One word sums up how I felt when the beautiful box of Inspired Cookies arrived …
Yet this wasn’t the only emotion I was able to enjoy from these gift-worthy gluten-free goodies … Comfort, Warmth, Radiance, Tranquility, Grace, Enlightenment, Rejuvenation, and finally Bliss were all a part of the Inspired experience.
Seriously, I was thoroughly impressed by the delightful packaging, a tall rectangular canister that held over a dozen of these sizable, thick, and soft cookies … each one completely vegan (dairy-free and egg-free) and gluten-free. They also appeared to be free from refined sugars AND soy-free, though the ones with chocolate chunks may house some lecithin (ingredients are viewable on The Inspired Cookie Website).
Of course, they were delicious too; enjoyed by both members of my household, neither of whom are gluten-free. The unique texture of each cookie gave away its gluten-free nature … definitely the crumb of rice flour … but take note, these do not crumble one bit, amazing for a vegan and gluten-free creation. But what excited me most were the unique flavor offerings …
Radiance ~ Orange Chocolate Chunk: My cookie loving husband proclaimed, “They’re good.” I had to agree. The sweet citrus scent startled me a bit as I opened the package. It was a quick reminder that these weren’t your ordinary chocolate chip cookie. The flavor blend was spot on and sweet, but in a different way. They were certainly dessert-like, but daintier in overall taste than your ordinary chocolate chip cookie.
Warmth ~ Mayan Hot Chocolate: It started out sweet, chocolaty, and then a warm spice emerged, slowly, slowly, wham! I guessed cinnamon and cayenne, and I was spot on. I love how you can actually guess the ingredients in these cookies based on the taste. I found this cookie truly addicting! The lingering sweet and spicy notes made me yearn for more. The cookie also possessed just a bit of almond and espresso, both detectable, to round out the chocolate flavor. Oh yes, and there are some delectable semi-sweet chocolate chunks in there too.
Grace ~ Almond Lemon Poppy Seed: This cookie was surprisingly sweet, but good for those who are timid about lemon. I found the lemon to be present, but subdued adding a bright freshness without dominating the scene. In fact, the lack of zest allows you to detect notes of vanilla. The almond was an excellent pairing, creating a well rounded flavor, and I loved the added interest from the poppy seeds. My only qualm, was the bright sweetness, I believe from the agave nectar. It was a bit “sharp” making for my taste buds, offering a burst of sugary sweetness.
Rejuvenation ~ Chai Ginger Chunk: I didn’t dare give a sample of this cookie to my husband, as one look at those jumbo ginger chunks peeking out told me that this one was for ginger lovers only. One bite in, and I knew I was right! Loaded with sizable chunks of crystallized ginger, and spiked with sweet spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves), this cookie is truly a spice lover’s delight! The flavors meld beautifully on the delightfully sweet backdrop, but beware, that ginger is potent!
Bliss ~ Raspberry Chocolate Chunk: This is an awesome flavor combination. My senses were smitten by the delicious berry scent. I had expected chunks of dried raspberry, but this cookie actually uses an extract, creating a background with bright raspberry notes. Fascinating and addicting! Semi-sweet chocolate chunks were used, but I could almost see this with dark chocolate chunks instead.
Comfort ~ Snickerdoodle: I didn’t take many notes on this cookie … it was very good, but didn’t have any unique features that grabbed me. It was mellow, calming, and had a nice cinnamon spice. But really, can you ever go wrong with a Snickerdoodle?
Enlightenment ~ Mocha Chocolate Chunk: I am not a coffee fan, so this cookie didn’t wow me as much as the others, but it won’t let down your average mocha fan. A calm infusion of espresso filled the cookie base with caffeinated warmth, while the semi-sweet chocolate chunks added that coffee shop indulgence.
Excitement ~ Coconut Key Lime Cayenne: Talk about an interesting flavor mix. I really had no idea what to expect. It was subdued at first, but I was gradually warmed up by a mild cayenne heat. There was a slight coconut-lime vibe for a hint at the Caribbean, but none of the flavors (including the cayenne) were overwhelming … present and noticed, but overall this is a delicious sugar cookie.
Tranquility ~ Lemon Lavender: Mmmm, I can’t say that lavender and lemon are two flavors I often run across in a cookie, but they are certainly sweet harmony in this one. Not too sweet, but definitely a cookie. I can see where the name Tranquility comes from for this pleasant cookie; it put a big, content smile on my face.
Aside from the ginger, I shared all of the cookies with my husband. He enjoyed them all, though the Mayan caught him a bit off guard. On the contrary, that one was my favorite, but how could I not equally love the Ginger Chai?
Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.