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Gluten-Free Foods: Cookies, Crackers and Snack Product Review

11/23/2010 4:29:26 PM

Tags: product review, gluten free snacks, gluten free, gluten free cookies, gluten free crackers

What would you do if you discovered you could no longer eat most breads, crackers, cookies or nearly all processed foods? Enter the world of the majority of people living with gluten intolerances and Celiac disease, one devoid of glutinous grains (wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats). While the severity of a gluten sensitivity can vary, it can be difficult — and often impossible — for people with gluten allergies to find good snack foods. The “cardboard” texture that can result when baked goods do not contain gluten can make buying a box of rice crackers daunting.

The editorial team at MOTHER EARTH NEWS decided to give a few gluten-free foods a taste test. We tried to stick to companies with entirely pamelas pbcc cookiesgluten-free and organic product lines, focusing on snack foods: crackers, chips, pretzels and cookies. Click on the name of each company in the list of those we tested to find out more about their products and where to buy them:

Pamela’s Products
Edward & Sons 
Home Free 
Mary’s Gone Crackers 

Anonymous survey forms were distributed along with samples of the various types of products being sampled. The products were rated from a low of one (“Ick! I couldn’t finish this!”) to a high of five (“Awesome! I will definitely go out and buy this!”). The survey forms were collected, and a mean average score was determined from the responses received.

Gluten-Free Cookies 

We sampled a wide range of cookie types, from Pamela’s Products, Home Free and Mary’s Gone Crackers. Overall, the cookies from Pamela’s Products were the favorites, especially the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Dark Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk. Many reviewers commented that the texture of these cookies was most similar to “regular” cookies, although some felt they were too crumbly — especially if you are “cookie dunker.” Some were described as “better than regular box cookies,” although the ginger cookie was generally considered too strong and even a bit bitter.

The cookies from Mary’s Gone Crackers were met with mixed reviews, although only the Ginger Snaps scored a better-than-average (over 2.5) overall score. Most felt that these cookies had too grainy a texture and were too dry. Comments ranged from “surprisingly complex” to “tastes too healthy” for this brand.

The lowest scores were received by the Home Free brand, although several comments were in favor of the cute shape of the minicookies. While the softness of both flavors was enjoyed by some, others felt they were just too soft for a cookie. home free mini cookies
 

 Pamela’s Products 

 Average Scores 

 Chocolate Chunk Pecan Shortbread

 3.8

 Spicy Ginger With Crystallized Ginger

 3.1

 Espresso Chocolate Chunk

 2.5

 Dark Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk

 4.5

 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

 4.75

 Old-Fashioned Raisin Walnut

 4.1

 Mary’s Gone Crackers 

 Average Scores 

 Ginger Snaps

 3.2

 N’Oatmeal Raisin

 2.4

 Chocolate Chip

 2.4

 Home Free 

 Average Scores 

 Oatmeal

 2.3

 Mini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

 2.2

 

Gluten-Free Crackers: Seed and Rice Crackers 

Using the same scoring system, we sampled crackers from Mary’s Gone Crackers as well as a variety of different rice cracker products from Edward & Sons. Mary’s brand contains a variety of seeds, including flax and Chia seeds, which make their products crisp and crunchy. More popular than the actual crackers were the flavored gluten-free pretzels, where the rice toastscrispiness was more well-received by the sampling team. The crackers all scored pretty average ratings, and many commented that none of the flavors were especially amazing, but they weren’t bad either. If you like the stronger, more unique flavors of caraway and curry, these scored highest among the others. 

The rice crackers from Edward & Sons product lines (Rice Snax, Rice Toast and Brown Rice Snaps) earned a wider range of scores. Some admittedly were not fans of the “ricey” flavor of the crackers, while others felt the seedless texture was more appealing. The Rice Snax are somewhat similar to potato chips, and the Bar-be-que flavor had some devout fans (even though the average doesn’t reflect this enthusiasm). The marks on all the Rice Toast flavors were either fours, fives or ones, so although the average is below three, some people really enjoyed them and others were not pleased. The flavor of black sesame seeds also seems to make for a better product: The Black Sesame Brown Rice Snaps and the Purple Rice and Black Sesame Rice Toast were also high scorers.  curry sticks 

 Mary’s Gone Crackers 

 Average Scores 

 Original Crackers

 2.8

 Caraway Crackers

 3.2

 Herb Crackers

 2.4

 Black Pepper Crackers

 2.5

 Onion Crackers

 3.3

 Sea Salt Pretzels

 2.6

 Curry Pretzels

 2.9

 Chipotle Tomato Pretzels

 2.2

 Edwards & Sons 

 Average Scores 

 Bar-be-que Rice Snax

 3

 Salt and Vinegar Rice Snax

 3

 Jasmine Rice and Spring Onion Rice Toast

 2.75

 Purple Rice and Black Sesame Rice Toast

 3

 Thai Red Rice and Flax Seeds Rice Toast

 2.4

 Tamari Sesame Brown Rice Snaps

 2.6

 Vegetable Brown Rice Snaps

 1.9

 Cheddar Brown Rice Snaps

 2.75

 Black Sesame Brown Rice Snaps

 3.25


Other Gluten-Free Recipes and Ideas

If you’re interested in doing your own gluten-free cooking at home, check out this collection of whole grain, gluten-free recipes compiled from Eating Well magazine.



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Post a comment below.

 

Baldev Goel
12/5/2010 8:46:21 PM
I FIND THE INFORMATION AND ARTICLES INT E NEWS LETTER VERY HELPFUL, USEFUL AND INFORMATIVE. ( HAVE PROBLEM IN TYPING AS MY RIGHT HAND IS IN A CAST DUE TO ACCIDENT. I MAY WRITE A DETAILED NOTE LATER.) BALDEV GOEL # 132, ST 2, GTB NAGAR, CHANDIGARH ROAD,, LUDHIANA 141015, PUNJAB. INDIA.

Trisha
11/27/2010 8:25:49 PM
Thank you for this article on gluten-free foods and increasing awareness of the existence of coeliac disease to the greater community. I'll be trying the recipes out as getting a range of edible foods can be tricky and new recipes always help :-) Trisha

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