Ask anybody who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m 26 going on 76. There really is nothing I love more than a cancelled plan. Except maybe my pyjamas, steaming hot buckets of hot chocolate and the kind of cupboard staples that some might save for cheat days (pssh) so a combination of all of the above is pretty much my utopia.
Rewind back 2 weeks and there I am, butt on couch, cuppa in hand doing what I do best on a Sunday night – one eye on Dragon’s Den, the other squashed up (so attractively) against a cushion. I’ve got to be honest, the nonstop bickering between Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden is often just the backing track to a good post-Sunday roast sloth sesh but this season, there was one bold dragon slayer who made me sit up and listen and that was the lovely Sarah Hilleary from B-Tempted.
The B-Tempted brand is a bit of me. As you know, I’m a part-time gluten dodger and I do like my GF gnocchi and my Nairn’s Astro Bites so this gluten free baking brand is definitely right up my alley. After drooling my way through Sarah’s successful pitch (go on, gal!) and vowing to sample the goods ASAP bloomin’ Rocky, you can imagine how chuffed I was when the Chief Temptation Officer herself sent me a whole heap of her fabulous friand to try.
I’d never actually come face to face with a friand before these bad boys so did a little pre-scoff research and discovered that they are in fact, a petite cake traditionally made with almond meal and flavoured with fruit. Of course, Sarah has refined her recipes to be accessible to those with a gluten intolerance or digestive sensitives. I was eager to tuck in so enlisted the help of some particularly willing taste-buds and set up a little tasting session. Here’s what we thought…
Madagascan Vanilla & Flaked Almond – This recipe proved to be a winner across the board and all I can say is I’m glad there was 6 of them in the packet because there might have been fisticuffs otherwise. Likened to birthday cake by more than one and greedily chomped down by all, this decadent combination of sweet vanilla, moist sponge and the crunch of toasty almond was to die for.
Raspberry, White Chocolate & Pistachio – A close second in my eyes, this reminded me of the raspberry and white chocolate muffin I used to love from Starbucks but sans gluten. Richly sweet and beautifully tangy all in the same flavoursome bite and crowned with a generous scattering of pistachio nuts for the perfect crunch per bite.
Flourless Brownie – The Flourless Brownies come in Classic, Sea Salt & Chilli flavours and it was the Sea Salt that actually stole our hearts. We even had a brownie hater (yep, they do exist) in the house who was a total convert to these bitesize beauties so if that’s not a glowing commendation then I don’t know what is. More crumbly than gooey but most definitely delicious.
White Chocolate & Rose – This one was the most delicate of the bunch and a very pleasant party in the mouth. An afternoon tea party that is, not a 90’s neon rave. For some the rose flavour was just that little bit too subtle but as somebody who doesn’t typically enjoy the taste of rose, it was the ideal measure for me. Like a timid little Turkish Delight.
Lemon, White Chocolate & Cashew – I’m not actually a lemon lover (unless it’s coming to me straight from a San Pellegrino can) but everybody else tucked right into these ones and came back with good reviews. The balance of subtle but sharp lemon and the sweet white chocolate was delicious, or so I’m told.
Matcha Green Tea & Macadamia – Well weren’t these babies the dark horse of the bunch! None of us were expecting to enjoy this flavour but it actually gained lip smacks from the majority. Kind of like having your cup of tea and your slice of cake all in one bite, this is an unusual but moreish mix.
Dark Chocolate & Hazelnut – In the same way I was surprised the Matcha tea friands ended up so high in the peking order, I raised an eyebrow when these guys came out bottom of the pile. Still perfectly nice and with that naturally nutty taste that makes you feel like you might actually be eating something reasonably nutritious but just not quite a match for the other knockout combos.
Handmade in Leytonstone, East London, all of the sweet treats we sampled are definitely more dense than a classic gluten free sponge recipe but that’s the nature of the friand and their nut-based composition. The mixture might be more compact but believe me when I say they were as light as a feather going down and left me with no belly-busting bloat for at least 6 hours after.
As versatile as can be, I think these would make for the perfect finale at your next dinner party, or the ideal coffee accompaniment when you just want a little something to make you smile. Oh and a 14 day shelf lift post-baking proves their freshness and shouldn’t be too much of an issue because they certainly wouldn’t be hanging around much longer than that I’m sure.
If you fancy getting your sticky mitts on some of B-Tempted’s beautiful baked goods then I do believe they are now available at Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Wholefoods, Bayley & Sage and online at www.b-tempted.co.uk. Although I did spy them on Amazon too! I imagine this stockist list will keep growing over the next few months though so just you keep your peepers peeled because these babies are worth every single bite of luxury gluten free gluttony.
I was very generously gifted these GF goods to try out but all opinions are honest and our very own.