24 April 2008

Product Review: Bella's Cookies

Don't they look just like homemade cookies? A far cry from your typical store-bought cookie, that's for sure. Better yet, Bella's Cookies are made with agave nectar instead of cane sugar. And they're fresh, fresh, fresh. They're so fresh in fact, that John needed to keep these Oatmeal Raisin cookies in the fridge for me while I was out of town for a few days.

When I opened the box, I pulled out the little bag containing three Oatmeal Raisin cookies. The directions said to let the cookies come to room temperature before eating, so I did (later, I found that I preferred them cold) before digging in.

While I waited, I read the ingredients and nutritional facts included in the box. While Bella's don't contain hydrogenated fats or trans fats, they still contain a LOT of saturated fat per cookie (4 g of sat fat for 7 g of total fat in the Oatmeal Raisin variety). On the other hand, it comes directly from the butter and eggs used to make the cookies -- just like homemade. It's just something to keep in mind if you're watching your fat intake or cholesterol (unfortunately, I now fall into that group -- yes, my vegan friends are now laughing at me for using all that butter).

The cookies made me think longingly of of some I made nearly a year ago. While I give great kudos to Bella's for using agave nectar in their products and for using simple, pure ingredients, these weren't my favorite cookies. I had high hopes for them since they looked just like homemade and smelled like Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

However, in comparison to my cookies, Bella's were just too sweet for me (and I like sweets!) and bland -- as if the ones they sent me had been part of the mix that missed out on the spices. Also, my homemade cookies taste buttery rather than fatty. I'm not sure how to explain it except that in Bella's, I could feel the butter in the texture rather than tasting it in a pleasing way.

The cookies might be good for kids, who seem to be a bit sensitive to spices and not as finicky about flavor or texture. And, please, just as I don't take the word of reviewers as gospel, go try these for yourself before making up your mind. Bella's offers plenty of other flavors of their cookies that might just be wonderful.

If you've tried Bella's and think I'm way off base, please let me know. Or, if you agree, please leave a comment. Otherwise, have you ever been disappointed by a cookie you thought would be great?


Ricki said...

Wow--great that you can buy a product such as that one, anyway! There's a brand of cookies here (can't remember the name now) that sells vegan and GF cookies. Their GF chocolate was just horrible--but, like you, I'm a baker, so I always prefer my own stuff!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Ricki. Yeah, it's a tricky business, and I'm sure that they'll do well because there's a large market for it.

Mark Leishear said...

Deb -
Thanks for reviewing and giving your honest opinion. This is a very new cookie for us and one that will go through some additional future revisions I'm sure. Great cookies some how always go this way; thus the reason it does not a have a full glossy tag yet like our finished products. We've had a lot of requests from our diabetic friends asking to create something that is suitable for them; we chose oatmeal raisin. I'm an organic sugar guy, I don't use agave much at all, I don't know how to use it, what best to use it for, etc... I just eat the cookies... but I enjoy this cookie (then again I'm partial). And we've had some great feedback on it at some events we've attended over the past 2 months. On a mission to please the tastes of everyone though, my wife will use your review to further perfect this creation. We're about to head into a busy summer season here at the beach and this may disappear from our lineup for a while. If it does, know on it's return... excellence. :) Thanks again!

All the best,

Deb Schiff said...

Hi Mark,
It takes true humility to take constructive critique well. I'm sure you and the Mrs. will do extraordinary things with your company if you continue to strive for excellence.

Traci Lyn said...

I'm baking the some you made nearly a year ago right now. Due to my son's allergies, and the fact that I'm making them also for friends with "sugar" issues, made tons of substitutions. I don't think this first batch is going to turn out--but I'll keep tweaking! I used EARTH BALANCE and an organic shortening in place of butter. I used half a cup of oat flour and a cup of gluten free all purpose flour. I attempted to use KNOX unflavored gelatin and warm water in place of eggs...but that was a huge mess. So, then I tried vinegar and baking powder. THe dough was pretty gooey. I added some more flour. We'll see. Check out the full story on my blog! jecilynandtreavorsmom.blogspot.com.
I'll try to post it in a few days!
Thanks for the recipe!

Deb Schiff said...

Traci Lyn, you might try a vegan standby for eggs -- flaxseed meal -- instead of the gelatin. I'll check out your blog for the results. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Traci Lyn said...

I'll try that! Gelatin is gross!!! How do you substitute the flaxseed meal? The cookies were actually quite good! The first batch--before I added the extra flour--was better than the subsequent ones. I should have waited until they came out of the oven! Oh well, even with the extra flour, they were tasty. My son loved them! I'm a bad mom who let him eat cookies for breakfast!!! Oh well, it's a cookie free of wheat, eggs, milk, cholesterol, trans fat, gluten, sugar, artificial colors and flavors--it's a healthy food!! Lol! Post the story soon! Thanks again!