Expert Cookie Taster #3

First order of business, the winner from last week’s giveaway is…

Graci!

Congrats and I’ll be in touch to get your address for the cookies!

Second order of business, starting in July (actually July 9th) I’ll be posting up with my cookies at a local farmers market! It will be at the Mount Nebo Agway on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. Their first week is the July 2nd, but I won’t be attending until the following week… But check it out if you’re in the area!

Now, to the blog posts name sake…our new cookie test will be with a local company’s chocolate chip cookie, the Gluten Free Goat Bakery, based out of Pittsburgh, PA. We’re talking direct competition here! 😉

A friend asked me recently if I was going to rate every cookie less than perfect. And being honest I said, probably. Because if I find a perfect cookie that I don’t think I can make one better than… I might just stop baking. And who’s ever heard of a perfect cookie anyway?

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So here it is… Definitely cute packaging and the cookie looks very attractive, although maybe more of a sugar cookie feel (probably due to lack of brown sugar?)

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The ingredient list was good, not all ingredients I would use, but organic is in there and corn-free is pretty great too. The enjoy life choclate chips surprised me, only because I’ve never seen a brand called out in the ingredients before. Props to them because those chips are the best I’ve seen and tried so far.

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The cookie was good. Not the thick moist cookie that I brag, but a familiar and delicious cookie that I have grown accustomed to in the gluten free world.

Very good texture and quality ingredients. Hit the spot for a chocolate chip cookie for sure. Thanks Gluten Free Goat Bakery! Find them at Soergel’s Orchard in their gluten free shop and at the Amazing Cafe in the South Side of Pittsburgh.

I am that person.

We had a celebration this weekend of our two friends were ordained as decons! The ceremony was full of love and this was shown by all the people that came out to celebrate and congratulate Seth and Paul and the others who were ordained.

There was a pretty typical church cookie reception afterwards, which (kind of last minute) I agreed to help organize. Nick and I typically do not approach the receptions after events very optimistically. We just assume we aren’t going to be able to eat anything. And that’s fine. We never go to these events expecting to be able to eat and so we aren’t truly disappointed. And the way our lives are currently, we practice enough intermittent fasting that it’s not really an issue to wait 30 minutes until we get home.

But of course I made my gluten free cookies in excess for all those people hoping and wishing they could eat! I am that person because I was that person!

But, I almost forgot to mark them gluten free… Which doesn’t matter too much except two things… 1) those GF folks won’t know they have an option! And 2) people like my dad who doesn’t want or need gluten free food, and the thought has the tendency to turn him off or at least make him skeptical, won’t go eating them all before those who need them. So Nick saved the day by finding some coffee filters and a sharpie and labeling them accordingly.

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These large beauties were another partial experiment, which will definitely be sticking around in my long term collection. White chocolate macadamia nut! I never cared for them growing up, but they are Nick’s favorite cookie and although I don’t know how someone can like them more than plain chocolate chip, I have come to like them very much. And they were a hit.

By the time I went to start cleaning up, there were only 2 GF cookies left (which Nick and I promptly devoured) and there definitely aren’t 4 dozen GF people at our church. So I hope all you people enjoyed them! I love serving in this way because… I can! And because I would bake anyway and get large if I didn’t sell some and give some away.

So… In honor of Paul and Seth’s ordination and my new exciting recipe… I will be giving away 4 large white chocolate macadamia nut cookies! Leave a comment on this blog and I’ll pick a winner next week!

Thanks all!

Spreading gluten-freedom,
Lauren

Expert Cookie Taster #2

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The Makery was our favorite cookie test to date. Not only was it gluten-free, but it was paleo!

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And the best part was that it actually tasted like a chocolate chip cookie! It was moist and hit the spot. It was a little thin, which seems to be common, especially from those I’ve ordered through the mail.

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And look at this great list of ingredients. I have very little I can complain about on this list. Especially since they list it all right there. This was their regular chcolate chip cookies and I think I would give this a 7 out of 10. Nice job Makery!

BONUS Holiday Post (delayed)

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(I wrote this over memorial day weekend and forgot to post it! – whoops!!!)

 

These are my favorite of the few low sugar options I’ve made this weekend.

Because I have a little extra time this weekend, I have decided to do an extra post telling you about some changes coming to Baked True North. Due to various health challenges and life decisions (vague, I know), I am moving toward going sugar free, as close to completely as I can control. Needless to say this is not fantastic timing as I start my cookie company just weeks prior to this decision. But here are the things I know so far…

1. I am not going to stop making my amazing gluten free cookies. Everyone loves them (including me) and I want there to be a gluten free chocolate chip cookie that tastes good out there!

2. I am working hard on a sugar free chocolate chip cookie. I have high standards, so it hasn’t been easy and hasn’t happened right away, but it’s coming! And you’ll all be the first to know!

Our FIRST EVENT!

Sunday was Baked True North’s first event and our first sales ever! And it went awesome!

For comic relief, the most challenging part was getting the tent set up in the morning… Our dear dear friends were nice enough to let us borrow both a table and their tent for the day. Admittedly they had only used the tent once and told us “good luck” when handing it off. Neither Nick (my awesome, wonderful husband) or myself had ever put together a tent like this before. But thanks to Nick’s willingness to try-fail-adjust, and me biting my tongue occassionally, we got it figured out! Only 75ish minutes later.

But anyway, our table set up was awesome and we got many compliments on it.

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I thought the tablecloth and flowers gave a nice touch. We sampled the cookies all day, and had a very high turnover rate of skeptical people trying to hurry by, but when I convinced them to try the Signature Chocolate Chip, they were hooked, purchased, and signed up for the dozen cookie giveaway.

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The 2 cookies we sold and sampled were the Signature Chocolate Chip and the Pumpkin Waffle Cookie. We got great feedback again on the waffle cookies as I try to perfect them… “Surprisingly cakey” and “oh, there’s nuts in here!”

My lovely friend Brianna and her beautiful son came and helped for a while, and it was so great to have some Bellevue friend support. Over all I hit my personal sales goal and got my name out there! We made some new friends as well!

After the event was over we ran up to the main drag in Bellevue where a car cruise was happening. I brought with me a few cookies to deliver to the lovely family that loaned us the table and tent, and I got stopped in the street and asked where he could get some homemade cookies like what I was carrying!

So… Next time we join the car cruise. Done. Successful day for Baked True North! Thanks for everyone that came out and supported!

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Expert Cookie Taster #1

In my quest to make the world’s best gluten free chocolate chip cookie, I decided the place to start was with becoming a gluten free cookie tester. There are definitely worse things in life than being forced to eat cookies for research. So far research has been going well.

I want to occassionally highlight and critique some good options I’ve found for gluten free cookies, and here is my first test cookie.

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Gluten Free Taste Tester #1: Mom’s Munchies

Admittedly I have never tried a hemp cookie before and have nothing to compare it to. Looking at the ingredients, two things stuck out to me: aluminum-free baking soda and the 99% unsweetened dark chocolate. I just recently made the switch to aluminum free baking powder, but still don’t really know the implications of this. I’ll probably blog about it soon. But the chocolate caught my eye because my goal is to start making my own chocolate chips very soon. The convenience of baking chips is undeniable, but getting really “healthy ones” is difficult and expensive. It looks like Mom uses raw organic blue agave, which is neat. And instead of chocolate chips, she created almond sea salt chunks! How unique!

So honestly, I liked these. It’s hard to find a chocolate chip cookie I don’t like (unless you put raisins in it). I didn’t really notice anything different tasting about the chunks though. My biggest thing I like in CCC (let’s use CCC for chocolate chip cookies) is some thickness. These were not thick, maybe due to packaging restrictions? Having never baked with hemp seeds I’m not sure if this causes a limitation as well.

Overall I was happy with the cookie, but it didn’t satisfy my urge for a CCC, because the texture was pretty unique. Thanks, Mom, for the the snack though! These can be found at Soergel Orchard’s gluten free shop (one of my favorite local shops) or of course on Mom’s Muchies website.

Baking Test Trials

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Pretty excited about this little test group of cookies. Although my whole goal starting out was to sell the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made to the gluten-free crowd, I love experimenting too much to stick to one thing. Admittedly the second place sweet in my heart only to chocolate chip cookies is red velvet cake. And I am experimenting to get a healthy and naturally red version of that cake available for purchase… Which I haven’t accomplished yet.

But two things drove me to try this cookie; 1) I am trying some things out for a wedding cookie table later in September to see what we like and 2) I had some leftover BEETS! Now please don’t gag… I don’t care who you are or how much you hate beets, but you can’t dislike these cookies.

They are made in a waffle iron and are absoltely adorable. They have walnuts in them and they are just sweet enough to have you questioning if maybe they could still pass for breakfast?? My original recipe calls for canned pumpkin, but since I had some organic beet puree around, I made the substitution with a little cocoa powder and we have gluten-freedom formed in sheer magenta beauty. 😃

I still haven’t gotten a thumbs up or thumbs down from the bride on if they make the cut for the cookie table, but they made the cut for our Bible study the next day! Even when I hesitantly stated the questionable ingredient, the warry beet-adverse Ron gave them a try and I think he liked them!

(leave a comment telling me if you think they’re wedding reception cookie table appropriate)

I got some great feedback from my dear friend Kim who has eaten enough gluten-free and gluten-enslaved foods to be a valuable resource. She said she loved the flavor and the color and only suggests they have a bit more walnuts and might be a little dry. Exactly what I needed! You can’t please everyone, as my husband insisted they had plenty of walnuts, but I have a fix for the dryness and might just make half with more walnuts and half with none next time.

Check out my etsy site (BakedTrueNorth) in the next week for a posting to purchase these beauties! Or plan to come to the Bellevue Flea on Sunday May 22 and I might have some samples you can try!

Thanks for reading!
~ Lauren Marts

The Start of Something Great

So here is the start of something great.  I had no intention of blogging about baking or health or gluten-freedom… or cookies for that matter.  I figured because I loved them so much (cookies this is, and chocolate chip cookies to be exact), I would learn to make them.  I did not learn fast.  I’ll go into that story at a later time.

I am an experimenter.  I am not so much a well-learned baker, cook, or chef.  My cooking experiences have been similar to my business experiences, my experiences with men, prior to meeting my fantastic husband, and my faith journey.  I truly just believed that God would take care of my decisions …even if I was not super careful and I would probably have a more fun time doing it if I did not worry too much about what I was supposed to be doing.

So now I am throwing myself into a new business venture and starting my gluten-free baking company! It takes a lot more work than I thought, but here I go!

What will you see here?

  • Cookie reviews, and potentially other gluten-free snacks
  • Tales of my baking
  • New ideas and experiments
  • Baked True North news

So… stay tuned for some exciting times as I find out what it takes to be a bakery business owner woman!

~Lauren Marts