Restaurant: Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant, Louisville, Kentucky
It was the weekend before Christmas and one thing was missing from my life. Nope, not a gift. A fine dining experience. And getting in somewhere in Louisville, Kentucky on the last Saturday before the Christmas holiday is no easy task. I had actually tried a different restaurant first but they were booked (no surprise). So, the great fine dining restaurant quest began and I ended up hitting the jackpot in the end.
The place – Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.
The atmosphere – Classic, Renaissance-style, high ceilings, low lights, stunning.
And it doesn’t stop there. The staff is done up to the nines here. While there were plenty of diners dressed in jeans, I would have felt out of place had I not dressed up for my dining experience. The hostesses are dressed all in black and keep watch over the bar, letting patrons know if there will be a wait and that they will be seated in just a few moments. The waiters and waitresses…all adorned in tuxedos.
We were seated after a very short wait at a small table near the back. The menus were laid out before us and we were asked if we would like some wine with our meal. We politely declined and opted for water. And then…the difficult task of choosing something from the menu began. It all sounded so good. And despite being a vegetarian with a gluten intolerance, there was plenty for me to choose from at Vincenzo’s. How about that? Fine dining, Italian…and I am not limited to just a salad. That was a nice treat indeed.
And so, I ended up ordering the Insalatina Caprese ($9.95), which was a simply a salad made by layering slices of fresh mozzarella cheese between a tomato, topped with olive oil, cracked pepper, and fresh basil. A light drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette finished off the plate. I must admit, this was the first time my caprese salad ever was stacked. The plate looked fantastic. I delicately picked up my fork and knife and began to carve my way through the stacked tomato and cheese, touching it off with a gentle tap into the drizzled dressing. The flavors were astounding. The cheese was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The basil was a nice touch, instead of the normal greens. Herbs add so much to a salad. I wish they were used more. And the tomato was at the perfect level of ripeness so that when it was sliced, juices didn’t run everywhere. It won me over with presentation, but it totally blew away every past caprese salad I ever had with flavor. This salad was loaded with it. Something so simple…and yet…so amazing on the palate. I knew I was in for a treat that night.
Since I am a gluten-intolerant vegetarian, the normal go-to for vegetarians (pastas!) were not an option for me. What I ended up ordering was exactly what I wanted, however. The Risottino Con Funghi ($22.95), which consists of Arborio rice with saffron, tossed with wild mushrooms and adorned with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The risottos are on the menu as an appetizer, but the waitress said it could be prepared at an entrée size. I was quite pleased with this. I was even more surprised when, after a wait and some good conversation, our waitress and waiter (he was training) came to our table with pans and a cart. The burners were lit, and the food was finished off table side. What a treat. I got to see the risotto get tossed, warmed, and then plated right in front of me. My roommate’s ravioli prepped the same way. I love this stuff! The risotto was placed in front of me and then dusted with a nice helping of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (only the best!). We were then left to our food.
This risotto was perfectly prepared. It was the perfect level of al dente, so that the rice was at the right level of starchiness without being undercooked and hard or overcooked and mushy. It was full of rich flavors. The saffron was a nice touch to the dish. And the mushrooms were complimented by everything in there. The entree size was perfect for me as my meal. And I savored every flavorful bite. Honestly, I’ve had risottos in other establishments before, but this one was fantastic. There was just a hint of spice to each bite and the different textures kept it interesting. Who needs pasta at an Italian restaurant? Give me a vegetarian risotto any day. Especially if it is this one.
Our waiter inquired with us after we finished out dessert. We did say we would love to look at the menu. The dessert menu, mind you, is a tray that is plated with the desserts being offered that evening. This consisted of a variety of cakes and pies as well as a trio of cannoli. Not much there for someone with my food allergies. And yet, when this was mentioned, our waiter immediately said that ice cream and sorbets were available as well. I was pleased with this choice and while my roommate opted for cannoli, I treated myself to a sorbet ($8.50). The waiter gave me a flavor choice of lemon or orange. I almost chose lemon, but opted for orange. After the dessert order was placed, the waiter returned a moment later to apologize, letting me know that they did not have orange sorbet that evening, but it was raspberry. Fine by me…I was quite happy to go with raspberry instead.
The sorbet, mind you, was delivered to me in a wine glass. It looked fantastic. Very vibrant color and a healthy portion too. I was expecting a beautiful scoop in a bowl, but I most certainly to Vincenzo’s fine dining flair. The sorbet was delicious. The raspberry was just the right level of sweet, and each scoop was soft and easy to wrangle in the glass. Sometimes sorbets can get too frozen, but this one was creamy, smooth, and flooded with flavor.
We finished off the evening with a bit of light conversation at the table and some hot tea ($4.95). And when we were done, our waitress delivered the bill. We paid, lingered a moment more to take in the atmosphere, and then reluctantly put on our coats and went to retrieve our vehicle from the free valet parking.
Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant is classic fine dining at its best. Tuxedos, table side food prep, and fantastic service. So many fine dining establishments these days make a name for themselves by giving food a twist. But, Vincenzo’s is all about the classics. Why mess with something that is already good? I was blown away by not only the food, but the atmosphere and service at Vincenzo’s. If you are looking for great Italian food while in the Louisville area, I encourage you to step away from the chain restaurants, dress up, and treat yourself to an unforgettable evening of classic Italian dishes done right. Have a taste of Italy right in the heart of Louisville, Kentucky. You owe it to yourself to dine at this restaurant.
Udi’s Gluten-Free Lemon Streusel Muffins – $5.99+
This, my dear readers, is what we call a splurge purchase.
I was out at the store shopping with my roommate for groceries, and these were just beckoning to me. I checked the food budget (which has been so tight since I had to go gluten-free) and we made an allowance for the chance to try these. I was super excited and just couldn’t wait to dive in at breakfast the following morning.
I warmed the mega muffin (seriously, these things are HUGE) up in the microwave, because muffins are a treat best enjoyed warm. And what a treat this one was. Whatever Udi’s is doing, they need to continue.
This muffin was very soft and light. No easy task when it comes to muffins. The flavor was a lot like a lemon pound cake, where the lemon sort of acts as a flavor enhancer, rather than steal the show. I suppose a little more lemon flavor wouldn’t have gone awry, but the amount in the muffin definitely gave the lemon undertones without being overpowering.
When you pop these out of the package, they feel so heavy, but that’s where the magic happens in the microwave. The warm, soft treat that awaits you after a quick heat is fantastic. Truly, this could be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack, or even a dessert. It managed to find a delicate balance between flavor and texture.
Once again, Udi’s hit it out of the ballpark with another of their products. All of their muffins are a delicious treat, but this flavor was so refreshing. The lemon flavor was a great palate cleanser. If I were to change anything about this delicious muffin, I’d only add a touch more lemon flavor. Aside from that…muffin perfection in every gluten-free bite.
Treat yourself to another Udi’s delight next time you’re craving a muffin. I promise, you’ll hoover down a muffin and have to resist going back for another.
But if you do…don’t worry…you can go out and get more at the grocery store. No questions asked. It will be our little secret.
Product: So Delicious Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk – $3.99+
Minty. Refreshing. Smooth. Chocolate.
Need I say more?
I’ve always been a fan of the mint holiday flavors that are introduced during the holidays to the dairy alternative drinks. This year, however, So Delicious, the makers of coconut milk, released a pair of holiday flavors for fans (and newbies) to try and enjoy. One was Nog (vegan) and the other…Mint Chocolate.
Eggnog has never appealed to me, but mint chocolate…that’s the ultimate combination if you ask me. A couple years ago, I tried out the Silk mint chocolate soy milk and absolutely loved it. So, when I saw that So Delicious unveiled their own version of this holiday favorite, I couldn’t stop myself from purchasing a quart of it.
A quart was not nearly enough. Trust me.
I poured it one evening to enjoy with my dessert (a gluten-free cookie, for those inquisitive minds). And it was love at first sip. This mint chocolate drink is leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors. The coconut milk adds a richness to it, without making it too heavy. And the mint chocolate flavor is so smooth. I literally started off with a sip, then chugged my glass and went back for more. And at only 50 calories per serving, why not go a little crazy? Besides, it’s the holidays. Treat yourself right.
In addition to drinking it straight, or warming it up with hot chocolate, I also used it in my baking. I make a fantastic gluten-free chocolate scone with dark and mint chocolate morsels, so instead of my usual almond milk to mix, I added the So Delicious Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk to it and it boosted the flavor just enough without it being overpowering. I was in foodie heaven every breakfast where I noshed on one.
It really is too bad this holiday flavor doesn’t stick around all year. I’d buy it up year round. I love mint chocolate and hate that it gets limited time in the spotlight as a holiday flavor.
So Delicious is known for a quality product as it is. But they really stepped it up with their Mint Chocolate Coconut Milk this holiday season. I can only hope that it makes a reappearance in 2012. This vegan drink will have you rushing to the grocery store for more. But good luck…because this year I had trouble finding it and the local grocery stores seemed to have trouble keeping it in stock. It’s no wonder though…it’s amazing!
Treat your taste buds to a mint chocolate treat. Seriously. And get your hands on this product before it disappears until next year. Sadly, this is only in our lives for a limited time.
Product: Envirokidz Organic Panda Puffs Cereal – $3.99+
Remember Cap’n Crunch cereal?
Growing up, we always had a revolving door of cereals in our pantry to grab for breakfast. One of the favorites between my siblings and I was the Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch. No other Cap’n Crunch cereal would do. Only the peanut butter.
I hadn’t indulged in my favorite kids cereals in a long time. And then, the gluten sensitivity struck me hard and most of the cereals I used to eat were no longer a viable option.
Enter the much anticipated Panda Puffs Cereal. These reminded me so much of what Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch tasted like. Seriously. Made by Nature’s Path Envirokidz line, this cereal offers up fantastic taste and texture. Even more, when I poured my almond milk on it, it didn’t get soggy. I had a crunch throughout my entire breakfast experience. And that was slowly munching while reading a book or magazine, making a second course for breakfast, emptying out the dishwasher, making lunches. You name it…I did it. And the Panda Puffs held their peanut buttery good crunch.
Even better, unlike Cap’n Crunch, I can recognize every ingredient on the box of Panda Puffs cereal. Their ingredients are also organic, which does make a world of difference to me.
Packed with (organic) peanut butter flavor, this cereal is definitely a delicious morning treat. I loved it. Although, I saved this one of the Envirokidz trio that I purchased on manager’s special at the grocery store for last, believing that it would be my favorite…yet…it wasn’t. That honor goes to the Gorilla Munch. But…that is invalid, really, because this in no way falls short on the yum scale.
In addition, as with all Envirokidz products,1% of sales are donated to species and habitat conservation or education programs for kids. So, if you see the cute animals on the boxes…buy them. A portion of the price you pay is going toward a great cause and some great education for kids.
I’ve really grown quite fond of the Envirokidz brand. While marketed for kids, the cereal is delicious enough to win over adults too. This gluten-free cereal is a major win in the breakfast line-up for me. And I can’t wait to treat myself to another box of it in the near future. Go on…buy the cereal with the cute endangered species on the box. I promise…you’ll be won over too!
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. I love how versatile breakfast is. Especially around the holidays, breakfast gets made over in such fun and unique ways. The variety adds a little spice to the frantic days leading into the holiday season. We all love to wake up to a fun, tasty treat in the mornings. So, this holidays season, treat yourself and your loved ones to this amazing gingerbread spiced french toast. It’s easy to make…it’s delicious. And it’s completely gluten-free. Thanks to my friends at Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery, this recipe has been passed on to me to share with all of you.
Naturally…I had to make it and try it out. Guess what? Despite not being an avid fan of gingerbread…I fell in love with this French toast. I know you will too. Why not whip up a batch yourself for Christmas morning…or any morning!
Recipe: Rudi’s Gluten-Free Gingerbread Spiced French Toast
Time: Prep 5 minutes; Cook 5 minutes
- 8 slices of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread
- 4 eggs
- 1/2-3/4 cups of milk or milk alternative (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2-3 teaspoons allspice
- 2-3 teaspoons powdered ginger
- Gingerbread men cookies, strawberries, maple syrup, powdered sugar (for garnish!)
Combine eggs, milk, cinnamon, allspice and powdered ginger in a shallow bowl and whisk until well blended.
Dip slices of bread into shallow bowl until completely saturated.
Heat oil in a skillet and fry bread on both sides until well browned.
Sprinkle with fun toppings such as gingerbread men, strawberries, maple syrup and powdered sugar!
As I said, I don’t even like anything gingerbread, and I absolutely scarfed these down like they were going out of style. Amazing flavor. The spices were just enough to compliment and not overpower the French toast. I dusted mine with powdered sugar and then drizzled with maple syrup. Yeah…it was an epic holiday breakfast.
Restaurant: North End Café, Louisville, Kentucky
The North End Café is a place I’ve been wanting to get friends to for years now. No, seriously. My first experience there was with co-workers, as it was the place they chose to take me for my farewell lunch on my last day in the office after a layoff. I was thrilled with the company and totally blown away by the food.
I mentioned the place countless times to my roommate and other visiting friends, but the suggestion often fell to the wayside and another restaurant was chosen. But, I was invited to a holiday reception for Louisville’s Colon Cancer Research Project, which happened to be hosted at the North End Café. My roommate accompanied me to the event and was quite excited about the food they offered as appetizers and as part of the meal. She was so enamored that she suggested we dine there for lunch after my upcoming race. And that…is exactly what we did.
A little bit of history on this fantastic dining spot. The North End Café is located on Historic Frankfort Avenue and is considered one of Louisville’s premier restaurants. It’s no secret as to why. The ambiance is fun. In fact, the actual restaurant itself decorated with artwork from Louisville’s own up-and-coming artists. It’s a fun, quirky, yet sophisticated setting. They feature a changing menu, as it is based on what is fresh and in season. And they take traditional items and put a health conscious spin on each dish. Even more exciting is that the restaurant makes a point of buying products from local growers, as well as growing their own fresh vegetables and fresh herbs in their own multi-acre garden in Simpsonville, Kentucky. Not only is their menu versatile, they offer organic, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
What finally won my roommate over in feasting at this restaurant was what she sampled at the reception. But she was truly won over when we ate lunch there. We only had a short 10 minute wait. I love seeing how popular restaurants are. We hit here right at the lunch hour on a Saturday, so a 10 minute wait was nothing out of the norm. We were seated promptly and handed menus to look over. I inquired with our waitress about gluten-free options and she brought me out a sheet of paper with all their gluten-free foods and how to make certain dishes gluten-free. Again, how I wish more restaurants would do this sort of thing.
My roommate settled on the Ribeye Sandwich ($8.99) and I opted for the Garden Burger ($7.99). And yes, this vegetarian patty is completely gluten-free. (Cue the sound of angels singing now!). I, naturally, ordered it without the bread, with the side of fries. The actual sandwich itself is served with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and guacamole.
We waited for awhile, taking in the local art and the atmosphere (it was alive and buzzing all around us) of the restaurant until our food arrived. I have to say, I loved the look of the food. So, this definitely boded well for the taste. As I wasn’t disappointed on my previous experience, I couldn’t wait to dig in.
So, I sliced up my Garden Burger, dipped my fork into some guacamole, and took my first bite. The burger was done to perfection. A lot of time, vegetarian burgers get dried out by cooking time, but this was far from dry. The cheese was a nice touch and added a perfect hint of flavor to the patty. All the vegetables were fresh, crisp, and ripe. Nothing was soggy, mushy, or not cooked right. The guacamole was creamy and delicious. It had just the right hint of sweetness to it and really complimented the other flavors in the Garden Burger. I was more than happy with my lunch choice. And then…there were the fries. These fries, obviously hand cut, were cooked to perfection. Crispy on the outside with a soft center. Oh. My. God. Fries are one of my favorite things in the world and a lot of times, I can’t get them at restaurants due to a shared frier. But at the North End Café, they are on the gluten-free menu. So, yes…I loved being able to indulge and enjoy them!
I polished off my plate and my roommate did the same with hers. We had an amazing meal, within great surroundings, and had great conversation.
The North End Café is a great place to eat. I highly recommend going there and giving their food a try. No one I know has been disappointed yet. And, aside from local eats, they serve up a healthier plate to their patrons. What’s not to love about that? Good, old-fashioned comfort food with a healthy twist. I can get on board with that.
I can’t wait to get back to the North End Café and try something else. It’s delicious. It’s local. It’s one of my highlight dining experiences. If you live in or around Louisville, Kentucky, or might be traveling through, stop in for some food. You’ll be won over too. I guarantee it.
Product: Envirokidz Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars – $2.50+
I haven’t always been intolerant to gluten. It’s been about 10 months since I was told to go on a gluten-free diet. Sometimes that means I miss some of the treats that I used to eat. And sometimes it means I find better products that are reminiscent of my childhood…but way better in the long run.
When it comes to the Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars by Envirokidz…the latter is true.
While at my grocery store one day, the manager’s special table was piled high with Envirokidz products. I picked up cereal and a couple kinds of snack bars while the prices were slashed in half. I love a good gluten-free deal. Despite not having any idea what the products would taste like, I threw caution to the wind and went with the deal. In my book, if it’s gluten-free and fits my vegetarian diet as well…and if it is on sale…then it has to be bought. Otherwise, my food bill gets stupid.
The other day at the office, I finally cracked into the box of snack bars. It’s nothing fancy to look at. It looks like an elongated chocolate Rice Krispie bar. Already, I see nothing wrong with this. And then, upon the first bite, I was definitely transported back to the ages of those easy Little Debbie snack days in school. Because, honestly, these snack bars taste dead up like Star Crunch cookies. You know…those little chewy cookie that were topped off with caramel and crisp rice then layered with a coating of fudge? Oh, I was addicted to those. Hadn’t had them in ages, but one bite of the Envirokidz Chocolate Crispy Rice bar and…yeah…memories.
The Envirokidz Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars are amazing. Full of chocolate flavor. Soft. Chewy. Completely made of yum. No, honestly. When one snack bar can make me think back to a prepackaged, sporadic snack cookie from my childhood, it has a good thing going.
But here is the good news. While Little Debbie’s products tend to be high in calories, fat, and all those nasty non-decipherable and unrecognizable ingredients, Envirokidz Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars are quite the opposite. These little treats contain only 110 calories (as opposed to Star Crunch’s 150 for the small and 290 for the large). In addition, only 2.5g of fat are in each treat, whereas the smaller Little Debbie snack contains 6g and the large…12g. More importantly, the sugar in the Envirokidz Chocolate Crispy Rice Bar is 8g as opposed to the dentist-inducing 13g in the Star Crunch smaller cookie and 25g in the larger version.
For the same, if not even better, taste, I know what I’m reaching for. Envirokidz products are tailored to children, but they are just as exciting and delicious for adults to snack on as well. Not only that, every ingredient on the package is recognizable. I don’t have to sit there and try to guess what might be lurking in my food. I don’t like eating things that I don’t immediately recognize. It creeps me out.
Additionally, Envirokidz is notorious for their initiative that 1% of sales from each Envirokidz purchase are donated to species and habitat conservation or education programs for kids. How can you not like that?
If you’re craving a delicious chocolate hit and want something a little more nutritious than those candy bars, or, God forbid, a Little Debbie snack cake/cookie, reach for Envirokidz Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars. Of all the ones I’ve tried, these are my favorite so far. I can’t wait to get my hands on another box. Not only are you putting some money toward a good cause, you’re bettering your snacking ways as well.
So eat up…and enjoy!
Product: Bakery on Main Strawberry Shortcake Flavor Instant Oatmeal – $5.99+
There was a time in my life when I hated oatmeal. Hated it. Everything about it. Then, as I became a runner, I discovered the benefits that came with eating a bowl of this hot breakfast. In fact, oatmeal is my lunch day in and day out on work days. The difficult part these days is finding a brand that doesn’t contain gluten. There are some out there…and I’ve definitely sampled a few that were just bland and not up to par.
Granted, I understand the healthiest choice is a plain bowl of oats, dressed up however you choose with fruit and nuts, jam, or whatever else you might add. Most instant versions with flavors are laden with sugars for added flavor.
While out at my natural food store, I spotted a new product on the shelves. Being a new connoisseur of oatmeal, it was a treat worth splurging on. Bakery on Main just released a line of instant oatmeal in three flavors: apple pie, maple multigrain muffin, and strawberry shortcake. My rule is…if strawberries are involved…it wins.
So, I left the store, rather unexpectedly, with a box of Baker on Main’s Strawberry Shortcake flavored oatmeal. And since I was behind on the blog, it sat for a couple weeks in my pantry without a second glance. But, then…as I ran out of my other brand of oatmeal, the time to give this new brand a try came around. So, I opened up the box, pulled out a packet, and headed to the office that day.
As lunchtime rolled around, my stomach began giving me the tell-tale signs of the rumblies…so off to the kitchen I went to dump the contents of the packet into a bowl, add 2/3 cup of water, and warm it up for 90 seconds.
Bakery on Main’s oatmeal is a blend of certified gluten free oats, amaranth and quinoa. What emerges from the microwave is a hearty bowl of oatmeal. No joke. Comparing the texture when I stirred this to the other brands I have tried, this definitely cooks up thicker. It smells amazing as you give it a stir, releasing that aroma of strawberries from the freeze-dried bits that are included in the packet.
The taste…fantastic. I was so busy enjoying my food at my desk that I completely ignored my work for a moment to just savor the texture and taste. It didn’t taste like strawberry shortcake, but the flavor had that tinge of strawberry goodness and the thickness of the cereal itself meant that I wasn’t starving an hour down the line, like I am sometimes with other brands. This was a fantastic treat to have for lunch, one that warms me up (my office is a frozen tundra, especially in the winter months) and fills me up. Not to mention, it smells so good as it cooks up. I love walking past my co-workers with it and having them go, “What smells so good?” It’s life’s little joys!
Check out your local natural food store if you are seeking some certified gluten-free oatmeal that doesn’t skimp on flavor or nutrients. It is a hearty, wholesome bowl of awesome, spoonful after spoonful. So, warm some up in your microwave and within seconds you can enjoy a nice bowl yourself, packed with flavor, and completely delicious.
Bakery on Main…your products win my oatmeal loving soul. Now, to try those other delicious sounding flavors…
What’s better than chocolate? Double chocolate. Oh…and these cookies are amazing. The recipe is adapted from one that I saw prepared by the Barefoot Contessa. Curse you Food Network for making me crave. Then again, after making up a batch myself (which, I admit, I used three different kinds of chocolate chips…white, semi-sweet, and dark), I can’t curse the network that showed these to me. They are fantastic. A bit of crunch with a soft core. Yeah…epic yum.
So, here’s the gluten-free version…for your chocolate cookie lovers out there.
Recipe: Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Almond Cookies
Servings: 52 cookies
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Bake 1 hour
- 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour)
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature (I used Smart Balance)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup almonds, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined.
Add the chocolates and almonds and mix until combined. Using two tablespoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop the dough two inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment. Bake for 15 minutes.
Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets. The cookies should be very soft when they are removed from the oven. They will firm up as they cool.
These cookies are sinfully delicious! Seriously. I took one bite and was blown away. LOTS of chocolate flavor. The almonds add a little salt to tamp down the sweetness. They are everything any chocolate lover would want in a cookie. Go ahead…bake up a batch. You’ll LOVE them.
Product: Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Crème Cookies – $5.99+
Oreos are a fantastic cookie. You can twist them apart. Eat the cookie part, lick the cream, then eat the other chocolate half. You can dunk them. You can hold them under in milk until they just get soggy enough and then devour the chewy goodness (but don’t linger too long or your cookie ends up at the bottom of the glass). This is what I loved about Oreos…when I could eat them.
And then my diet had to change and so many of my favorite things were now off limits. It’s a sad reality that you do get used to, but it doesn’t mean the cravings go away.
While out at our local grocery store, my roommate decided to treat me to a gluten-free treat of my choice. I love these little moments where I get to stare at the meager selection and think about what I really, really want to try. I spotted the sandwich cookies (there were two brands, Glutino and Kinnikinnick. I studied both brands…weighed the options…and then finally went with Glutino’s version.
Oh. My. God.
I opened these up two nights ago because I really, really wanted to make a gluten-free version of cookies ‘n cream fudge (the recipe is in my blog) and it required sandwich cookies (Oreos). Well…I just happened to have a gluten-free variety of sandwich cookies. But I couldn’t exactly pour these into a vat of melted chocolate and marshmallow fluff without trying them. I mean…what if they weren’t any good. I’d spoil the fudge with crushed sandwich cookies that were sub-par. So…it was quality control time.
One bite was all it took to win my cookie monster heart. Honestly. I think these are even better than Oreos. The chocolate cookies are crunchy and full of rich cocoa flavor. And the cream in the center…ohhhh…the cream in the center is like a little soft, sugary pillow of goodness just asking to be licked out. These cookies are fantastic. Truly fantastic. I wish I had been able to indulge in more than just one (I needed the rest for the recipe). I bet they would be fantastic dunked in a glass of unsweetened almond milk and taken to that level of just soggy enough…
Yeah…I think I need to hit up the grocery store for another pack. And immediately.
On the flip side, the cookies were the perfect match for my fudge. Everyone at my office really enjoyed the fudge and left only high compliments on it. I wonder how many of them realized those were gluten-free cookies. And would it have mattered (it does sometimes with people…they turn up their nose without giving it a fair shake)?
The fact of the matter is…Oreos can step aside because my gluten-free Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Crème cookies just took over my cookie jar. And I couldn’t be happier about it.