Monday, October 24, 2016

Sugar and Spice Cookie Plate - Oct. 24, 2016

Chocolate(s) of the Day: 

The Phoenix Pastificio
1.) Best-Ever Macaroons (2) - Very Good
2.) Pecan Chewies (Chocolate) (1) - Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: unknown
Calories: unknown
Cost: $11.50 for 3 cookies
Purchased from: Grand Lake - Oakland Farmers Market, Oakland, CA

Walkers Shortbread
1.) Gluten Free Pure Butter Ginger and Lemon Shortbread (1) - Good++
2.) Gluten Free Pure Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread (1) - Good++
Weight: 1.09 oz. (31 g.) in 2 cookies
Calories: 160 calories in 2 cookies
Cost: $3.98 (estimate) for 2 boxes of cookies
Purchased from: Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, Palo Alto, CA

Welcome to Day #2 of Chocolate, Sugar and Spice Theme Week. We're celebrating today with a cookie plate.

I like cakes and cookies; however, to avoid sugar overload, I save these sweet baked good items for the holidays. Oh, and look at that. It's almost Halloween; so what are we waiting for.

The Phoenix Pastificio
The first cookies I tasted were macaroons and pecan chewies from The Phoenix Pastificio (Berkeley, CA)—a company that specializes in organic pasta, sauces and baked goods. And a few of their offerings are gluten free.

However, these were not delicate, pastel-colored, filled French macaron rounds. Nor were they cloyingly sweet coconut macaroons.

The Phoenix Pastificio's "Best-Ever Macaroons" (regular and chocolate) were decadent and delicious. A "bitter" almond paste center (that maintained a moist, sweet almond brownie-like texture) was surrounded by a firmer, attractive extruded pastry shape. And the whole cookie was dusted with a liberal amount of powdered sugar.

The company's flourless chocolate Pecan Chewy had a meringue-like lightness, and yet maintained a satisfying, chewy chocolate texture with a hint of pecan nut flavor). The Phoenix Pastificio cookies held up commendably well, given that they'd spent some time in my refrigerator since my trip to Oakland where I bought them.

Walkers Gluten Free Shortbread
Walkers* (Aberlour-on-Spey, UK/Scotland) has been producing shortbread and biscuits (cookies) for decades. I was delighted when they started offering gluten-free versions of their rich, buttery shortbread rounds, a few years ago.

No doubt, the shortbread is the star. However, tiny bursts of chocolate in the Chocolate Chip version gave these rich cookies a little extra flavor oomph. And the Ginger and Lemon Shortbread cookie was also nice. Ginger is always a welcome, warming holiday spice, and a sparkle of lemon added additional flavor.

A five cookie-plate was fun, but too much sugar for one day. (Hey, I said I was gluten free. I didn't say I was glutton free.)

*Founded in 1898 by Joseph Walker, not only is Walkers well-known, but (according to one source I found) they're also Scotland's largest exporter of food items.

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