|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Kate Rockwood (33 posts)
Best Chocolate Chip: Get Fresh Bakehouse Chocolate Chip
When Jeff Robbin's daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, he decided to try his hand at gluten-free baking. After three years of research, his New Jersey team fired up its ovens and started cranking out batches of hefty cookies in flavors like Butterscotch Walnut and Oatmeal Plus (with white-chocolate chips, walnuts and dried cranberries). The classic chocolate chip--huge hunks of chocolate laced through buttery, sweet dough--was a runaway winner in our taste test.
Best Oatmeal: Whole Foods Nutmeal Raisin
Imagine the flavors of an oatmeal-raisin cookie--brown sugar, chewy raisins, almonds and cinnamon--minus the actual oats. We were suspect at first, too, but Whole Foods pulls it off with these dense, fist-sized sweets that are safe for people who avoid oats in their diet. The grocery chain offers a line of 30-plus baked goods out of its dedicated gluten-free bakehouse in North Carolina, but our testers fell hard for these ("scrumptious," "addictive") cookies.
For Pie Addicts: Grand Traverse Pie Company
If the thought of choosing between cherry or berry makes your palms sweat, consider the Pie of the Month Club. For one season, six months, or a year, members tuck into a signature pie from this 15-year-old Michigan bakery each month. Some of the most popular pies include Cherry Crumb (Mario Batali called it "a religious experience"), Michigan ABC (grown-in-state apples, blueberries and cherries), and Opera House blackberry.
Reason for Seconds: Grand Traverse can customize a message on your pie--like with icing letters on a birthday cake--using pastry-dough cut-out letters.
For Cream-Pie Cravings: Achatz Pies
Famed Chicago chef Grant Achatz serves his restaurant staff slices of pie from this bakery, owned by his second cousin Dave and Dave's wife, Wendy. No wonder: In addition to the usual suspects of fruit and fall pies, Achatz bakers carefully craft 18 cream pies that are true stunners. I'm partial to Raspberries and Cream, made with vanilla pastry cream topped with slightly sweetened raspberries and dotted with fresh whipped cream.
Reason for Seconds: If I could, I'd chase Cannoli Pie (whipped pastry cream and cream cheese studded with almonds and chocolate chips) with Sweet Cream Cinnamon (cinnamon pastry cream topped with candied pecans).
Pies for when you want something tart, something berry-flavored or when you don't know what you want
Picnics are underappreciated: less hassle and heat than grilling, but endlessly more fun than eating indoors. Yet if you're gluten-free, the classic menu--a potential danger zone of sandwiches, crackers, pasta salad, and cookies--can scream off limits. A picnic can be gluten-free, of course, if you find tasty alternatives to the old standbys. Here's what you'll find in my wicker basket this weekend:
Udi's Sandwich Bread: Whether I'm craving cucumber-cream cheese or mounds of roast beef, I reach for Udi's, a durable rice-and-tapioca bread available in white or whole wheat. Unlike other options, it doesn't require toasting to hold up to messy fillings; you can eat it soft, straight from the loaf.
Tinkyada Pasta: Tinkyada's pasta-salad-perfect noodles (penne, shells, spirals) are made with brown rice and rice bran (fiber boost!), and stay incredibly chewy. One tip: The directions significantly overestimate cooking time. If you like your pasta al dente, start taste-testing at the halfway point.
The Good Bean Roasted Chickpeas: You can opt for gluten-free croutons, but this new snack has become my new favorite salad topper. All-natural roasted chickpeas, dusted with sea salt, cracked pepper, or smoky chili and lime, are crunchy and flavorful, without overpowering a salad. And the chickpeas are naturally high in fiber and protein.
[After the jump, something crunchy and something sweet]