Some mornings, I wake up and make a list of the things I could do to be a better person:
1. Learn to play the bagpipes.
2. Engineer a machine that cures allergies.
3. Prove that a Hadamard matrix exists for every positive multiple of 4.
Somewhere down that list, I eventually land on the inevitable, “Eat more whole grains.”
Ah, yes, whole grains: the former foundation of the food pyramid (prior to its 2000 re-fashioning) and topic pressed by nutritionists, early morning talk shows, and grandmoms alike, and, well, grandma knows best. While I still love my white bread and peanut butter sandwiches, no doubt more whole grains are gonna help me live longer, so, if I find a product that fulfills my grainy requirement in the form of a baked goodie, you can bet I’m on-board.
This is where Kashi cookies came into my life. Aisle 7. Tip top shelf. There it was. In shining bold letters.
First, I would like to take a moment of appreciation for this packaging. Like a miniature treasure hunt, these cookies are housed in a package within a wrapper within a box and let’s face it: there is no replacement for the utter joy brought about by ripping open a box then ripping open another package. It builds that bubbling, anticipatory suspense… slowly…slowly… until…
There it is. 8 little cookies all in a row.
Now, the gloves come off: it’s tasting time.
Well, slap me sideways and call me Cabbage McPhee. There are whole grains everywhere in this cookie. Inside each of these eight hockey-puck-shaped wonders is the dense, rocky road of Cookieland. Those classic “7 Kashi Grains” take up the majority of the cookie. The chew is a little too texturally challenging for my cookie preferences, but, if you’re a texture kid, pull out your adventure hat and hop in the Jeep Wrangler. This is an off-roadin’ cookie.
This cookie’s flavors are much like a night of good jazz improv: all the components support one another. The nuttiness of those grains plays the bass beside the almond butter while the cocoa plays the saxophone, highlighting all that roasty-toasty swing (plus, who doesn’t want to play the saxophone?). It all comes together, with the chocolate being the main highlight and a hint of salty-sweet almonds at the end.
And did I mention there are chocolate chips? There are. And they’re especially soft. And especially good after microwaving the cookie for 5 seconds. Especially good.
Each cookie packs a double-punch of almonds with both almond butter in the cookie batter and whole almonds poking out from the jagged terrain of each crumbly offering. There were no noticeable almond butter swirls, but I was cool with that. The almonds echoed enough in the flavor that I trusted there was some almond butter in there doing its job.
While these rocked on taste combination, my particular box seemed to be suffering from a “Dry and Tough” disease. (Sad face) Although it wasn’t the soft chew I was hoping for, there was something I was rather fond of that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, so I ate another while listening to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in hopes that a holiday musical muse might descend from above and enlighten me. It was right in the middle of the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” that I realized (with a particularly dramatic gasp): these are cakey granola bars! In cylindrical hockey-puck form!
Talk about a way to energize the mid-day snack attack: whole grains, chocolate, and a recyclable box, which, after you dispose of said receptacle at your local recycling center, will give you good karma in days to come.
Within us all rests a desire to explore, and it seems the folks at Kashi channeled that urge into a cookie. While the multiple grains befuddled my child-like taste buds, I admire Kashi for what they’re doing. They like their 7 whole grains and, by gum, they’re not about to change them for anyone. There’s something admirable in embracing who/what you are and not being afraid to hide it, no matter what the cost.
At the same time, I do believe that these cookies could benefit from a tweak to the recipe that would allow them to transform from a tough granola-bar-like product into a softer cookie-like product, and I have faith that the good people at Kashi can and will do just that. In the words of that terrible 1990s parody of Star Trek, Galaxy Quest, “Never give up. Never Surrender.”
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cookie – 130 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 4 gram of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugars, and 3 grams of protein.)
Item: Kashi Chocolate Almond Butter Soft-Baked Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.50 (on sale)
Size: 1 box/8 cookies
Purchased at: Harris Teeter
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Chunks of chocolate. Almonds and almond butter. Whole grains. Good karma from recycling. Learning to play the bagpipes.
Cons: Tough. Dry. A bit crumbly. References to poorly made 90s movies. The re-fashioned food pyramid. Not figuring out if a Hadamard matrix exists for every positive multiple of 4.