conventional desserts like Grilled Spiced Sugar Bananas with Spiced Nuts.
Sometimes you don’t need a recipe, just some quick and easy uses. Drop a cube into your hot cereal or oatmeal or stir into a hot drink like Chai. We tried it in mint tea and loved the subtle hint of cocoa. You could also try it in orange spice tea, vanilla, or rooibos teas.
As always, we love to hear how you use our products. If you have tried these or any of our recipes, please leave a review.
Happy Valentine’s Day!