Wednesday, December 4, 2013

National Cookie Day(s) All Year Long

You did not misread the title of today's Special Sacramental Review, Sisters and Brothers, I did indeed put an S into round brackets because there are two different "National Cookie" days that I have tracked floating around various fun holiday calendars.  The first week of December is is "National Cut-Out Cookies Week" but for some reason the 4th and the 15th of the month have been called simply "National Cookie Day."  Today I'm going to show you two different cookie clubs through Cheryl's that you make an annual gift for a loved one or for yourself.

The first sample we received was for the Gourmet Cookie Club with one cookie from each month and half the year you'll get cookies that are all chocolate or have chocolate pieces or cocoa used in them.  The photo to the left shows all 12 cookies still individually wrapped.  Today I want to look at these six and give you our opinion of their degree of chocolate intensity.  I'll put these in chronological order that you would receive them with a note in the second to last paragraph about the other six flavors.  Note: all of the cookies are the weight but the calories vary by 110 so don't just go by the nutritional list on one if you that matters to you, Sisters and Brothers.  Also I did not test these cookies in one or even two days but spread it out -- Moderation, remember?

We start the year with January's cookie: Cocoa Sugar Cookie.  This has a surprisingly strong flour scent, not a sugar or cocoa scent like I was expecting when I open up the bag.  It is made with alkalized cocoa and chocolate powder (made with chocolate liquor) and it also has flour, milk, and eggs if any of those are allergen concerns for you.  This is a slightly soft cookie with a crunchy outside. The first bite is flour then sugar then fading into cocoa.  Personally I prefer a stronger cocoa flavor but it tastes just like its title suggests it should.

February is a cookie that always shows up on almost every "best loved" cookie lists I've ever seen: Chocolate Chip Cookie. Of course Cheryl's recipe is their own so let's see how it does.  This has cocoa butter and chocolate liquor both along with the usual allergen concerns for cookies -- dairy, wheat, eggs but also soy.  It has a very wheat scent with a hint of chocolate when I take a whiff of it.  The cookie is very firm but not dry and also not crispy.  It has an odd baking soda and salt flavor to it but on the opposite side it is more vanilla and brown sugar.  When I hit a chocolate chip there is a burst of chocolate and sweetness but the cookie part itself seems almost poorly mixed in terms of the ingredients being well blended.

March, perhaps in honor of St. Patrick's Day, has the Chocolate Mint Chip Cookie for that bit o'green you want to be wearing on the 17th of the month. This has milk, soy, wheat, and eggs just in case any of these are allergens for you, Sisters and Brothers.  The cocoa is alkalized and the chips are actually made with chocolate liquor and cocoa butter -- just dyed green.  This is the least caloric cookie of the half dozen chocolate varieties included in this club's offerings.  This has a strong cocoa and mint scent as soon as you take it from the plastic.  The cookie is a bit dry but it doesn't crumble to pieces.  The first flavor is the cocoa then a cool mint that builds until it recedes back into the cocoa.  Very simple, very easy, basic cookie.

June has a long titled cookie, Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Chunk Cookie with two versions of chocolate liquor inside of it in the form of dark chocolate chunks.  This is the highest calorie cookie of the year-long set but hopefully in June you can work it off outdoors before it gets too hot and humid.  Something I can't show well with my camera are the odd sugar crystals along the bottom -- yes I tasted one to make figure out if it is salt or sugar.  Do you really need that much extra sugar in this type of cookie?  It has a roasted and slightly sweet peanut flavor and you can see the extra peanuts in it almost with the chocolate chunks.  The primary flavor here is the peanuts (there are whole peanuts in this!) followed by the sugar, honey... not so much really, and bursts of chocolate when I hit several of them together --- chips and flavored chunks do that in my homemade cookies, too.  Very thick, a bit drier than I was expecting, but all over decently balanced in terms of the flavors.  This has wheat, soy, milk, eggs, and peanuts obviously if you are concerned about any of these.  The chocolate chunks are made with chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and chocolate liquor processed with alkali.

October has the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie because you know, pumpkin is everyone during that month.  Given that these are individually wrapped you could hand these out to some trick o'treaters I bet if you didn't want all dozen that would be coming your way if you ordered the Cookie Club.  The key here is that if you are allergic to any of the traditional spices in a pumpkin pie then this is not the cookie for you -- in fact the nutmeg and the pumpkin are the fragrances that jumped out at me when I first took this cookie from its wrapper. The chips are made with chocolate liquor and cocoa butter; you can see there are quite a few but as often happens in all cookies they kind of bunched up here and there.  Eating a non-chip part of the cookie first to get a feel for it, the flavor is lightly pumpkin with the spices building with each chew.  Adding in a few bites with the chips added a bit of chocolate semi-sweet flavor to it that lingered along with the spices. I skeptical about this flavor before I ate but I really liked it a lot!

Finally we end the year in December with the Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookie that has not only cocoa in the dough and darker chocolate chips but also real white chocolate chips made of cocoa butter not palm or other oils! Well done, Cheryl's for this!  The other chips are made with chocolate liquor and cocoa butter, too.  I don't know if anyone out there is allergic to it but there is peppermint in this along with the traditional cookie ingredients of flour, milk, and eggs.  From the top you cannot see how much of the peppermint bark there is in this cookie because when you flip it you see a lot of them have gone to the bottom of the cookie.  This suggests that eating it one side up or done will greatly affect the flavor you'll get so I'll try it both ways. Taking a bite from the top down -- the bottom against my tongue -- have a very strong peppermint flavor that turns creamy when I hit a white chip then cocoay and sweet, the cookie is crunchy and the peppermint is the flavor that lingers longest.  Flipping the cookie over so that the top is against my tongue the first flavor is a cocoa flour followed by the creamy white and milk chocolate then the cooling sensation but less peppermint.  So if you want more peppermint eat it with the bottom on your tongue, Sisters and Brothers! I liked it best with the top against my tongue because more of the chocolate reached me then.  It reminded me a lot of Christmas cookies that I've made.

Every cookie in the Gourmet Cookie Club is 1.6oz and individually wrapped so you can share them and they will last for a while allowing you to practice our Purposeful and Moderate beliefs here on The Chocolate Cult -- you thought I forgot about that, Sisters and Brothers, no, no, I'm just not repeating it every post like I did in our first year since I know you all have advanced beyond Novice level, right?

The other six non-chocolate cookies in the Gourmet Cookie Club are the following: Sugar (April), Oatmeal Raisin (May), Lemon Coconut Cookie (July), Peach Cobbler Cookie (August), Brown Maple Sugar (September), and Snickerdoodle (November).

The other cookie club we received from Cheryl's was their Buttercream Frosted Cookie Club ($19.99 for 6 deliveries of 24 cookies) and most of these appear to be cut-out cookies so they might be prefect to order right now during this fun food holiday week.  Unfortunately none of these have chocolate on or in them so I can't test and review them for you.

If you've used either of these cookie club please leave a comment below and share your experiences.  I loved that every chocolate cookie used real chocolate ingredients.  A few of these were very tasty but most were very average to below average and given the price they really should have been much better, don't you think, Sisters and Brothers?

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