Monday, January 18, 2010

Joy of Cookies

If you shop for gluten-free foods at Wegmans or Whole Foods in the Delaware Valley, you’ve likely seen the gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free and dairy-free cookies and brownies from Furlong, Pennsylvania-based Cookies...For Me? But you probably don’t know how the company got its name.

After one of their twin boys, Matthew, became extremely sick at 9 months old. Jamie Enders and her husband Ross were told that their child was not only anaphylactic to peanuts and eggs but also severely allergic to wheat, barley, rice, peas, oats, among other things. Matthew went through speech therapy, feeding therapy and was put on a nutritional supplement.

In a story familiar to many of us whose young children were diagnosed with celiac disease, by the time Matthew was 2 years old, he was considered “failure to thrive.” He was afraid to try new foods, let alone eat any foods he knew. At that point, Jamie and her husband added foods containing gluten back into his diet in the hope that this would widen the food spectrum for him. Matthew would always ask “For me?” before eating a treat, making sure the food would not make him sick.

At age 3, however, Matthew still was not on the growth charts. Finally, his parents got the answer – a finding of celiac disease. They eliminated gluten again and within three weeks Matthew was gaining weight.

Jamie wanted to be able to provide people with celiac disease and other dietary restrictions the opportunity to buy cookies at their local supermarkets. She started by creating a recipe for sugar cookies. Many batches and tastings of cookies later, her concept became real. “If you could have seen Matthew’s face light up when he saw a decorated sugar cookie that he could eat, your heart would have melted,” says Jamie. “He ran upstairs to tell his dad, ‘Mom made cookies for me!'”

In addition to having brownies, brownie bites and cookies such as chocolate chip, snickerdoodle and black-and-whites available year-round in stores, Cookies...For Me? offers seasonal-themed treats. Heart-shaped sugar cookies are now available leading up to Valentine’s Day, while cookies shaped as shamrocks will commemorate St. Patrick’s Day. In the spring, Cookies...For Me? plans on baking cookies styled as flowers and butterflies. The company also makes personalized cookie and brownie cakes on a special-order basis. Soft gluten-free oatmeal cookies may be a part of the company’s product line in the future.

The cookies and brownies are also available in Pennsylvania at None Such Farms in Buckingham and Jules Thin Crust Pizza in Doylestown, Newtown and Jenkintown. In New Jersey, they can be found at Cup of Joe in Pennington, New Jersey. Customers can place online orders at the company’s website or at The Gluten-Free Mall.
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