My friends at Katz Gluten Free sent me a very nice sampling of some of their sweet treats and savory breads – thank you so very much. I have to say that I could not have been more pleasantly surprise with some of my old time favorites now available in gluten-free form. I also love the fact that they are right here in New York State. Perhaps the most important thing (aside from being absolutely delicious) about their baked goods is they instantly transported me to my pre-Celiac diagnosis days where I indulged in challah and rugelech without care and never in a million years thought I would find delicious gluten-free versions.
To start with, three words – gluten-free rugelech. Yes, that is right my friends you read correctly. I do not think there is anything finer than a good rugelech and let’s face it, even in its gluten-filled form good rugelech can be hard to find.
Well, my friends, look no further because Katz has, what is in my opinion, the best rugelech out there – gluten or gluten-free. The pastry is so light and flakey (as rugelech should be) that I was waiting for a reaction because I just could not believe they were gluten-free.
Let’s begin with the cinnamon variety – think of a delicious cinnamon bun and that is exactly what these tasted like. Little miniature cinnamon buns that were perfectly sweetened so you could enjoy the rich buttery flakey pastry. It took all of my strength not to eat the entire package but actually they are very filling which is a good thing because three, okay four, made for the perfect dessert after dinner without leaving you feeling like there was a rock in your stomach. The chocolate variety was equally as good with rich cocoa notes and just lightly sweetened so as not to take away from the nuttiness of the chocolate. You can actually taste the ingredients – from the subtle saltiness of the butter to the sweet graininess of the sugar – there are the real deal and absolutely perfectly balanced from a flavor point of view.
Next up were the two varieties of cookies: chocolate dipped and chocolate chip. After sampling the rugelech there was really no question that the bakers at Katz knew what they were doing so the cookies were no surprise – they were simply delicious. The chocolate dipped were a simple vanilla butter cookie half-dipped in a rich coating of chocolate. The cookies themselves were the perfect consistency – being crisp and flaky but without falling apart into pieces at first bite.
The chocolate chip cookies were again the vanilla butter cookie base but this time with chocolate chips throughout each cookie. These were also perfectly balanced from a sweetness perspective. The chocolate was not overpowering and played well against the richness of the base cookie.
Now onto the breads…
Yes, there are good gluten free breads out there – we all know that and there’s no surprise there. However, much like their rugelech Katz is a true standout with their gluten-free sliced challah and challah rolls. Challah people, challah – I mean it just does not get any better than this. I could not open the rolls quick enough and was not disappointed. They are actually airy like challah should be but the taste – oh, the taste! You first get the subtle hint of sweetness that makes challah so appealing followed by the rich savory notes – rounded out with the ever so subtle bite of the browned crust (which is hard to convey in words – but challah aficionados know exactly what I am talking about). The sliced bread is equally as good and complex and toasts up a dream. It is extremely hearty and keeps so well in the freezer and comes back to life without issue. Perhaps the most shocking about Katz’s challah is that you can eat it right from the package and it tastes like a challah should.
So, to my friends at Katz Gluten-Free, thank you for making the most delicious gluten-free varieties of rugelech and challah – two items I never thought I would be able to enjoy again post-Celiac diagnosis. To those of you out there reading this – run, don’t walk to their Web site and check out their full product portfolio but if you do not order their rugelech and challah you are truly missing out.
Oh, and they even offer first-time customers the chance to get a free sample pack of some of their delicious items – you just pay shipping.