I normally am not one for surprises. I am a planner and (admittedly) a bit of a control freak, so I like to know what’s going on all the time, which generally rules out surprises. But when I sampled these cookies, pretty much by chance I might add, I was shocked in the best way possible.

The cookies to which I am referring are made by Hidden Garden, a company based out of the Vancouver area of British Columbia in Canada. They specialize in cookies, and as I’veΒ found in previous posts, that generally means they do what they do very well. Their specific aim, according to their site www.hiddengardenfoods.com, is to give everyone that extra opportunity to get healthy vegetables into their diet in a fun, delicious way. Four different flavors of cookie are available, and each flavor has it’s own “hidden” vegetable. The irony is not lost on me that although the site emphasizes the notion that the vegetables are hidden, their inclusion in the cookies is proudly proclaimed in large, bright lettering on the re-sealable packages. Whatever it takes, I guess. Probably of even more importance to the company is the certification of their products as 100% gluten free. In place of standard flour, rice flour and potato starches are used. And for those who are interested, they do contain eggs, dairy, and are produced in a plant where soy is present.

So as I said, I happened upon these cookies by chance. I was actually planning on a different subject for this week’s post, but after not being able to locate the item satisfactorily, I was walking down the snack aisle and saw the cookies. The packaging caught my eye, and I am of course always prepared to try cookies. So I snapped up the Chocolate Chip and Ginger Snap flavors. The other two flavors they offer are Cocoa Cherry and Red Velvet, containing spinach and beets respectively. The chocolate chip cookies contain pumpkin, which I found interesting, and could not detect at all in the overall flavor profile. The Ginger Snaps are made with butternut squash, and add an interesting twist to the traditional ginger/molasses flavor. But more than anything I was taken back by how incredibly delicious the Chocolate Chip cookies were. Having consumed many brands and varieties of chocolate chip cookies, I have become somewhat picky about them (see my cookie review here) and these were probably in the top three best ones I have ever had. They have just the right amount of crunch, the chocolate chips themselves are still soft – some thing you don’t get very often in commercial crunchy cookies – and it has perfect amount of that salty flavor that is key to complementing the chocolate as well.

Besides being gluten free, Hidden Garden also leaves out artificial ingredients and other additives, which means that everything that goes into the cookies is entirely pronounceable. That being said, you may want to limit these to the occasional treat. The standard serving size is three cookies, and the Ginger Snaps have 6g fat, 135mg sodium, 20mg cholesterol and 12g sugar. The Chocolate Chip contain more fat, less sodium, and the same amount of sugar and cholesterol. Great taste mystery solved.Β  Although I have to say that being familiar with all the ingredients in my snacks make the less-than-stellar nutritional information well worth the trade off.

And there is my take on these silver-dollar-sized nuggets of goodness. I found them in a specialty food market (similar to Whole Foods), and they were around $3.50 per package. A little pricey, but again, worth the trade off for the benefits and the great taste. Find them if you can and give them a shot. Happy Eating!