Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

Once upon a time, a year or so before my parents were blessed with the sweetest bundle of joy they could have ever imagined (me), they lived in a shitty little apartment in Pasadena down the street from a family-owned Italian bakery called Federico’s. My older sis lived there too but she’s not part of the story!!!!!!!!! Yet.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

25 years later, this bakery is still a favorite of my family’s (a pink cardboard box filled to the brim with handmade Italian treats is a requirement for my dad’s birthday every year andddd okay also for every time I drive down East Colorado Blvd.). Where does my sister enter the story, you ask? A few years ago, when she developed a serious allergy to wheat, preventing her from being able to enjoy the gourmet goodies that had become part of our family’s tradition.

Enter Glutenetto.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

I stumbled upon Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies a few weeks ago when I was at the CDF National Conference & Gluten-Free Expo in Pasadena. It’s a funny story, actually… While I did try some yummy things at the expo, I was mostly disappointed with the baked goods I tasted there. You see, my motto about gluten-free baking is, if it TASTES or FEELS gluten-free, it is not a successful recipe. And most of the things I tried there just tasted and felt wrong.

So when a rep from Cookies Con Amore offered me a cookie from their gluten-free line, Glutenetto, you might understand why I took the sample, thanked them politely and walked away to taste it some place where they wouldn’t see my unimpressed expression. After all, I KNOW good Italian cookies — I grew up eating some of the best around! There was no way these pretty-looking, gluten-free impostors could compare.

Boy, was I wrong.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

I took one bite of the cookie in my hand and literally RAN back to the booth with the biggest smile on my face to tell them how much I enjoyed it! I’m actually pretty sure my eyeballs popped out of their sockets because I was so shocked at how good these were. They tasted JUST like the Italian cookies I grew up eating! Fernanda Capraro, co-founder and head baker at Cookies Con Amore, was actually standing at the booth and I just remember standing there with my eyes lit up/popping out, thanking her profusely for baking these amazing cookies that my sister could eat.

Fernanda and her husband Angelo both grew up in a small village in Southern Italy, where their families were known for their cookies. They moved to California in the 70s, opened a few restaurants and then, in 2005, finally decided to devote themselves to the thing they loved most and opened Cookies Con Amore. Thank baby Jesus for that! You can purchase these cookies at Whole Foods and many gourmet grocery stores in the U.S. You can also order directly from the Cookies con Amore online shop where their entire line of classic, gluten-free, sugar-free and seasonal cookies are available.

Want 20% off your order? Enter AMORE4CELLA at check out! 

Scroll down for my comments on each cookie & try not to drool on your laptop kaythanksssss

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian CookiesProduct Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies

The above two pics are from my Instagram, @cocinadecella. I wish I took a picture of that cookie on the right with my DSLR because it was hands down my favorite. It is just that I snapped a pic with my iPhone and then got too excited to wait to take more with my real camera soooo I ate it and that’s what happened. It is called a raspberry linzer and it is a butter cookie with raspberry jam. So simple yet so good. They remind me a lot of my favorite cookie from Federico’s, which is probably why they hit a sweet spot for me. If I had to choose just one cookie from the Cookies con Amore variety box, I would order boxes on boxes of these without blinking.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

You are probably familiar with the cookies above, known to some as “snowballs,” known to others as “Mexican wedding cookies,” and known to Cookies con Amore simply as “wedding cookies” (my family, Americanized-Mexicans as we are, call them snowballs). We actually bake these snowball cookies every year during the holidays and everybody always raves about them. Well, GUESS WHAT! The Glutenetto ones are WAY better than the ones my family makes! Wayyy better! Yeah, I said it! Yeah I said it twice, got a problem with that! The biggest difference is that we use almonds in ours and these ones feature pecans. The texture is dead on (difficult for gluten-free cookies) but I think the hint of lemon zest might be what throws these over the edge. These are a must buy.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

These are the reginettes – crunchy butter cookies coated with sesame seeds, with a strong lemony flavor. I liked these (you can never go wrong with a butter cookie!) but my sister is allergic to sesame seeds so I don’t think we’ll be ordering them again.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

I think you can tell how much I like the cookie based on the picture I took of it. Don’t these amaretti cookies look delicious? The cool thing is that amaretti cookies are traditionally gluten-free, which means this recipe didn’t require any weird tinkering. In fact, it is probably the same recipe used by Fernanda’s grandma in Italy! They get their structure from almond and macaroon paste, which results in a deliciously chewy texture (reminiscent of the texture of a French macaron shell). I love the strong almond flavor of these but if you are not into almond extract, they might rub you the wrong way. I also love the crisp exterior and how they are coated in sugar crystals. These were my second favorite cookies of the bunch and I strongly recommend them!

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

This is a polentine, a crispy corn flour cookie rolled with raspberry jam. My sister is allergic to corn so she wasn’t able to eat them (more for me muhahaha). They were good but I think I wish they had more jam?

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

These are ricciarelli(s?), traditional Tuscan wedding cookies. Also flourless, they are made from ground almonds and whipped egg whites. I preferred the chocolate one to the vanilla one (we thought it tasted kinda like a tootsie roll haha) but they weren’t my favorite.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

These were yummmmmmm. They are called nonnines, so I’m thinking they were named after Fernanda’s grandma? Besides the cute-ass name, these adorable little cookies have a soft, light texture and a thin/crispy/lemony/sugary shell. Amazing texture and flavor combo. These are also a must buy.

Product Review: Glutenetto Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by cocinadecella.com

What kind of Italian cookie assortment would this be without biscotti? There is a double chocolate one and a chocolate chip one. (P.S. people who put chocolate in everything are the best kind of people, am I right or am I right?). To be totally honest, I never really got the appeal of biscotti haha but I used to work at a bakery back in the day and these biscotti were as good as any I’ve ever tried, so that’s saying something, right? Ideal for coffee dunking, I think.

Have you ever tried cookies from Glutenetto? If not, do you think you would ever try them? What about Italian cookies in general — which kind are your favorite? 

P.S. Do you have an Instagram? Let’s be friends! @cocinadecella

P.P.S. Cookies con Amore sent me a package of complimentary cookies to review for this blog; all opinions are my own.

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La Lore’s Salsa Fresca

la lore's salsa fresca

This salsa is so good that I literally know a few people who prefer to drink it straight from a mug! When I was a kid, I remember that my mom used to make ridiculously large batches every weekend and package it up for neighbors, friends and family who submitted orders to her — FO FREE! (00:50 – 01:13). I really thought she would one day be famous for it.

la lore's salsa fresca

There are a million different kinds of salsa out there and sooo many good ones (my favorites are roasted chile salsa and tomatillo salsa) but there is just something unique about my mom’s; I’ve never tasted one like it. I think it is just the particular ratio of tomatoes to onions to lime juice to avocado that gives it such incredible flavor. Also, have you ever seen a salsa with avocado??? (omg besides avocado salsa, people). We all know that avocado is the most perfect, creamy companion to any food but it really shines in this salsa, where it balances out just enough of the bite of the jalapeño.

la lore's salsa fresca


This salsa is a great as an appetizer with tortilla chips, as a complement to any Mexican dish or, my personal favorite, atop any egg-based breakfast dish. My mom will dump the entire bowl onto whatever she happens to be eating at the moment but she is a special kind of person… Anyway, I hope you try! This really is a one-of-a-kind recipe and I’m sure you’ll love it :) ¡Buen provecho!

la lore's salsa fresca

La Lore’s Salsa Fresca by cocinadecella.com
Print PDF:

5 tomatoes
5 jalapeños*
1 stalk of green onions
1 bunch of cilantro
4 cloves of garlic
3 avocados
3 *small* limes
salt to taste

*this yields a medium-spicy salsa. If you would like it to be mild, remove seeds and reduce jalapeño count to four. If you like it hotter, you know what to do ;)

la lore's salsa fresca


use a food processor to blend the onions, jalapeños, cilantro leaves (removed from stems), garlic, salt and tomatoes

la lore's salsa fresca la lore's salsa fresca la lore's salsa fresca la lore's salsa fresca la lore's salsa fresca

dice three avocados and toss into the salsa

juice 4 small limes and add to the salsa as well. this also keeps the avocado fresh! i added too much lime juice so ignore the puddle in that picture

la lore's salsa fresca

dip yo chips and enjoy! Yeah, that’s really it. Super easy, super tasty. I might add that having a paloma in hand doesn’t hurt…

la lore's salsa fresca

What kind of salsa do you prefer — a fresh tomato salsa, roasted chile salsa, prickly tomatillo salsa or a creamy avocado salsa? I’d love to know your favorite recipe! Share in the comments below >>>>>>>>

 

P.S. Do you have an Instagram? Let’s be friends! @cocinadecella

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Oat-Free Dark Chocolate Espresso Granola

As a granola enthusiast, I am extremely disturbed that my sister is allergic to oats. Yes, oats — on top of wheat, rice, corn, soy, avocado, walnuts, pecans and more. In the name of solidarity, I try to refrain from eating and keeping food items in the house that she is unable to eat but I draw the line at OATS, dammit!

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola by cocinadecella.com

The truth is, until recently, I wasn’t aware that there was anything that could adequately substitute oats in recipes. Sure, I could make a porridge from quinoa but what about my sacred oatmeal cookies with vanilla bean-soaked golden raisins? I couldn’t just put those hard little quinoa balls in there; that would create the wrong texture. And, strangely more concerning to me, what about granola?!? I get maybe a little too excited about my daily FAGE greek yogurt parfaits… sometimes topped with sliced bananas & honey, other times with almond butter and berries, but most times with some form of crunchy/salty/sweet/hearty/perfect granola. Have you ever seen an oat-free granola? My extensive internet searches have resulted in strange nut piles that look unsettlingly like bird food — not my thang. And so, I thought all was lost. Until…

One day, a colleague and fellow food-obsessed individual asked me if I had ever tried quinoa flakes. Suddenly, I felt as though all of life’s questions had been answered.

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola by cocinadecella.com

Transformed from its hard, seedy natural state and into thin flakes of quinoa goodness, these make the perfect replacement for rolled oats in absolutely any recipe. Upon discovering this treasure, the first recipe I wanted to attempt was granola. Granola is great because you can pretty much think of your favorite dry, crunchy ingredients, throw them all together, bake them and call it granola (okay kinda). Well, if you know me at all, you know that when given the option to choose an ingredient, I will always choose CHOCOLATE and/or coffee. And in this case, both.

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola by cocinadecella.com

Today I share with you an oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola. The espresso is subtle and completely necessary for addicts like me who are too embarrassed to get up for yet another cup of coffee at the office. And if you close your eyes and pretend there are no chocolate chunks, we can even call this healthy!!! (Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone) This medley of crunch is heavenly atop a thick, creamy scoop of Greek yogurt with an optional drizzle of agave nectar. Hmmm how else might one consume granola? Eh, I don’t care; one way is good enough for me.

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola by cocinadecella.com

Oat-Free Dark Chocolate Espresso Granola by cocinadecella.com
Loosely based on Smitten Kitchen’s Maple Granola recipe
Print PDF:

Ingredients:
2 cups quinoa flakes
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/4 cup almond flour
1 tablespoon quinoa
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 egg
½ cup of agave nectar

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola

preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

combine all ingredients but the egg white and chocolate chunks in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola

whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. stir into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola

spread granola in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola

bake for 40 to 45 minutes. about halfway through the baking time, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola carefully, breaking them up as little as possible. rotate the pan if granola is baking unevenly

when it is evenly browned and feels dry to the touch, transfer the pan from the oven to the cooling rack. cool completely. once it’s completely cool, break up granola into whatever size clusters you like

add dark chocolate chunks, mix thoroughly and serve!

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola

oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola
oat-free dark chocolate espresso granola

 

What are your favorite ingredients for granola? Have you ever tried quinoa flakes before? 

P.S. Do you have an Instagram? Let’s be friends! @cocinadecella

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