Can you believe I found four different brands of gluten-free animal cookies at one grocery store? Not a specialty market, but a large grocery store chain? I know that the gluten-free market has changed a lot over the past five years, but I was still surprised!
This summer, my grocery shopping habit changed a little. Rather than doing a big weekly shopping trip, I did two or three short trips during the week. While the kids were busy with sports and/or activities, I took advantage of the time by getting my shopping done at the closest grocery store. It was not always ideal because I often ended up paying a little more for certain items. But considering I didn’t have to argue, bribe, or referee the kids, I’d say it was a bargain!
The biggest benefit of my new shopping style was finding a large variety of gluten-free items that have found a place at so many different grocery stores. Our local Giant and Target stores have recently expanded their selection of gluten-free items. While Target’s prices seem to be very reasonable, the prices at Giant seem a little high. In spite of the higher costs, I couldn’t wait to try some new products.
And knowing that school will be starting soon, I bought all four boxes of animal cookies. I wanted to try them all side by side, to determine which one was best. I wish I could say there was a clear favorite, but after all family members added their input they turned out fairly even. Even so, they all have unique characteristics, so I hope this helps you find your favorite without having to buy all four. I’m sure you can find one that meets your needs for gluten-free preschool snacks, snacks for the toddlers, light treats to send with lunch, after-school snacks, study breaks…you get the idea.
Well, let me start by saying these Bunny Cookies are MY favorites. Love, love, LOVE the chocolate flavor combined with the vanilla. They are similar to the popular Teddy Graham cookies (which are not gluten free). They have a nice crunch, but aren’t too crumbly. And, because of the small size, there aren’t a lot of broken ones in the box. The rest of the family liked these, too. And, won’t these be fun at Easter time? Ingredient notes: All natural – no additives or preservatives, but plenty of sugar (cane sugar). Also contains rice, corn, soy and tapioca flours. Made in a peanut-free and tree nut-free facility. (Complete list of ingredients and nutritional facts at Annies.com.)
These were my husband’s favorites, not that I expect him to take these to work with him. My son liked these and Ian’s cookies the best. And I have to say that I preferred these over Ian’s. K-Kritters have a nice crunchy texture without falling apart. Like the bunny cookies, there were few broken ones in the box. No overwhelming flavor, just lightly sweetened. Ingredient notes: Of all the cookies we tried, these were lowest in sugar: 2 grams per serving of 8 cookies. However, they do contain sugar, and really aren’t lacking in sweetness. Another interesting note was that they contain pea starch, pea protein and pea fibre. They also have potato starch, rice flour, tapioca starch and soy lecithin. “Produced in a gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, and tree-nut free facility. May contain traces of egg.” (Complete list of ingredients and nutritional facts at Kinnikinnick.com.)
These Animal Cookies have been available to us for a while now. In fact, you can usually find them at most large chain grocery stores, often in the natural foods or organic sections of the store. They are my 5-year-old daughter’s favorite. I think the texture is a little grainy, but it doesn’t seem to bother her. Even though it is labeled as Vanilla, these cookies do have a subtle cinnamon flavor that we like. On the down side, there are often lots of broken cookies in the box. Ingredient notes: all organic ingredients with evaporated can juice; rice, corn, and soy flours. “This product is third-party certified organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI).” (More product information at Naturespath.com.)
These were my least favorite Animal Cookies. My husband and I both thought they tasted stale. They were a little hard and slightly chewy without being soft. However, my 7-yr-old son thought they were great. He likes the animal shapes. And, I would think that these would make good teething biscuits because they aren’t too crunchy to cut delicate gums. These are very similar to Mi-Del’s Gluten-Free Arrowroot Cookies, which we used to buy. But, we haven’t seen those in the stores for a while, and so haven’t tried them in a while either. Ingredient notes: Sweetened with organic dehydrated cane juice and honey. Contains corn, soy, potato, and rice flours. Also contains soy, egg, and butter (milk). “This product is manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts, tree nuts and wheat. This product is routinely tested using the ELISA method to gluten free standards as determined by the World Health Organization.”
So what will I be buying in the future? If I was ranking all the cookies above: Annie’s GF Bunny Cookies would win, with K-Kritters and EnviroKidz coming next. I probably won’t buy Ian’s again. Anyone else have some opinions to share about these? Or, maybe you have tried some other brands I haven’t included here?
- Annie’s is offering a Back to School Special of 15% discount now through Sept. 11, 2010 for Amazon orders. Use promotional code ANNIES55. And if you sign up for the Subscribe & Save Program, you get an additional 15% off. And, of course, if you have a Prime Membership with Amazon, you get free 2-Day shipping.
- For more gluten-free recipes and ideas, visit Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker.