And red cookies are even normal, especially around this time of year. My mom made some red-dyed chocolate chip cookies just the other day. Red is festive.
Beets are not normal in cookies.
I’m blogging from the not-so-far-away state of Oklahoma, where I’ve been staying with a friend for the past several days. I asked her where I could find unconventional grocery food around here, and she drove me to a place called Akin’s Natural Foods.
Akin’s carries food that’s organic, gluten-free, sugar-free … basically any variation of “healthful” you can think of. But “healthful” does not always equal “yummy.”
When I came across these beet root and raisin cookies, I nearly passed them up purely by instinct. Beets + grape corpses = cookies? I don’t think so. I may be a journalist, but that’s simple math right there.
But their they were, in all their red, festive glory. “Taste the Dream,” the front of the package read. I wondered if dream was a nice way of saying nightmare.
I flipped the package over. It had a nice little blurb on the back:
Cookies inspired by a loving mom with a devotion to teach the art of baking. We start with fresh beet root from the garden. Each cookie is individually sealed for your enjoyment. You can serve these cookies anytime and people will be delighted. Our cookies are baked in a dedicated bakery and are cookies you can trust.
Even after this assurance, I didn’t feel especially trusting toward these cookies — not with their bright red hue and beet pulp running through them like veins.
When I got them home (figuratively speaking, since I’m still in Oklahoma), I opened up the package and all but stuck my face inside, prepared to take a big whiff. I smelled nothing … and then I remembered the “individually wrapped” part. Of course.
So I pulled out a neatly-cellophaned cookie and delicately unwrapped it. It almost felt like Christmas.
It almost smelled like Christmas, too. It was like a gingerbread cookie, warmly spicy … but with a pungent vegetable scent mixed in. If I could push past the beet flavor, I thought, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. I took a bite.
It did not taste like Christmas.
In fact, it was absolutely horrifying. I kept chewing slowly, torturously, hoping to be able to muscle past that beet taste (and my gag reflex) and arrive at that sweet, cinnamon flavor I’d smelled vaguely. But no such luck. All I could taste was beet. No sugar, no spices … nothing. Even the grape corpses were undetectable.
In the end, this is as far as I got:
I couldn’t handle any more.
The upside to these cookies is that they’re chock-full of healthful ingredients, from beetroot (obviously) to wheat flower and all-natural, gluten-free molasses. (The molasses — mixed with spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves — was apparently what gave it the gingerbread-cookie smell.)
The downside is that you can’t taste any of the ingredients except beets.
(Oh, but according to the website, the packaging is biodegradable. Maybe it’s edible. It probably tastes better than the cookies.)
Bottom line: If you are absolutely in love with beets, then you’ll probably like these. And since you’re probably the only person in your general vicinity with said beet-love, you’ll probably get the entire $6 bag to yourself.
But if you’re looking for cookies that actually possess some resemblance to cookies in terms of taste … these are not what you’re looking for. Stay far, far away.
Ingredients: Beetroot (raw), wheat flour (white all-purpose, enriched and unbleached), butter (salted), organic cane sugar (granulated dried cane juice sugar), nonfat dry milk (with added Vitamin A), raisins (gourmet plump seedless), baking powder (aluminum-free), soy lecithin granules (all natural soybean lecithin granules made with no fillers or additives), water, pure vanilla extract, salt, nutmeg (ground), cinnamon (ground), baking soda (aluminum-free), molasses (all-natural, unsulfered and gluten-free) and cloves (ground).
Price: $6.99 at Akin’s (8 cookies per bag)
Pros: Individually wrapped, so you can give them as Christmas presents to each neighbor you can’t stand. Also, might make great horse treats.