Top Pick Of The Week

March 30, 2010

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Superb chocolate chip cookies made with Doodles Gluten-Free Cookie Mix. Photo by Jerry Deutsch | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Our favorite gluten-free cookies, cake, cornbread and more.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: As opposed to many mass-marketed gluten-free products, which taste like cardboard, these are artisan products that use better ingredients and require some hand work (not automated processes) to make something delicious.
WHY WE LOVE IT: They’re so good, folks without gluten allergies will enjoy them, too.
WHERE TO BUY IT: See individual listings.

Gluten-Free Gourmet: Cookies, Cake & More That Are Tasty Enough For Everyone

CAPSULE REPORT: Even if you don’t have a gluten allergy, you’ll want to know about these Top Picks. That’s because lots of people have allergies, with more diagnoses made daily. Even among people who appear to be healthy, gluten intolerance is common. Studies indicate that 1 in 167 children (0.6%) and 1 in 111 adults (0.9%) have a gluten allergy—a much more mild condition than celiac disease.

But hey: We’re not writing a health column. We just want to tell you about gluten-free cookies, cakes and other traditionally wheat-based products that are so good, we can’t believe we ate the whole thing! But eating is believing, and people who can eat wheat to their heart’s content will love these gluten-free products, too.

If you have friends, family or co-workers who can’t eat gluten, you can bake or buy some terrific cookies or cakes (and pancakes and cornbread and more) and get showered with a whole lot of thanks.

So get clicking and learn about:

Learn more about gluten intolerance below.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

Gluten-Free Top Picks Of The Week

Holly's Oatmeal Mariposa Brownies
Holly’s Oatmeal. This oatmeal, made with mixed grains for a brilliant complexity, also offers a two gluten-free mixes. The best oatmeal you’ll ever have! Read the review. Mariposa Bakery. This gluten-free bakery in the Bay Area makes excellent cookies, brownies, biscotti and breads—even bagels. Great for gift-giving. Read the review. The Crab Ladies. Bread crumbs bind crab cakes together. But The Crab Ladies superb crab cakes offer a gluten-free variation that’s nothing to crab about. Read the review.

Gluten-Free Gourmet: Cookies, Cakes & More


This is Page 1 of a four-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages:


Overview: Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is the inability to digest or break down gluten.

Gluten is composed of the “sticky, storage proteins” that are found in several cereals. In fact, gluten is Latin for “glue.” When dough made with particular cereal flours is kneaded, the two sticky proteins bind to create gluten. This makes the dough—bread, pasta, cookies, etc.—more viscous and elastic.

But for perhaps more than 15% of the population,* gluten generates a sensitivity that can cause, at the mildest, abdominal cramps. At the worst, with a condition known as celiac disease, it has more severe health implications.

Barley, rye, triticale and the wheat variations, which include kamut and spelt, are on the “Do Not Eat” list for people with gluten sensitivity.

For these folks, bread, burger buns, cake and cookies and pizza, for starters, need to be made of something else.


Gluten-free, vegan sugar cookies from Dr. Lucy’s taste as good as any packaged cookies. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE NIBBLE.

*Some studies have shown that 2.5% of children and 3.3% of adults have a gluten allergy; others show that up to 15% of people, or 1 in 7, are gluten sensitive. An additional .5% to 1% of Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that has more serious consequences.

Fortunately, the allergic population is large enough, and the foods that must be substituted are popular enough, for artisan producers to do the hard work that makes gluten-free products taste as good as gluten-laden products. According to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, the gluten-free market grew 28% from 2004 to 2008, with double-digit growth leading to sales of $2.6 billion by 2012. But our emphasis is on the word artisan: small batches and non-automated processes are necessary to get the best results. Otherwise, the majority of gluten-free products taste gluten-free.

Using garbanzo flour, oat flour, potato starch, sorghum flour and tapioca—among other gluten-free substances—the best of the best gluten-free product manufacturers work wonders. Even if one family member has an allergy, the rest of the family can still enjoy tasty products.

While it has yet to be proved by scientific study, there is anecdotal evidence that when people without any allergy give up gluten, they report feeling better.  So you don’t have to have a gluten allergy to avoid gluten-free foods.

Join us on Page 2 to take a closer look at cookies that can be enjoyed by anyone.

—Karen Hochman

Continue To Page 2: Doodles Cookies ~ Organic & Gluten-Free

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