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TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Cookies From Jane Bakes

THE NIBBLE has been publishing for more than 13 years. Over those years, food companies have come to know us, and offer to send us samples of their products.

Other companies don’t even ask: Every week, boxes of food arrive “over the transom*,” as the expression goes.

We also attend dozens of trade shows looking for interesting products, and prowl food stores.

Recently, on the prowl, we came across our Top Pick Of The Week, Jane Bakes. The second pick came over the transom, and the third arrived following an email pitch from the manufacturer.

The theme of this week’s Top Pick is scrumptious cookies you should not miss! Made by in small batches by dedicated artisans, they’re also great for holiday gifting.

The prices range from $6.99 to $15, the latter for a larger box with twice as many cookies.

1. JANE BAKES

Jane must be some kind of sorcerer, because her cookies are magically good. They would be outstanding even if they didn’t have better-for-you ingredients.

One substantial cookie (photo #1) has only 45-47 calories, and 1-1.4 grams of sugar. How is that possible, you’ll ask, especially when you taste them.

More magic: We can be satisfied with one cookie. It’s hard to describe until you taste them, but our personal analogy is: Just one of Jane’s cookies is like eating a piece of cake.

Jane developed her cookies after a run of bad luck in 2007: a house fire in February, followed by a heart attack that July and the stock market crash in September that saw her flower business tumble.

The need for a healthier diet and a new revenue stream resulted in a small café with a focus on healthier foods—and the development of these amazing cookies.

Great Cookie Ingredients

The recipe is based on the French sablé (sandy), elegant with a unique texture. They’re:

  • High in fiber—100% whole grain, with no “whole grain flavor” (here are the flours).
  • Only a gram or so (compared to 8g for cookies of similar size), only 1 effective carb per serving. One gram has 4 calories. The Glycemic Index is 12, very diabetic-friendly.
  • Organic cage-free eggs, butter made from hormone-free milk.
Jane Bakes Cookies
[1] Four flavors of Jane Bakes cookies show how plump and toothsome they are (all photos courtesy Jane Bakes).

Chocolate Chip Cookies Jane Bakes
[2] Our new favorite chocolate chip cookie! Called Whiskey & Rye Chocolate Chip, the rye refers to rye flour and the whiskey is a splash of bourbon—indiscernible, but the alchemy produces gold.

Double Chocolate Cookies Jane Bakes
[3] There are three packaging options. The sleeve (in photo) works nicely for stocking stuffers and other gift giving.

The sugar miracle is an ingredient new to us: Whey Low Sugar, an all-natural product that has 75% fewer calories than table sugar, and is low on the glycemic index. It was named “best sweetener” by the Washington Post and Southern Living, and is available at some Whole Foods stores and online.Here’s the product website. We’re heading to Whole Foods to lay in a stock.And here’s the complete ingredients list for these remarkable cookies.

Great Flavors

We bought all the conventional flavors (not the gluten-free), and can unequivocally say: Every cookie eater will be thrilled with them.

  • Coconut Caramel
  • Double Chocolate (tastes like a brownie)
  • Hazelnut & Dark Chocolate
  • Lemon Poppy
  • Raisin Oatmeal
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Whiskey & Rye Chocolate Chip (our new favorite chocolate chip cookie—there’s a splash of bourbon that is not detectable, and the rye is rye flour)

Gluten-Free Cookies

  • Gluten-Free Amaretto & Oatmeal
  • Gluten-Free Double Chocolate

There are three package formats: a cardboard sleeve, our favorite for gifting, for $6.99; a kraft bag, $7.99; and glass jars for $9.99.

Run, don’t walk, to get yours at JaneBakes.com.

 

Bunches & Bunches Snaps Gingersnaps
[4] Snaps, perfection in a gingersnap (photo Bunches & Bunches).Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
[5] Raspberry Cave cookies, a Swedish style Americans call thumbprints. The jam is made by local artisans (photos #5 and #6 Unna Bakery).

Unna Bakery Swedish Cookies
[6] The Swedish-motif box is ready for gift-giving.

2. BUNCHES & BUNCHES GINGER COOKIES

This artisan food business is the “side business” of a professional chef and restaurateur. They arrived over the transom, and it was a happy day for us.

The company makes a variety of products, but the one we received that made our day was Snaps, our idea of the perfect gingersnap: a perfect combination of sugar, spice and snap.

What else can we say, except get boxes for everyone, at Bunches & Bunches’ online store.

3. UNNA BAKERY LOW GLYCEMIC COOKIES

Traditional Sweedish cookies from grandmother’s recipes are a welcome

The ingredients are organic: flour, butter, sugar, milk, eggs, cardamom, baking powers and distilled white vinegar. Flavors include:

  • Cardamon Crisp Cookie, like soft cantucci (small biscotti), have a hint of cardamom.
  • Chocolate Caramel Cookies, topped with nib sugar.
  • Farmer’s Cookie, made with brown butter and almonds, has a charming, subtle nuttiness.
  • Ginger Snap Cookie is just right for those who prefer a lighter hit of ginger.
  • Raspberry Cave Cookie, a buttery thumbprint cookie.
  • Vanilla Dream Cookies, with an airy texture.

The company describes Swedish traditions:

The Swedish tradition dictates that you should have a cup of coffee or a tea and a cookie at least once a day.

In Sweden a “kafferep” is a women’s only social gathering known since the mid 1800’s. Women enjoyed cookies, drank coffee and spent quality time together. The cookies were homemade, and it was important to have a nice mix of cookies at a beautifully set table—preferably with a crocheted tablecloth, flowers and nice porcelain dishes. However, the cookies were the centerpiece.

At the time, this was one of few activities where women could meet without men and children present. Here women found something to be proud of, something to call their own. The kafferep was the beginning of the “fika” (a little break) and café culture that thrives in Swedish homes and cafés today.

Historically, the cookies were enjoyed with coffee but they are excellent for your afternoon tea, to pair with wine or champagne and of course with a glass of milk.

We couldn’t say it better! The boxes, with pretty swedish print, are just right for gifting—and men will appreciate these tasty bites just as much. There’s a store locator on the website, and you can order online at UnnaBakery.com.

OVER THE TRANSOM: MEANING

We love this phrase, which is common in the publishing industry. It refers to an unsolicited manuscript, as opposed to the publisher asking a writer to submit an article, book, etc.

In older times, before electric fans (much less air conditioners), doors commonly were topped with transom windows: short windows that sat on top of the door and ran the width of it (here’s an example).

Transom windows enabled light to come in and were also important for cross-ventilation. Due to their small size and height, they maintained security and privacy. Transoms were a common feature of homes and commercial buildings before air conditioning became common, after World War II.

The concept dates to Gothic architecture, which ruled from the 12th through 16th centuries. In architecture, a transom is a horizontal structural beam or bar that separates a door from a window above it. Look at the front door of houses you pass: Some may have transom windows that are both decorative and enable light to come in; and some still open.

In earlier centuries when postage was expensive, writers who wished to have their work considered for publication would literally show up at the publisher’s office and toss the manuscript through the open transom. Hence: over the transom.

Over time, mailed submissions won out; and today—no surprise—email attachments make life easier for both sides of the transom.

 




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