RawSpiceBar Subscription Box Review – May 2015
RawSpiceBar is a monthly subscription that sends freshly ground, small batch custom spice blends (and recipes that utilize them).
The spices are shipped via USPS. Past shipments have arrived in a sturdy kraft mailer with a colorful paper sleeve inside. This month, the spices were sent in a thin envelope. I’m a little disappointed to see that RawSpiceBar has downgraded their packaging, but everything still arrived in good condition.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription: RawSpiceBar
The Cost: $6 per month with free shipping
The Products: 3-4 freshly ground spice blends from one geography or region, enough to create 3 dishes serving 8-12 people.
Ships to: US and Canada.
Each month, RawSpiceBar sends spices from one region or geographical area. This shipment features spice blends from the Peruvian Andes.
This month’s shipment centers on pollo la brasa, or roast chicken. The recipes include: Peruvian Spiced Roasted Chicken, Roasted Aji Amarillo Sweet Potato Wedges, and Pink Peppercorn & Sea Salt Valadores.
Peruvian Spice Rub- .4 oz
According to the information on the spice packet, “this chili spiked rub is used to create juicy, spicy Peruvian Chicken.” It’s a blend of red chiles, paprika, cumin, black pepper, and oregano.
Aji Amarillo Spices- .4 oz
This blend features the aji Amarillo chile, which is known for being spicy but also having full-bodied, fruity flavor. Mixed with the dried aji Amarillo is coriander, basil, mustard seed, cumin, and black pepper. RawSpiceBar recommends using this blend to make Peruvian potatoes or rice.
Pink Peppercorn Blend- .3 oz
Pink peppercorns have a fruity flavor and a mild, peppery bite. They’re often used in Peruvian cuisine, and this blend pairs them with pink Himalayan sea salt. It’s such a beautiful blend. Here’s a closeup:
I’ve never made Peruvian chicken before, so I was very excited to learn about the spices that are traditionally used in the recipe. Also, roasted chicken is one of my favorite things to make, so I couldn’t wait to try this Peruvian version!
Recipe #1- Peruvian Spiced Roasted Chicken
To make the Peruvian Roasted Chicken, I first created a marinate by pureeing lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, sugar, and the Peruvian Spice Rub. I marinated the chicken for several hours and then roasted it in the oven for about an hour and a half. When the internal temperature reached 140 degrees, it was done.
The chicken was tender, juicy, and delicious. The RawSpiceBar spices added fantastic flavor, and I couldn’t help but devour the spiced chicken skin (which I usually discard).
Recipe #2- Roasted Aji Amarillo Sweet Potato Wedges
To accompany the chicken, RawSpiceBar recommended making roasted sweet potato wedges. I sliced the sweet potatoes and tossed them in olive oil, salt, and the Aji Amarillo Spice Blend.
They roasted in the oven until they were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
The potatoes were fantastic. I loved the blend of spices, and my husband deemed these “the best sweet potatoes ever.”
Recipe #3- Pink Peppercorn & Sea Salt Voladores
Voladares are light and crispy Peruvian cookie sandwiches. To make RawSpiceBar’s version, I began by mixing, resting, and then rolling a dough made from flour, salt, and egg yolk. From the start, something didn’t seem right with the recipe. The dough was very dry (I had to add moisture to bring it together into a ball) and, even then, it seemed too firm.
Regardless, I rolled out the dough (as thinly as I could) and cut out the cookies. I baked them at 350.
They puffed up a little bit but were soft even after they cooled (voladares should be crispy). Still, I moved forward with the recipe in the hope that they might still be tasty, if not technically correct. I filled them with chocolate ganache (made from dark chocolate, butter, and cream) and the salty pink peppercorns. To garnish, I topped the cookie sandwiches with powdered sugar and another sprinkle of the spice blend.
These cookies were kind of a hot mess. I thought they were beautiful, but, unfortunately, they didn’t taste nearly as good as they looked. Since the recipe didn’t specify an egg size, I used large eggs in my dough, but I think it would have been better if I’d used extra large eggs. Looking at other recipes online, I think my dough was a little too dry, which prevented me from rolling it as thinly as it needed to be to crisp in the oven. I couldn’t really get past their soft and chewy texture, and the balance between salty and sweet was way off. Looking back, I would have used less of the peppercorn spice blend, to ensure the cookies weren’t overly salted.
Verdict: This shipment from RawSpiceBar was a little hit and miss for me. On one hand, I loved the chicken and potatoes. On the other, the cookie recipe was a little disappointing. I’m sure if I made them again they’d turn out well, but I’m sad that I wasted my beautiful peppercorn spice mix on cookies that were a flop! Still, I enjoyed giving them a shot, and I love that RawSpiceBar pushes me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to make new and unfamiliar dishes. I love their monthly themes, and I think the spices are consistently of a very high quality. I would definitely recommend RawSpiceBar for home cooks looking to spice up their cooking (so to speak). I think it’s a great, inexpensive subscription for adventurous cooks looking to try something new!
What did you think of this month’s RawSpiceBar? Did you have better luck with your cookies?