February 5, 2020
Meet Kat and Gerrit, whose chocolate company reaches for the stars
A dwarf star is one that’s typically of a smaller size and lower luminosity than other stars; the term, coined in 1906 by Danish astronomer Ejnar Hertzsprung, has been adopted by Calgary marketing whiz Kathryn Kozody and SAIT grad/red seal chef Gerrit Janssen for their allergy-friendly chocolate company.
The pair launched a collection of peanut-free, nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan (and sugar-free options), addressing a family peanut allergy (and Kat’s lactose intolerance) while filling consumer demand for delicious allergen-friendly options.
Having spent 10 years in the restaurant industry, including time in the kitchen at Raw Bar and Foreign Concept, Janssen created their lineup of white, milk and dark chocolate-coated pumpkin seed butter cups. There’s a sugar-free version, and they’ve launched seasonal varieties over the holidays.
Why Dwarf Star? Restaurant-quality perfection was drilled into Gerrit’s culinary style after so many years in the industry. He was frustrated by the imperfections inherent in the pumpkin seed butter cups, but Kat loved their rough and quirky look. Going for all-natural products, they didn’t want to resort to unnecessary additions to make them smooth or shiny. Dwarf Stars seemed like the perfect fit—smaller in size and lower in luminosity, but still stars regardless of the way they looked. They’re a bit out of the ordinary on the outside, but delicious and good for you on the inside, says Kat, and fitting with the overall message they hope to convey with their brand. The really cool thing, she adds, is that Dwarf Stars can be incredibly powerful when pairs of them coalesce, and can even create a supernova or large stellar explosion. Never underestimate the power (or deliciousness) of a Dwarf Star.
For more information, visit Kat and Gerrit’s website or pick them up at your favourite Calgary Co-op location!
Vegan Aquafaba Dwarf Star Cookies
Aquafaba is the viscous liquid in which chickpeas and other legumes have been cooked and stored. It has the ability to mimic the properties of egg whites, which makes them a perfect vegan substitute for things like meringues. The liquid strained from a can of chickpeas is ideal; it’s slightly thicker and will whip up more easily than the liquid left over from simmering your own dry chickpeas.
These tasty morsels fit perfectly with the concept of dwarf stars—they may be visually unassuming, but taste fantastic and are perfect for those with egg and gluten allergies or intolerances, who often have limited options when it comes to cookies!
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chickpeas)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 packages Dwarf Stars pumpkin seed butter cups (any variety)
Preheat the oven to 250˚F.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the sugar and cream of tartar. In a large bowl, beat the aquafaba on high speed with an electric mixer until it starts to thicken. Slowly add the sugar mixture, continuing to beat for 5-10 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
Roughly chop the pumpkin seed butter cups and fold them into the aquafaba. Drop by the spoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the meringues are pale golden and dry. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.
Dwarf Stars actually has a great recipe for chocolate muffins (with photos) you could share.
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