Some weeks ago Kristen contacted me and asked if I’d like to try some Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and then remarked that it was perfect for someone with Crohn’s disease like myself.
And I couldn’t help it. I had to point out that Crohn’s people can actually eat gluten, or at least as much gluten as everyone else can (and this is
without me even starting on after deleting a rant about the ridiculous quantity of people claiming gluten allergy or intolerance, when what they mean is that they often feel terrible after eating too much at a sitting). It’s a common mistake to run Crohn’s together with Celiac, and those together with IBD and IBS, and maybe a little hypochondria just for seasoning. And as arrogantly superior as I am, it brought cookies to me, so I am not going to complain. Kristen is a professional and skipped over my being a butt about gluten and this package arrived in the mail.
If I am reading this right, the name of the actual brand product is THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES IN THE WORLD. Which you know, is like the kiss of death. Immediately my brain says that they can’t be the best, and only a fool would claim that a dry, manufactured chocolate chip cookie can be any better than a homemade cookie fresh from the oven, or even a few days later, softened by a relaxing stint in a ziplock bag.
Immediately I take pause. I go to the website. Aaah, I think. So this is what cookies would be like if they were made by Dr. Bronner. The packaging is covered in a curious mix of uplifting glurge and vaguely threatening patriotism (please take note of the bad registration on the blue print over the red flag stripes — THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD UNLESS YOU NEED BOXES PRINTED!).
And yet, I am charmed. Despite all the red flags and inexplicable engrish, it’s a kind of crazy that reminds me of living in Los Angeles. There’s an earnest quality that is not quite as honest as say, a Bay Area hippie, but a nevertheless frantic desire that you believe what they are trying to sell you. I miss it.
Every time I think it is over, it continues. The boxes themselves are stuffed with leaflets containing urgent messages about the state of our nation’s economy and the corporatization of other snack brands.
But I want to eat cookies, so let’s get to it. Kristen sent EXTREME CHOCOLATE and original cookies. I am now actively trying to avoid reading the packaging because it is distracting.
Holy shit! Not only is every single exterior surface of the package used as a soapbox, but the interior is covered in poems! I fucking love these guys.
EVEN THE COOKIE BAG ITSELF. I appreciate that they recommend a brief gassing off of the cookies before eating, and as a test I ate one straight from the bag and then again 10 minutes later. I couldn’t detect an increased complexity of flavor.
As I figured from the packaging claiming 45-50 cookies per box, these cookies are tiny! It’s everything I can do to not dump the bag into a bowl, pour milk over and eat with a spoon.
The double chocolate guys are also very misshapen, which of course I like.
I find it interesting that several times it is mentioned that the cookies contain less sugar than the consumer might be used to, because they do not taste particularly non-sugary to me. They seem to be just the right amount of sweet. But when was the last time I ate a Chips Ahoy? I can’t remember. Bart’s Bakery cookies are definitely rich in flavor, and in the original I can taste a forward hit of salty, almost cheesy butter that I find missing in almost every grocery store cookie ever made. The chocolate chips are excellent too, very melty and dark, so high in cocoa fat that they are nearly soft to the touch and instantly leave skin-warmed chocolate on your fingers. The double chocolate cookies are not quite the same, which is interesting – they are very cocoa-ey and despite appearing to be the exact same recipe as the original cookie (at least according to the ingredient list and nutritional breakdown), are lacking that pleasant shortbread burst of butter. It is likely the cocoa masking the flavor, and that is unfortunate but the nature of the beast when it comes to chocolate.
These are good. If I want to buy a box of tiny dry cookies, I can’t think of a better option. But are they better than homemade? Not for me. Is it fair to compare them? I am starting to think it isn’t. I don’t buy chocolate chip cookies ever, as a matter of fact, because it takes 20 minutes to make them. My ideal cookie has a soft, chewy center and lightly crispy edges, has a sprinkling of sea salt across the top and a little too much vanilla in it, and frankly, only I can make them. It is not fair to compare these to those. Bart’s Bakery has done a good thing here, and I’d buy them without hesitation in the event that I want the world’s most luxurious breakfast cereal.