Sunday, April 1, 2012

Katz Gluten Free Review--Part 3

Back again for the third in the series of Katz goodies. This is the last one for a while I swear, then back to gardening and homemade food, since it is the season to grow.

For this last installment, we have both  Cinnamon and Chocolate rugelech, white bread, Challah bread, and honey muffins. Let's get right down to the tasty goodies!

First up:
Cinnamon Rugelech: $5.14 for 7 oz. (about 8 pieces)

These goodies just might be my favorite treat from in the Katz Sampler Box--I think they even beat out the custard donuts.  They are flaky, like good pie crust, with just a hint of chew that gives it the proper bite. Not overpoweringly cinnamony, nor overly sweet. These decadent (ahem... 100 calories a piece) little treats are quite tasty bites, I just wish that I had more than one!  There was no hint of graininess or off flavors. Not even the tallow residue that so often plagues commercial pastry. My one piece I tried from the sampler was strong enough to hold together, but was still nice and tender and luscious in flavor. At just over $5 for a box, this is not out of line for regular (gluten) supermarket rugelech!

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5. The Cinnamon Rugelech was freaking awesome! Good texture, flaky, not too sweet, but still good. I was not overpowered by the cinnamon, yet could still taste it well. No graininess, and none of the fake greasy feeling that I got from regular rugelech. With a price in line with good store-bought wheat flour pastries, I will definitely be buying these again. I just have to make sure that I only eat one at a time (not one after the other like my mouth would like).

Chocolate Rugelech: $5.14 for 7 oz. (about 8 pieces)

I am not as in love with these little bits as I am with their cinnamon cousins. While the pasty is great, and has the texture that makes them seem oh-so-indulgent, the taste just didn't cut it for me. Let me say that I am not usually into chocolate rugelech to begin with because of the slightly burnt taste that it so often gets from overcooking/scorching. The chocolate in these had that bitter burnt taste, not overpoweringly so, but enough that I would rather purchase the cinnamon variety than spend the calories on these.  The chocolate also seemed to lack body, perhaps because they are dairy free, so that it tasted a lot like cooked chocolate syrup rather than a true chocolatey flavor. The texture is great though, and if you do not tend toward over-tasting bitter things (I can't do most anything bitter), then these are great. For me, not so much.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5. Chocolate was less appetizing to me, just because it tasted like they used chocolate syrup to make the treat. I have never really been a fan of chocolate rugelech anyway, but this was pretty good, despite the syrupy flavor. It was still good on texture, but too sweet for my tastes. It also had that slight burnt taste that happens when your chocolate cooks too much and scorches.The texture is great though, and if you do not tend toward over-tasting bitter things (I can't do most anything bitter), then these are great. For me, not so much.

Challah Bread: $5.79 for an 18oz. sliced loaf
This is good. No need for toasting, no need for toppings. I happened to have it with a bowl of cheesy pinto beans, but it was great on its own as well. It is slightly sweet and chewy, almost like wheat bread, but still a little crumbly due to not having gluten. This was probably the best gluten free bakery bread that I have tasted, and only falls short on my list because my own is slightly better. (Home made bread doesn't have to be made to ship, and it is cheaper to make, even with the special flours. Which reminds me--I should post that recipe) The texture has none of the graininess that sometimes is in GF goods, and it has no off or bitter flavors. I am sure that this bread would stand up to a good sandwich, especially if it was warmed a bit prior to stacking and eating. The slice thickness is good, not to thin so as not to hold together, and not so thick as to cause the serving size to be daunting.  

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5.  WOW! Very tasty on its own, nice texture and slightly sweet. No hints of graininess, slight chewiness that is pleasant. Good thickness. Tasty, and nice.This is a great price for a loaf of GF bread, and if I am unable to make my own bread due to other obligations, I will definitely be glad to substitute this for a slice of mine. I will be buying this again, and just wish that my local grocer would carry it (and not mark up the price astronomically like they did with the Rudi's  and Udi's breads)

White Bread: $6.19 for a 21oz. sliced loaf

I wish I could say that I was as happy with this slice of bread as I was with the Challah bread, but I just can't. The white bread was dense, flavorless, and just didn't have the same cohesion as the other Katz breads. I never have been one for plain white bread, except to play with, so that might be part of the problem. There just was not enough flavor or bite to the bread to make it pleasant. It was not the cardboard rocks that sometimes pass as GF bread, it did have some loft to it, but it just didn't have the same goodness of the other breads.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 The white bread was the most fragile of the breads. Just not enough flavor to really do it for me. While the texture is not bad, it is a bit crumbly. The bread is pretty darn flavorless. Nice texture, if a bit dry. I will not be buying this loaf, but will instead focus on the Challah breads.

Honey Muffins: $5.99 for 6 muffins--12.5 oz. total

Last but not least is the the Honey Muffin from the Sampler Box. This was a bit of a surprise to me as I had never had a honey muffin before, gluten-free or otherwise. I had to look up what they were in fact (outside of knowing that they were muffin shaped and used honey as a sweetener). They were not very sweet at all, almost like a slightly sweet cornbread can be, so it paired well with my savory dinner. The other half of the muffin also went well with a strong cup of tea, holding up nicely to the stronger flavor of the tea and balancing it out with just the right hint of sweetness. I really liked the sweeter topping on the much less sweet (but definitely honey flavored) muffin, in fact I was licking it out of the wrapper after finishing it. There was no graininess to the cake, and it was rather dense--more of a breakfast quick bread than a cakey muffin. There was as slight bitterness from the rich honey, but that was okay since these were not very sweet. 

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5. not very sweet, dense, but not grainy. definite honey flavor along with cinnamon. and a great sweet topping. It was very good with tea or milk but could easily stand up to a savory dinner. I  really liked this product, and I will end up buying it in the future, but--like the donuts and rugelech--will have to have them only as an occasional treat or my waistline (and wallet) will take a beating. At a buck a muffin, it is not really bad, I just know that I can make similar muffins (though nothing really the same for less money/shipping).

That is all for the Katz review for now! I need to use my gift certificate and buy some more goodies...hrmmm....what to buy?