Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cold Stone for Cookies

Julie Walters didn't think too much of it last year when relatives asked her to whip up some gluten-free cookies. Her bakery, The Naked Cookie, had been focused on making nut brittles and wheat-based brownies and cookies. After her family members raved about the cookies, though, she decided to add a gluten-free line to complement her existing business.

 Dark Chocolate Brownie with Toasted Coconut,
Cherries, Cranberries and Pineapple

Walters, of Blue Bell, doesn't make ordinary desserts, however. Her cookies and brownies start out "naked," limited only by her customers' imagination. She offers a choice of all-natural gluten-free cookie doughs (chocolate chip, sugar, chocolate, peanut butter and macaroon) and chocolate brownie batters (white, milk, standard and dark), then hand-blends the desired combination of add-ins. Categories include chips and chunks, dried fruits, candy, nuts, extracts, sprinkles and spreads, with dozens of varieties from which to choose. After blending the mixes, Walters prepares the cookies and freezes them for shipment or local delivery so customers can bake as many or as few as they like. The brownies come pre-baked and can be warmed up out of the freezer. She can also make gluten-free specialty cakes.

Walters prepares her gluten-free orders on days when she's not working with gluten ingredients, and she cleans all her equipment and utensils prior to and after use to avoid cross-contamination.

The bakery's handcrafted chocolate-covered nut brittles and peppermint bark are naturally gluten free. For the brittles, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds, cashews or macadamias are blended with toffee, covered in dark chocolate, and then topped with chopped roasted nuts.

In addition to purchasing custom orders online through the company's website, you can find several varieties of Naked Cookie's gluten-free baked goods at Gianni Brothers in Blue Bell, Bala Catering in Bala Cynwyd and b.b. Bistro in Annapolis, Maryland. Walters will also be offering samples locally at CHOP's Buddy Walk and Family Fun Day in Villanova on October 3, Whitpain Township's Community Harvest Festival on October 9 and the Philadelphia Women's Expo in Oaks on October 15-17.
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