Product Review: Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit

Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit
Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit

Product: Scratch & Grain Baking Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit – $6.99+

It was on a whim and by sheer luck that I ran across the gluten-free cookie kits that Scratch & Grain Baking Co. have out on the market.  I was, actually, walking around Target with my roommate on my lunch break, scoping out the various clearance end caps, because this is what we do for fun.  We live in a wild and crazy town, you see?

*sigh*

But…this actually turned out to be a good thing.  Because one of the sections happened to have a couple boxes of Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Cookie Kits.  No joke.  First of all, I had never heard of these.  Second of all, it involved cookies.  Third of all, I wanted to try them.

Granted, I have been working on trying to not eat as many sugary treats…and I’m getting better, but sometimes, you just need to have a cookie.  And this looked easy enough.

Scratch & Grain Bakery Co. grew out of an unfortunate baking experience, leading two (2) moms (Taya and Leah, from Portland, Oregon) to make homemade baking fun and easy.    After Leah spent 3 hours in her kitchen baking cardboard cookies with her daughters, she texted Taya and told her she had a business idea and asked her to come over and discuss it.  The seed was planted and the two women began discussing the concept and vision of the products and company.  They focused on wanting to make homemade baking fun, delicious, easy…and a little healthier.  And so, they got to work creating a baking kit that included all of the BEST ingredients, already measured out and wrapped individually so you know what is in your food…and the actual baking process is made easy and fun.  After testing thousands of variations for the kits, Taya and Leah put together the perfect recipes.  Then, they set out to learn the ins and outs of product development and design – not outsourcing any aspect of their product, keeping all of the product components production right there in Portland.  They even included a few gluten-free products, although neither of them are gluten-free.  They both have close family members who do have Celiac, and as they are not fans of most gluten-free products, they knew they had to make a few products that were gluten-free, but still tasted amazing, delicious, and as close to any whole-wheat version.  They wouldn’t produce a product that they were unwilling to eat, so that means…quality is guaranteed.

So, tonight, just before I set out to get dinner ready, I pulled this little box out of my pantry and gathered up the two additional ingredients needed to prepare these cookies.  No joke…you just need an egg (or egg replacer)…and 2 tablespoons of butter.  Except, I used 1.5 tablespoons of applesauce instead, to make it lower in fat.  Also, I was just being lazy and didn’t feel like melting butter in my microwave.  HA!!  So, it was time to mix up the ingredients and get my Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie on.

Individually Packaged Ingredients in the Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit
Individually Packaged Ingredients in the Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit

This kit included 10 individually packaged ingredients.  These included baking powder, vanilla powder, salt, cane sugar, flax, cocoa, flour, chocolate chips, walnuts, and finishing salt.  In a bowl, I put the apple sauce (or butter if you do butter) and add the ingredients per package instructions, stirring to blend them each time to perfection.  Then, once everything is added and mixed well, you put 1 tablespoon of batter (mine was a little runny…but it worked in the end) onto a baking sheet and pop it into the oven for about 11-13 minutes.  Do not overcook them, or they will flatten.  Let them cook for 5-10 minutes before stuffing your face…er…moving them to a cooling rack.

So…here’s the deal…I was not impressed with the batter, as the tablespoons I dropped began to spread and run together.  But the magic happened in the oven.  When I pulled these out, they had puffed up a little, and were soft and chewy just from the look of them.  I let them cool on the rack while I ate dinner…but after that…dessert was so happening.  I handed a cookie to my roommate and I took another one…and we both took a bite.

While, at first, I had been unimpressed and ready to give up on them and just toss it…I am so glad that I didn’t.  These cookies are rich, chewy, amazing chocolate cookies of yumminess and awesomeness.  OH. MY. COOKIE. GODS.  I was skeptical and ready to just call it a failure, but these cookies are amazing.  Not only are they easy and quick to mix up and prepare, they also make for perfect portion control.  Both my roommate and I were quick to devour the cookie I served each of us.  We literally didn’t even sit down…just noshed them down there in the tiny apartment kitchen.  Impressed doesn’t even begin to cover it.  We were loving every bite of these.  I moved the rest of them over to a rack to cool down and have stored them away for dessert for the next 5 days.

WOW.

Let’s talk about the ingredients that go into the Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit.  This kit is made from semi-sweet chocolate chips (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, dextrose, soya lecithin), cocoa (sugar, cocoa potassium carbonate unsweetened chocolate and pure vanilla, organic evaporated cane sugar, walnuts, multi-blend flour (brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch, xanthan gum), organic ground flaxseeds, sea salt, organic vanilla powder (organic sucrose and organic vanilla bean extractives), baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate).  The kits use all-natural GMO-free ingredients (because they taste better!), and most of the ingredients are also certified organic.

As for nutrition, the Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit is great for a cookie option.  A kit will make between 9-12 cookies.  A serving size is 1 cookie (24 grams dry mix).  This serving will serve you 130 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 19- mg sodium, 16 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 13 grams sugar, and 2 grams of protein.  It’s a cookie, but one you know exactly what you are putting into it and one that you can change up (like use applesauce like I did).  It’s a fun and easy way to enjoy cookies and bake them on your own, not relying on the packaged, and not always delicious, or soft, or chewy, premade gluten free cookies on the shelf at your grocery store.

Needless to say, Scratch & Grain Baking Co. really won me over with the end result of their Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookie Kit.  I hope to discover other varieties out at Target, as their gluten-free lineup includes Snickerdoodles and Peanut Butter cookies.

Sounds amazing to me.  And now…I know the high quality product that will emerge.  SO happy with this little kit.  Let’s hear it for going out on a whim and having it pay off in spades…or cookies.

Baked Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookies from Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Cookie Kit
Baked Gluten Free Chocolate Truffle Cookies from Scratch & Grain Baking Co. Gluten Free Cookie Kit

Product Review: Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix + Recipe Bonus

Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix
Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix

Product: Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix – $8.75

So, this was it…my last Cuisine Cube…and this…this product was the last one that I had from the May (Is For Mom) 2015 Cuisine Cube that I received.  I had to cancel my subscription due to budget constraints…and that wasn’t an easy decision.  I loved…LOVED…this company and I loved discovering new products through them.

Yeah…that’s what Cuisine Cube is all about.  And one day, I sincerely hope to be able to go back to them and subscribe again.  That being said, before I get to the product that I lasted until now, let me tell you a little more about Cuisine Cube.

Cuisine Cube is a subscription service that delivers 5-6 gluten-free, full-size products to your door for as little as $34.99/month. Inside the cube, you will discover full-size products (not sample sizes) that are made by local and smaller, artisan companies, rather than those that you can find at the average grocery store.  It has introduced me to so many new and delightful products.  Each box contains a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert product…and then, sometimes, an extra bonus item.  Who doesn’t love a little something extra, right?   Keep in mind, however, that Cuisine Cube has gone through some changes as of May.  No longer do they strictly only offer gluten-free cubes.  In addition to their gluten-free option, they now also offer Artisan and Vegan cubes as well.  The Artisan cube means that you have no food allergies and foods that contain common food allergens will be included.  The Vegan cubes contain products that are dairy and animal free.  And, they still have the Gluten Free cubes, which will have products that contain no gluten or wheat.  So, if you’re really interested in being introduced to the smaller, lesser-known, artisan companies, give Cuisine Cube a try!  It’s like…Christmas…or your birthday…every month!  Who doesn’t love that?!

The last product from my May Is For Mom 2015 Cuisine Cube box was none other than the dessert product – Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake.  Why the long wait to use this?  Well, believe it or not, with as much of a sweet tooth I am…I am not really big on cake.  Secondly…I’m not a big fan of red velvet either.  Hence…the reason it sat so long on my shelf.  But, as I’m working on clearing out items from my pantry and fridge, prepping for a new year and new goals…this product was up.  And instead of baking a cake (again…not a fan of cake or red velvet), I decided to bake cookies.

Before I talk about the product any further, let me tell you a little about Rabbit Creek Products.  Rabbit Creek Products gets its name from a creek that runs through a small eastern Kansas town.  The founder, Donna Cook, a self-described “country girl” grew up in the heart of Kansas, offering a diverse array of food from traditional country with influences from Germany, Sweden, and other reaches of the world.  She founded Rabbit Creek Products determined to capture the taste of old fashioned cooking with a designer style and share it with people everywhere.  Her innovative mixes make Rabbit Creek a leader in the gourmet industry.  Cook was named business woman of the year in Kansas in 1995. Holding that title to its highest standard, Cook insists that Rabbit Creek does the same with their products.  Rabbit Creek has over 350 different mixes, including dips, soups, quick breads, beer breads, brownies, desserts, and scones mixes, among others.  And…now gluten free products have made their appearance on their product list.

Thanks to Cuisine Cube, I had the opportunity to try out the Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix.  As stated before…I am not a fan of cake nor of red velvet, so this was a tricky one.  But, instead of baking up a cake…I decided to attempt to make cake mix cookies out of this mix.  The recipe will follow below…and, I wasn’t exactly sure this was going to work…but I figured…I love cookies…why not give it a go?

By mixing the Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix with baking powder, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla and folding in Greek Yogurt baking chips…I actually managed to create a decent enough, fluffy, light dough that had a cake-y and a cookie-ish like texture to it.  I scooped it into little balls and placed the dough on a cookie sheet, forming 12 perfectly round cookies.  Then, I put them into a preheated oven and let them bake for about 12 minutes.  Out came amazing looking cookies.  I let them cool for a few minutes, then…it was time to test them out.

I will say this…Rabbit Creek Products really is elevating the world of mixes.  Honestly.  I was amazed with how well the Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake  Mix worked in this recipe.  I had my doubts, but what emerged were light, chewy, soft red velvet cookies that had great flavor and weren’t overly sweet.  One problem I usually have with red velvet is how sweet it tastes.  While these did taste like a treat, they weren’t overly sugary and helped me feel really good about choosing to make them into cookies rather than baking a cake.  The texture was soft, light, and amazing.  Chewy and delicious.  I brought these to work, and got so many compliments on how good these were!  Definitely impressed.

So, let’s talk about the ingredients that go into the Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix.  This mix is made from gluten free flour (rice flour, brown rice flour, modified potato starch, modified tapioca starch, modified corn starch, xanthan gum), sugar, cocoa, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, red dye #40 and natural and artificial flavor.  This product is made in a dedicated kitchen.

Now let’s talk nutrition!  The Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix contains 16 servings.  One serving of the package (about 17 grams) will dish up 60 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grans trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 13 grams carbohydrats, less than 1 gram fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

And here’s how I made the cookies…with a recipe loosely based off of the Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies made by Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I just made changes where I needed for weight of the mix and measure of ingredients.  But it worked like a charm!

Recipe: Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies made from Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix
Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies made from Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix

Servings: 12
Time: Prep 5 minutes; Bake 12 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (9.6 oz) Rabbit Creek Products Gluten Free Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons vegetable/canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt Baking Chips (or White Chocolate Chips would work!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone. Gently mix in the the baking chips chips.

Drop rounded balls of dough, about 2 tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheet. Stick a few more chocolate chips on top of the cookie dough balls if you want them for looks, if desired. Make sure the balls of dough are taller than they are wide.

Bake for 10-12 minutes not allowing the cookies get brown. Cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops may settle down; press them down gently with your fingers if they are not sinking much. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

~*~*~

Seriously…this cake mix made amazing chewy, deliciously flavorful, yummy red velvet cookies.  And this from someone who is not a fan of red velvet or cake.  HA!  I do love cookies though.  And the addition of the baking chips definitely was a nice touch.

So, thank you, Cuisine Cube, for the introduction to the products that Rabbit Creek puts out.  And if any of you want to give their products I try, I urge you to visit their Web page and place an order.

Product Review: Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough

Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough
Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough

Product: Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough – $3.99+

My neighbors are awesome.  Let me just reiterate that fact now, if I haven’t said it enough in my previous blogs.

MY. NEIGHBORS. ARE. AWESOME.

I was downstairs having dinner with my amazing neighbors and friends on Sunday night (after a very entertaining game of cornhole), and we were just talking about anything and everything, as we very often do.  For awhile, they were trying out a gluten free and casein free diet for their young son, but it wasn’t making much of an impact…so they dropped off the wagon for now.  That being said, for a few weeks now, Michelle (that’s one of said neighbors) had been mentioning that Kroger now carried gluten-free and casein free cookies in the refrigerated section.  I am rarely over that way, so after feeding me delicious red lentils for dinner (they had bison burgers, but she made these AMAZING lentils for me and for others to use as a side), she was packing up leftovers.  They were keeping the remaining gluten-free and vegan corn pudding I made and she surprised me with a package of the very cookies she was talking about.

The Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough!

Immaculate Baking began with a cookie.  Now that’s the best start to any story, don’t you think?  Creator, Scott Blackwell used his garage to manifest a simple dream…to create perfect, mouth-watering, wholesome, homemade cookies that he could share with the world.  Today, that dream is becoming a reality.  Immaculate Baking offers cookies, sweet rolls, biscuits, pie crusts, and even…gluten-free cookies.  All products remain true to the company’s commitment to use simple and carefully-selected ingredients…so that every bite is packed with amazing, mouth-watering, crave-worthy flavor and texture.

I have had the Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough that is made by Immaculate Baking, and have to still give the Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough a try…but last night was all about chocolate.  My roommate was craving it and I never say no to a cookie or chocolate.  Two of my favorite things.  So, out of the refrigerator (after being in there less than 24 hours) and onto a baking sheet these went.  Yep…it is that easy.  These break and bake cookies are little balls of dough that you pull apart and then set on the baking sheet.  Place in a preheated 325°F oven for about 13-15 minutes and…at the end…you get an amazing, chocolatey-scented home…and fantastic little rounds of cookies.

Of course, the test is always with the taste.  And so, I dished one up to my roommate and one to me. One bite…one bite and I was in chocolate cookie heaven.  This reminded me, at first bite, fresh from the oven, of a warm pudding cake that I used to beg my mom to make for me.  Fantastic chocolate flavor.  Rich, chewy, and decadent.  These are an amazing, chewy bite of cookie.  Think about merging a dense, chewy brownie with a cookie…and that happy marriage is what this cookie is all about.  I was enamored with it.  I was lucky to hold myself to one.  That’s how good these are.  This is everything a cookie, gluten-free or not, should be.  I’m beyond impressed.

Let’s talk ingredients, shall we?  The Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough is made from palm fruit and canola oil, semisweet chocolate pieces (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla), powdered sugar (cane sugar, corn starch), potato starch, cane sugar, tapioca starch, rice flour, eggs, molasses, cocoa pressed with alkali, water, vanilla extract, xanthan gum, sea salt, guar gum and baking soda.  These cookies are certified gluten free.

As far as nutrition goes, the decadent Immaculate Baking Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough makes 12 cookies…and a serving size is 1 of these cookies.  This one cookie will provide you with 150 calories, 8 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 55 mg sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fiber, 12 grams sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.  A sweet, not going to fill you up treat.

When a cookie that you don’t even have to dirty a bowl by mixing up a bunch of ingredients can spark memories and satisfy the biggest chocolate craving, you know something is amazing about them.  Immaculate Baking made a cookie that is for the serious chocoholic.  This cookie monster was beyond impressed…because it was everything I wanted in one perfect cookie.  And, with the chewy and fudgy texture, you’d never guess these were gluten free.

I’m in a chocolate cookie coma…and I’m happy there.  Join me!

Restaurant Review: Bake Me Happy, Columbus, Ohio

Bake Me Happy, Columbus, Ohio
Bake Me Happy, Columbus, Ohio

Restaurant: Bake Me Happy, Columbus, Ohio

Okay…technically this is not a restaurant.  There is no open seating, no tables, no hostess…none of that.  This is a bakery.  Not just any bakery though. This bakery has huge kitchen space to work out of, and in turn, offers up quite a lot of gluten-free goodies in their store.

Bake Me Happy was started by the lovely Wendy and Letha, committing themselves to making each and every bite that you have from their products the most decadent thing you’ve had since sliced bread.  Sliced bread, however, is not on their menu.  After being self-diagnosed with gluten intolerance in 2006, Wendy immediately felt relieve from a life of digestive issues.  The only problem was…the gluten-free food choices available lacked flavor and texture, seriously limiting what she would be willing to consume (and who can blame her!?).  After many years of self-study, she decided to take the plunge and signed up for an immersion course at the Culinary Institute of America, experimenting with recipes and trying them out on unsuspecting friends.  Soon, both friends and family began requesting her treats for parties, and none of them were gluten intolerant.  From there, Wendy expanded and began offering her products to the public.  And from the huge response she got from her goodies…Bake Me Happy, the bakery, was born.  And because Wendy understands what it is like to have a food intolerance , you can guarantee that she takes great care and pride in the products that she puts out for the public.  Not only does she understand the importance of what she does, she also knows that a perfect recipe cannot be rushed and that the best things in life are worth waiting for.

Just over a month ago, I wrote up a review on Bake Me Happy’s Cream-Filled Spongies (think Twinkies), which I found in the freezer at Raisin Rack in Columbus, Ohio.  While they were…okay…they didn’t wow me.  And in response to my post about their product, the owners very kindly invited me to check out the bakery the next time I was in the Columbus area.  As one of my best friends lives in that area, I make the trip there numerous times a year.  And…this past Halloween weekend…that was where you found me.  And, I recalled their invite to check out what fresh goodness they had at their bakery, instead of a freezer at a natural foods store…so…that morning after breakfast, my friends and I journeyed over to their Merion Village retail location to check out what fresh goodies awaited.

First of all, I was completely blown away by the amount of space they had in there.  HUGE location.  I am so accustomed to my gluten free bakeries being little, tight spots that have a few seats and a small kitchen.  Not to say they don’t turn out quite a lot of products (Annie May’s Sweet Cafe and Cherbourg Bakery, I’m looking at you!), but this kitchen space was unbelievable.  You step inside and it’s just open and not congested, even if there is a line.  It was nice.  Their storefront contains a counter that was jammed full of fresh baked goodness, and a smaller fridge that kept items like their cheesecake bars and other dairy-based goodies chilled and fresh.  It was organized.  It was adorable.  And I already knew I wanted one of their soft t-shirts before I left.  HA!

Bake Me Happy's Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mummy Tart, Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Bundt, and Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffin
Bake Me Happy’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mummy Tart, Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Bundt, and Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffin

So, after going back and forth on a few items (I really wanted one of the huge Apple Dumplings, but the roomie, who I was splitting everything with, was less enthusiastic), we finally got our turn at the counter and we made our selections, keeping it reasonable and promising to return to try more.  So, four items.  It was hard to narrow it down.  In the end, we ended up going with a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mummy Tart, a Pumpkin Spice Donut Muffin, a Lemon Blueberry Bundt, and (not pictured above because I devoured it on the car ride home) a Almond, Coconut & Chocolate Chip Scone.  In addition to that (and for a later blog) I purchased a box of their Take-And-Bake scones in the Blueberry, Goat Cheese & Basil flavor (roomie’s choice!).

So, let’s start with what I ended up eating first.  The (not pictured) Gluten Free Almond, Coconut & Chocolate Chip Scone ($3.50) sounded like a dream to me.  Like…a baked treat version of an Almond Joy.  Delicious, right?  Absolutely right!!  This is the first time I have had a gluten-free scone that lived up to the scone name.  I make scones, but none of them get the layers of pastry, and that flaky and crumbly texture to them.  This one had exactly that.  It was the most perfect scone I have had since going gluten free.  It had that hard outer layer and inside was a dry, crumbly, but not dense.  More biscuit-like.  I was in love.  And the blend of the sweet coconut and chocolate with the nuttiness of the almond made for more love and praise than I can even convey in words here.  Needless to say, the scone was devoured in record time.  And I loved every single bite.  I might have licked my fingers clean too.  You can get Bake Me Happy’s Gluten Free Scones in the following flavors: Almond, Coconut and Chocolate Chip; Ham, Cheese and Chives; Maple Cream, Bacon and White Cheddar; Blueberry, Goat Cheese and Basil; Jalapeño, Pepper Bacon and Pepper Jack Cheese; Apricot, White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut; and Dill, White Cheddar and Stone Ground Mustard.

As I visited the bakery on Halloween, they had quite a few Halloween themed treats.  One of these was the adorable Gluten Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Mummy Tart ($3.50 (I think…)).  I mean, come on…they are tarts that look like mummies.  Eyes and everything.  Bonus…pumpkin flavored.  YUM YUM!!  This was the first thing I ate the next day when I set out to devour half of each pastry (with my roommate, who is not gluten-free) consuming the other half and giving me her thoughts.  I loved, loved, LOVED the light and flaky pastry that these tarts are made from.  It reminded me of puff pastry…flaky, buttery, amazing, delicious, heavenly.  And the pumpkin cream cheese filler was the perfect amount.  Not too much.  Not heavy handed.  But just enough to make it feel like you were taking a bite out of an amazing pumpkin pie.  I was in pumpkin-everything heaven, let me tell you!!  So happy.  The first thing I said to Cathy when I took a bite was, “OH MY GOD THIS PASTRY!”  Blown away.  This was the first pastry crust that has actually impressed me since I’ve been gluten free.  Total win.  Totally want another one…or ten.

The Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Bundt ($4.50) was Cathy’s (the roomie) choice when it came to items that we selected.  She is a sucker (see what I did there?) for anything lemon.  So, I had a feeling when we were making our selections that she would go that route.  Next time I want a flippin’ apple dumpling.  Because I have never seen a gluten free apple dumpling before.  But…no matter.  The bundt cake was dense, but not heavy.  I loved how moist and sticky good this little cake was.  The blueberries brought a nice pop of sweetness.  Cathy didn’t think there was enough lemon flavor in it, but I thought it struck a nice balance.  The lemon was complimentary to the blueberry, not overpowering or underwhelming.  Just right.  I might have saved this for my last bite because, while dense, I found the texture quite light, airy, and amazing.  And I thought the flavor was above and beyond what I expected.  Crazy good.

And, last but not least, falling under the category that if it’s pumpkin I want to eat it…is the Gluten Free Pumpkin Donut Muffin ($3.00).  Strangely enough, this turned out to be Cathy’s favorite thing that we bought at Bake Me Happy.  I was shocked when she told me that.  But, quite honestly, this was one of the most perfect gluten-free donut anythings that I’ve had in a long time.  The texture was perfect.  Not too dense, but not too light either.  Perfect balance.  The flavor was AMAZING.  Seriously.  It was pumpkin, and it was rolled in this fantastic cinnamon sugar topping that made each bite both savory and sweet and I loved it.  I devoured each and every forkful.  And I wish I had bought more of them. Pumpkin flavored or their standard donut muffin, it wouldn’t matter.  This is the consistency of donuts that I’ve been searching for…for years now.  Nailed it.  And I loved it enough to lick the plate.  No joke.

I have to say…fresh beats a freezer any day and Bake Me Happy sure did impress me with their fresh, made right there in the bakery, treats.  There was so much to choose from and not enough room in my budget or stomach for all of it.  That being said, I happily am ready to bake up some scones this weekend.  And I can’t wait to add this place to my list of stops for every single time I visit Columbus, Ohio.  I was beyond impressed.  And the staff was so friendly and helpful.  I didn’t get to meet the owners, as they were at the Celiac Conference that was going on (and that I didn’t know about until Friday as I was traveling), so hopefully next time I will be able to talk them up some.

If you are in or around Columbus, make it a point to drop by Bake Me Happy.  Buy a shirt (they are SO SOFT!) and buy up their goodies.  You won’t be disappointed.  Not one bit.  They certainly changed my tune.  Fresh is best.  And why not get some great gluten-free treats fresh out of the kitchen of a place that loves to bake up happiness?

Product Review: Wonderfully Raw Lemon Pie Mini Coco-Roons

Wonderfully Raw Lemon Pie Mini Coco-Roons
Wonderfully Raw Lemon Pie Mini Coco-Roons

Product: Lemon Pie Mini Coco-Roons – $2.99+

Welcome to the final round of “Cookies I Bought At Jungle Jim’s International Market.”  Hey…cookies are awesome and when I find cookies that I have never spotted in my area of the country…I take every opportunity to try them.  I mean, come on, cookies are the perfect treat after a long day.  A little savory…but also sweet.  You can’t go wrong.

While shopping in the gluten-free section of Jungle Jim’s International Market on my birthday, Cathy spotted a small line-up of little macaroon-type cookies.  I used to despise coconut.  I thought it tasted like having bugs in your mouth.  Texture-wise…a fail.  That being said, as I’ve gotten older, the more times I try coconut, the more I have come to enjoy it…in certain forms.

One of such forms is in…macaroons…those sweet lumps of toasted coconut with that golden crust at the bottom.  Yep…I devour those now.  Go figure.  They are just a nice, healthier cookie to indulge in every now and again.  So, imagine my excitement when Cathy spotted a shelf with little pouches of macaroon cookies called Coco-Roons.  I knew I wanted to try one of the different varieties…but I had to narrow it down to the one that interested me most.

Coco-Roons are made by the company Wonderfully Raw.  Wonderfully Raw was started by Sequoia Cheney, who had a passion for good food that wasn’t exactly good for her.  When she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she knew something had to change in order for her to heal herself.  She decided to change her path and began a journey into good health.  Her son, Eric Hara, a renowned chef in New York City, gave her a lot of inspiration and encouragement.  So Sequoia decided to create delicious food that was also good for her.  She began to train at Living Light Culinary Institute in Mendocino, California, where she trained with the best raw food chefs in the business.  And with what she learned there, she could now prepare food that could support and heal the body.  This dynamic mother and son duo have come together to create Coco-Roons, which are produced using only the finest organic ingredients.

Perfect segue here to tell you what is actually in these miniature cookies of wonderful lemony goodness, yes?  The Wonderfully Rw Lemon Pie Mini Coco-Roons are made from organic dried unsweetened coconut, organic almond flour, organic unfiltered maple syrup, organic cold-pressed coconut oil, organic lemon zest, organic vanilla extract, and Himalayan crystal salt.  That’s it, my dear readers.  That’s it.  These miniature macroons are vegan, gluten-free, and paleo (if cavemen ate desserts…and I’m still not convinced that’s true).  These are also raw and certified non-GMO.

As far as nutrition goes, the Wonderfully Raw Lemon Pie Mini Coco-Roons are a fantastic treat at the end of the day.  A serving size is 3 of the miniature cookies.  There are 2-4 servings per bag, as I think they actually go off weight.  One serving will provide you with 80 calories, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat (from coconut oil), 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, 6 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams sugars, and 1 gram protein.  Not filling, but not horrible by any standard when it comes to a treat.

And since this is kind of out of my usual order, how about I tell you how much I LOVE these cookies, yes?  First of all, they don’t taste coconutty at all.  Nope.  You get a bit of the texture, but that fresh lemon flavor is what tempts your taste buds into popping the next one.  These cookies are tiny, little bite-size mounds of goodness.  I was sad to only eat three of them tonight.  I mean, totally amazing flavor…and you can’t beat how good these are for you…as fr as cookies go.  I love that these are sweetened with maple syrup instead of granulated white sugar.  And I love that I don’t feel bad just digging into these.  If you’re a lemon lover…these will definitely make you happy.  My roommate got to her serving first and all I heard was, “These are amazing.”  And…she was absolutely right.  I have a new soft spot in my heart for the Wonderfully Raw Lemon Pie Mini Coco-Roons.  I hope a store around here carries them, otherwise I’ll be scooping up more of these and the other flavors on my next trip to Jungle Jim’s.  And, if nothing else, they are available to order online on the Wonderfully Raw Web site.

Beyond enthusiastic and happy with these cookies for sure.  I loved these from first bite and simply can’t wait to dig in tomorrow for more.  Here’s a no-guilt, fantastic, healthy dessert or snack you’ll love.  Trust me.

Recipe: Gluten-Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies

All you naysayers beware!!  Just because something is gluten free and dairy free does not immediately mean it will be flavorless or taste like cardboard.  I don’t know what cardboard tastes like since I’ve never had the urge to lick it or anything, but I promise you…this recipe will surpass all your expectations.

I was looking for a different sort of snickerdoodle treat to bake up for my amazing friends and neighbors downstairs.  They had a rough couple of weeks, but with things starting to turn around, I wanted to make something to celebrate.  That being said, I set out to bake up something snickerdoodle, that wasn’t necessarily the cookies themselves.  I still have to play around with my mom’s snickerdoodle cookie recipe and attempt to convert it to gluten and dairy free.

So…I found a recipe on The Cool York and changed it up to fit the diet they are starting out following, which just so happens to coincide with mine.  BONUS!!

Snickerdoodle Blondies…are life changing.

Recipe: Gluten Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies
Gluten Free & Dairy Free Snickerdoodle Blondies

Servings: 16
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2-2/3 cups gluten-free baking flour (I used Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (2 sticks) softened
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the butter & brown sugar in the mixing bowl and cream together.

Add in the 2 eggs until combined.

Add the baking powder to the mixture. Now, add in the flour.

Line a 9 x 13 baking sheet (or 8 x 8 if you prefer them thicker, like me) with parchment paper. Spread the batter over the pan.

Combine the white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle generously over the batter.

Bake in the oven for 28-32 minutes (up to 40-45 min if using the 8 x 8 pan like I did).

Take out of the oven and let cool before serving!

Slice & enjoy

~*~*~

These blondies baked up light and soft and chewy and amazing.  Seriously.  I took half of the recipe and gave the rest to them.  I am beyond words with how well this worked out, honestly.  Totally delicious.  I especially loved the gooey and rich texture that these had.  I warmed mine up for about 20 seconds in the microwave and WOW!!  Just WOW!!  The original recipe called for 3 tablespoons of both sugar and cinnamon to top…but that was really heavy on the cinnamon.  So I reduced it to 1/3 of the amount and it was that perfect sweet/spicy level.  If you like snickerdoodles…you’re absolutely going to love these.  And…if you don’t have to eat gluten-free or dairy free…regular flour and butter can be used, of course.

I can’t wait to make these again.

Product Review: The Foods of Athenry Blondie Cookie Shots

The Foods of Athenry Blondie Cookie Shots
The Foods of Athenry Blondie Cookie Shots

 Product: The Foods of Athenry Blondie Cookie Shots – $4.50+

I know what you’re thinking…

“MORE COOKIES??”

And yes…it does seem like I’m eating my weight in cookies these days.  But…I’m not.  I portion everything out perfectly…and each container is split with another person.  So, yeah…change that way of thinking to…

“MORE COOKIES!!”

Truth be told…I’m a cookie monster regardless.  There is nothing quite as perfect as a delicious cookie.  Whether you like them chewy and moist or crispy and crumbly…there is no right or wrong way to make, eat, or devour a cookie.  And while homemade cookies are, by far, the best…I don’t have much time to mess with recipes and convert them…and then bake them.

So, sometimes, getting a small sack of cookies from the grocery store is a nice enough treat.  And trust me, despite what you think, this doesn’t happen often.  It was my birthday a couple of weeks back and I was treated to a shopping spree at Jungle Jim’s International Market.  And while I was determined to get foods that weren’t all snacks and junk (and I actually did manage)…I did pick up a few treats and have been working my way through them.

I love perusing the various countries and their foods while I’m at Jungle Jim’s.  But…I normally don’t get much in there due to my food allergies.  I do visit Ireland to pick up the tea I got hooked on while visiting there back in 2010.  It just so happened, that while I was just browsing the shelves…I spotted little pouches of cookie-like goodness.  There were like…four different varieties and they were all vegan friendly and gluten free.

HELLO!!

The hard part was narrowing it down.

The company is The Foods of Athenry from The Lawless Family Bakery.  I love the brand name.  It’s clever.  And I love clever things.  The Foods of Athenry was born in 2004 when, an uncertain future in agriculture and childhood health problems, which influenced a lifelong interest in the relationship of food vs health, brought the Lawless family to set up a bakery business in which no artificial food additives were used.  They sold their cows and moved the bakery into the empty milking parlor.  With a tradition in baking (the Lawless grandparents owned one of the largest bakeries in the West of Ireland almost a hundred years ago), and a passion and love of good food, the Lawless’ set out to promote one of their primary beliefs: “Good food promotes good health.”  With that in mind, they took great care in preparing their own breakfasts, lunchbox snacks and treats.  And when this way of life turned into a business, the same simple rule applied to all of the products they produced, be they vegan, gluten free, dairy free…or not.  And it’s worked.  They have won numerous food awards that sing high accolades for the products that The Foods of Athenry produces and sells.

When I was inside the Ireland section of Jungle Jim’s International Market, I had quite the decision to make.  In the Gluten Free Pouch Packs…four different varieties are available…and all four were there for me to choose from.  I thought about grabbing them all, but there was way more to explore and a shrinking budget.  The Gluten Free Pouch Packs come in: Just Oats Flapjacks Mini Bites, The Works Flapjacks Mini Bites, Blondie Cookie Shots, and Brownie Cookie Shots. As it is hard for me to make decisions regarding sweet treats, I asked my roommate for her opinion.  And she decided the Blondie Cookie Shots were the way to go.  And so…they came home with me.

Tonight, after dinner, I pulled them out to enjoy for our dessert.  The pouch was cut open and I actually dumped out a handful.  These are definitely small bite-size cookie treats that looked a lot like shortbread cookies.  They are about the size between a dime and nickle.  So, tiny little morsels of cookie joy.  Easy to pop and snack on and indulge a little.  I just served up a handful to Cathy and then I did the same for me.  I popped the first one as I was storing the pouch back in the pantry.

Crunchy, delicious, popping-fresh cookies.  That’s what these are.  They have this fantastic vanilla flavor to them.  I was in love with the flavor.  The texture was definitely reminiscent of a shortbread cookie.  It was buttery and sweet and crunchy and amazing.  I was in love.  In fact, I popped the rest of the cookies I had dished up for myself in no time.  Not mindlessly…but savoring while enjoying.  These cookies were totally made for that.  Love does come in bite-size pieces.

Let’s discuss ingredients, shall we?  The Foods of Athenry Blondie Cookie Shots are made from gluten free and wheat free flour (maize, rice, potato, tapioca, and buckwheat), 100% vegetable non-hydrogenated margarine, sugar, concentrated fruit juice (grape, apple, pear), natural vanilla, raising agents, (mono calcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), and xanthan gum.  The cookies do not contain any gluten, wheat, dairy, GMOs, eggs, yeast, hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, flavors of preservatives.

And you are going to love the nutritional facts for The Foods of Athenry Blondie Cookie Shots!  Each cookie is 4 grams and each cookie contains only 18 calories.  Yes…18 calories.  One cookie.  18 calories.  So…in the sense that you are popping one single cookie…you would be taking in: 18 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, less than 1 gram saturated fat, 2.46 grams carbohydrates, and under 1 gram of the following: sugar, fiber, protein and sodium.

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

These cookies are pretty much guilt-free and are a great companion for tea, coffee, chocolate milk, or whatever.  They made a great choice for a dessert tonight.  Amazing food brought all the way from Ireland.  I’m hooked.  I need to get back to Jungle Jim’s and soon!

Product Review: Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite Size Cookies

Gilbert's Gourmet Goodies Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite Size Cookies
Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite Size Cookies

Product: Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite Size Cookies – $5.50+

Are you tired of cookie reviews yet?  Are you?  You shouldn’t be.  Cookies are amazing.  Cookies are…one of the meanings of life.  Seriously.  Look it up. Cookies…I swear it’s there.

The thing with gluten free is…sometimes gluten free cookies do not invoke meaning of life feelings.  Sometimes they are just dry and sandy and just…blech.  So, when I find a new brand (nothing new about Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies…just new to me!) of cookie…I always want to try it.  Sometimes this is the best thing I could have done.  Sometimes…I regret it.  Gluten free is a science…and there are those who get it right…and those who still haven’t gotten it at all.

Okay…

So, as I have mentioned in preceding blogs, my birthday was rough this year.  I was turning 35.  And my day was originally supposed to be spent running the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio…because it actually ran ON my birthday and I was moving up an age division.  Big reason to celebrate.  But 3 weeks prior to that…the fracture happens and the now famous boot (aka: Bootsie) became my daily footwear…and I was under strict, strict rules from my amazing orthopedic doctor…NO RUNNING.

Super bummed, I didn’t want anything to do with my birthday.  Most of my friends were out of town running the race or doing a different one.  Or…just out of town.  And I was beyond down and bummed.  There might have been tears.  Okay, I won’t lie…there were.  Then, on the morning of my birthday, as I’m sitting down to eat at Annie May’s Sweet Café (allergen-free bakery in Louisville, KY…best breakfast ever!!), my roomie springs my birthday gift on me.  I don’t have a lot of things that I want/need…and those things that I do want/need…are too expensive for anyone but me to really buy for myself.  SO…she and her family all pitched in and gave me a $150 shopping spree at Jungle Jim’s International Market.

And it was on that shopping spree (which happened that very day…which I was NOT prepared for at all), in the gluten-free aisles of Jungle Jim’s, that I spotted the colorful bags of Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies Bite-Size Cookies.  Mmmm…cookies.  They had all the flavors too: Super Dooper Snickerdoodle, Double Chocolate Brownie, Simply Chocolate, Chewy Chocolate Chip, and Sensational Sugar Cookie.  We all know, this cookie monster is a fan of Snickerdoodles above all other cookies.  So, you know, the bright neon pink bag containing Super Dooper cookies….of cinnamon and sugar origin…was the one that made it into the shopping cart.

Tonight, after a very healthy meal (Chana Aloo Stew, in case you were curious), I dug out the variety of new cookie brands to try and let my roomie pick where to start.  She pointed to the snickerdoodles.  Smart girl.  HA!

Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies was created by Liz Gilbert, a Culinary Institute of America trained baker and chef, who was diagnosed with multiple food allergies (wheat, gluten, peanuts, nuts, soy, milk, corn and shellfish).  After the initial phase of depression (we have all been there…saying “I can’t eat anything!”), Gilbert took action, testing out recipes in what has become her line of great-tasting, classic, homestyle treats that everyone can enjoy.  Let’s face it…allergen-free foods can carry funky textures and aftertastes…so spending time on a formula to get it right does take time.  But Gilbert knew she was onto something when her children and their friends (none of whom have food restrictions) polished off plates of cookies and asked for more.  From there…Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies was born…and the founder, herself, set out to make treats for everyone…one cookie at a time.

Today, Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies boasts Gilbert’s baked goods and ready-to-go cookie dough.  So you can enjoy giant cookies, bite-size cookies, or cookie dough…all of which are made without artificial ingredients and the top allergens.

I know what you’re thinking…there is no way these can be good.

For some reason…that thought never crept into my mind.  Not when I opened up the packet.  Not when I pulled out a serving (4 mini cookies, for the record).  And not when I took my first bite.

Guess what…COOKIE HEAVEN!!  First of all, the Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite Size Cookies are soft and chewy (not crisp and crunchy)…which for me…always wins.  I prefer soft cookies and choose them over the crispy ones any day.  So…that was the first point in their favor.  I loved how small and light they were.  A lot of gluten-free cookies feel heavy and dense.  Not these.  And moist…no sandpaper here.  Truly a chewy and soft cookie worth savoring as you pop the 4 (or more, I won’t judge!) cookies in the serving.  These aren’t overly sweet, nor are they too spicy.  They find that perfect cinnamon-sugar balance, which isn’t always easy in a snickerdoodle.  Holy moley…these cookies really are super dooper!!  No joke!

Tasting is believing…and now I understand why Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies (specifically the Snickerdoodles) have won an award from the CT Specialty Food Association.  These cookies were so amazing that if I had started eating right out of the packet…they’d be gone.  (This, in fact, is why I portion everything out…LOL!).

So, let’s talk about ingredients.  The Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite-Size Cookies are made from gluten-free flour mix (sweet rice, brown rice, tapioca), non-hydrogenated palm oil, pure cane sugar, eggs, xanthan gum, vanilla, and cinnamon.  These cookies are kosher, gluten-free, wheat-free, contain no peanuts or tree nuts, contain no hydrogenated oils, contain no artificial colors of flavors, do not contain high fructose corn syrup, contain no preservatives, contain no trans fat, are dairy-free, are corn-free and are soy free.

BUT…they are definitely not taste-free.  In fact…they taste amazing.

As for nutrition…a serving of the Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite-Size Cookies is 4 cookies (32 grams).  This serving will provide you with 150 calories, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 17 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

I am beyond enamored with the taste, texture, flavor, deliciousness, amazing goodness, sweet treats that are the Super Dooper Snickerdoodle Bite Size Cookies from Gilbert’s Gourmet Goodies.  Super dooper indeed.  Super dooper delicious.  Try them out for yourself.  Some of the best packaged snickerdoodles I’ve eaten since going gluten-free.  This package is snickerdoodle love…in gluten free form.  YUMMY!

Product Review: Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookie with Caramel Icing

Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Icing
Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Icing

Product: Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookie with Caramel Icing – $3.75

Here’s the story of how I came across Chubby Bunny Bakery‘s products…

Hang onto your seats…

Okay, it’s really not that exciting.  From my standpoint, it is…but in the grand scheme of things…definitely not novel, short story, or even periodical worthy.

You see…September 19th marked my birthday.  A milestone birthday…for a runner.  I was moving up an age division.  It fell on a Saturday this year, and for over a year, I had planned to run the Air Force Marathon to celebrate.  Unfortunately, I fractured my ankle and couldn’t do it.  As with everything running related this year.  And I was really, really bummed.  Like…having a meltdown the night before and just wanting to skip doing anything on Saturday because it wouldn’t be what I really wanted to do.

My roommate had other plans.  She and her family through in and gave me a $150 spending spree at Jungle Jim’s International Market…which is literally, Disney World for foodies…minus all the fun rides and characters.  Which means, it is actually nothing like Disney World…unless you are there for the food!  I mean, it is heaven for any foodie.  And it’s a good thing I don’t live closer to Cincinnati, Ohio, or I’d be tempted to go there more often.  That being said, I spent a good 2 hours perusing the aisles of the 20,000 square feet of Jungle Jim’s, searching high and low for gluten-free products I haven’t seen in my area.  I’m still on the hunt for Rudi’s Gluten Free Texas Toast…which I have NOT been able to locate…and figured if anywhere would have it it would be Jungle Jim’s.  So, while I didn’t find that particular goodie on my “must have” gluten-free indulgent food list…I did get a lot of good stuff.

And, believe it or not, the very last item to go into my shopping cart was…the Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookie with Caramel Icing.  And, it almost didn’t make the cut.  I was down to going between a fresh gluten-free granola, a gluten-free lemon bar, and the cookie.  In the end, the cookie monster in me won out…and the cookie was what ended up in the cart, and then in the bag, and then…in my freezer (I had the most amazing gluten-free cookie cake made by my local bakery, Annie May’s Sweet Café, so this had to be kept fresh while I polished that off and then went out of town for my best friend from high school’s wedding).

Last night, it emerged from the depths of my freezer and made it into my fridge to thaw out so that it could be my indulgent dessert tonight.  Although, after stopping by Annie May’s for Soft Pretzel Wednesday™ and discovering her new Cookie Dough Cupcake…it was a near thing.  I passed (amazingly enough) on the cupcake…this time.

Dinner was easy tonight as I had everything prepped ahead of time and it just required a little bit of warming up before serving.  This meant that my dinner (Vegan Pizza Chili…for the record) was actually made and consumed in a timely manner.  And this also meant…dessert at a decent hour (although it is never too late or too early for a sweet treat, if you ask me!).  So, while my roommate and I were devouring our chili, the cookies were out of the fridge and resting on the counter.  And after dishes were cleaned up and put away…dessert time!!

Chubby Bunny Bakery makes only gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free goodies.  Some of their items do contain soy and/or nuts, but they can prepare any of their baked goods with a substitute ingredient upon request.  This vegan bakery stocks the shelves of markets like Jungle Jim’s and the Oxford Farmer’s Market (through November), as well as the Moon Co-op in Oxford, Ohio.  Chubby Bunny uses organic and non-GMO ingredients whenever possible and use no preservatives or ingredients that you can’t pronounce.  Real ingredients yield a tastier, better, more indulgent treat.

The Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Icing come two in a container.  Now, if the cookies were smaller, I’d simply dish one up for me and one up for my roommate.  But these are JUMBO cookies…and therefore, I can get 2 nights out of 2 cookies…simply by splitting the cookies in half.  Which…means an extra night of tasty cookie goodness.  Pumpkin was the first thing to catch my eye when I chose these, for the record, as I love, love, love pumpkin-flavored ANYTHING (except pumpkin pie, but that’s more of a texture thing).  That was why these came home with me.  Two words…that win me over every freakin’ time: Pumpkin and Caramel.  HELLO!!

So, I removed one (1) of the two (2) cookies from the clam shell container they came in and sliced it right in half.  The knife glided through, which meant a couple of things: soft and moist.  Winning already before the first bite.  I loved the rather extravagant layer of the caramel icing that literally coated the entire cookie itself.  Sort of like a miniature cookie cake.  I’m all for this.  I handed half to my roommate while I took a bite of the other half.

HOLY FAT RABBIT, GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN BATMAN!

The Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Icing are crack in cookie form.  The icing is sweet and loaded with delicious caramel flavoring.  As I am not big on icing or frosting…this is a huge thing for me to notice.  It didn’t overwhelm the cookie, just enhanced the already delicious cookie that was underneath.  Because the star…the pumpkin cookie itself was fantastic.  The cookie was soft and moist, not at all crumbly or dense.  The pumpkin flavor was at the perfect level…not too much, but definitely noticeable.  It hit every right note on my musical foodie tastebuds.  I mean…WOW.  There was absolutely nothing about this cookie that I didn’t like…except that I cut it in half to share instead of eating it all myself.  HA!!  Yes…if you can find them or order them…do not waste another moment and get yourself these cookies.  It’s officially fall.  Pumpkin is in.  These cookies are pumpkin.  Therefore, these cookies are what you need to be eating RIGHT NOW!!

Seriously…

Let’s discuss ingredients, shall we?  Chubby Bunny Bakery Jumbo Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Icing are produced in a home, but per law, the ingredients that go into each chewy, moist cookie of pumpking yumminess are listed on the package.  The pumpkin cookie portion of this treat is made from brown rice flour, potato starch, organic pumpkin puree, vegan margarine (palm fruit oil, canola oil, soybean oil, flax oil, olive oil, filtered water, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid [non-dairy], naturally extracted annatto), ground organic flaxseed, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, xanthan gum, sea salt and vanilla extract.  The icing portion is made from vegan margarine (palm fruit oil, canola oil, soybean oil, flax oil, olive oil, filtered water, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid [non-dairy], naturally extracted annatto), brown sugar, powdered sugar, organic rice milk, and vanilla extract.  This bakery only offers gluten free and vegan treats.  Indulge!

While I can give you ingredients, as stated before, these are produced in a home, so there is no nutritional information to share.  However, as stated before, these cookies are amazing…so ruin your diet for a day or two.  And go check out the Facebook and Instagram pages for Chubby Bunny Bakery and see what other goodies they are baking up!!

So resisting the urge to drive to Jungle Jim’s this weekend just for more cookies…

Must…resist…temptation…

Product Review: WB Kitchen Maple Pecan Honey Cookies

WB Kitchen Maple Pecan Honey Cookies
WB Kitchen Maple Pecan Honey Cookies

Product: WB Kitchen Maple Pecan Honey Cookies – $3.29+

I love seeing what my Cuisine Cube sends to me each month.  This month, however, hasn’t been a good one for me to actually dive into my box.  Most of the items…okay…all of the items…were in the box up until I returned from the Boston Marathon.  We all know from previous posts, leading into that were days and nights of stress and emotional overload…just trying to find out if I was going to get to race or not.  And then, afterwards, I was having a hard time moving around, putting things away sounded like a tedious task.

That being said, the six items that were inside my April 2015 (Spring) Cuisine Cube have been put away.  And have stayed put away.  Up until last night.  And that was mostly because I had nothing ready for dessert…

Hooray for convenience!

Of course, first I want to remind you of what Cuisine Cube is and what they do…and why you should consider a subscription with them.  Cuisine Cube is a monthly subscription service were a gift box will be sent to your door with goodies inside.  These are meal/pantry items that are the full-size products, not little sample sizes.  That’s a huge deal, as most of the time these services send you sample products only.  You can sign up for a monthly, three-month, or six-month subscription, which begin as low as $29.99 per month.  Each box you receive will contain one item from each major meal of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert.  And then, sometimes,  you get a bonus treat.  Bonus treats are always a nice and welcome surprise.  I’ve had Cuisine Cube for over a year now and love, love, love it!

In the April Box, the Breakfast/Snack option that was presented was a package of cookies.  Yes…cookies.  Cookies for breakfast.  You have my attention!  The cookies are a product of WB Kitchen.  WB Kitchen was founded in 2012 by Chris Feuille and his wife, Anna.  Feuille strives to show that businesses can succeed and be profitable while utilizing unconventional methods of operation.  WB Kitchen offers natural honey sweets.  Fueille believes that our food choices directly reflect the level of conscious awareness we bring into the rest of our lives.  When people choose to nourish their bodies with real and harmonious foods, they are more in balance with the community and the planet.  By making foods that are Paleo-friendly and use no preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, and are sweetened simply with maple syrup and honey, Fueille hopes that consumers who eat the foods that mother nature intended will show them how to live a healthier, happier and more vibrant life.

The WB Kitchen Maple Pecan Honey Cookies were the item that Cuisine Cube shared with us in April.  And I was really excited about trying them, after looking over the ingredients, and more impressively – the nutrition information.  Last night was the ideal day to try them after a big breakfast at my local gluten-free bakery and then movie theater popcorn (just the kid’s snack pack) while seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron.  I cooked up a simple dinner…gluten-free veggie burgers with sweet potato fries, to eat while watching the Kentucky Derby (I live in Louisville…that’s what we do one day out of the year).  Afterwards, I knew I wanted my palate cleansing dessert.  And I felt no guilt in reaching for the WB Kitchen Maple Pecan Honey Cookies.  I tore into the package, giving one of the cookies to my roommate and taking the other one for myself.  Dessert…and a horse race.

Well, the horse I chose (the names didn’t impress me this year, so I went for the prettiest horse in the field – Frosted!) came in 4th…but dessert…that was definitely winning in my book.  The texture, at first, is a little weird.  Sort of like a non-date-y Laräbar…soft and chewy…with a lot of emphasis on the “chew.”  It wasn’t gummy though.  But the flavor…that’s where these cookies totally won.  The honey flavor for sweetness is perfect.  Not too much…not too little.  Just the right amount.  And the pecans gave it this nutty flavor and a bit of crunch in each bite.  Top it off with one of my favorite things – maple…and you have a recipe that I truly enjoyed.  Every bite (which, technically was only three…but…).  Just loving the way everything came together.  And once that first bite was taken and I was able to adjust to the texture…it was dessert perfection.  And no guilt.  Cookies without the guilt.  Loving that!

So, let’s discuss the ingredients in the WB Kitchen Maple Pecan Honey Cookies.  These cookies are made with  almond flour, raw unfiltered honey, organic maple syrup, organic pecans, sea salt, organic cinnamon, organic coconut oil, and organic vanilla extract.  That’s it.  Real.  Simple.  Ingredients.  I recognize everything.  Nothing makes me question what I’m about to devour.  I love that.  These cookies are produced in a dedicated gluten, grain, dairy, and soy-free facility.  On top of being gluten-free and vegan, these are also cholesterol free.

Now, I told you I was impressed by the nutrition facts on these cookies and I’m going to share with you why.  A serving size is 1 cookie, so there are 2 servings per container.  This one cookie will provide you with 68 calories (a cookie for 68 calories!) and 4 grams of fat (mostly from nuts).  You will also be taking in 54 mg sodium, 6 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram  of fiber and 1.4 grams of protein.  They won’t be filling, but they sure make a nice way to end the day.

So, if you’ve been looking for a great, healthy, cookie-type snack/breakfast/dessert…look into WB Kitchen and what they have to offer.  Their Web site has other varieties of cookies and bars that make for healthy, nutritious, and clean eating.  If maple is your thing…I highly, highly recommend these though.  Soft, chewy, and good for you.  What’s not to love?  Thanks, Cuisine Cube for another wonderful food discovery!