Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ultimate Cookie

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and purchase baked goods at local coffee shops (that aren't made in house), chances are high that somewhere along the way you have encountered treats from Ultimate Cookie.

Ultimate Cookie is a wholesale bakery located in San Francisco (yes, actually, in the city, not far from where I live actually).  They make, well, cookies obviously, but also biscotti, brownies, bars (including tons of healthy style protein and vegan bars, alongside classics like lemon squares, pecan chewy bars), cakes, cupcakes, and rice crispy treats.  They supply many cafes, upscale markets, caterers, and the like.  They have been in business since 1978, so, clearly, they are doing something right.

Ultimate Cookie put their name on the map with a signature item: "Oat Cakes".  It was these oat cakes that actually caused me to pay attention to their brand.

Famous Oat Cakes
"They only look like hockey pucks!"
Yup, that is their tag line.

Oat cakes are ... interesting.  They really do look like hard, dense hockey pucks.  They look healthy.  They taste healthy.  And they are pretty healthy, fat-free, high fiber, high protein (although they still have 400-500 calories each, and nearly 30 grams of sugar, so, not a light item).

I'm not entirely sure when you are supposed to want an oat cake.  For breakfast, rather than a scone or muffin?  For breakfast, rather than a bowl of oats?  For a snack (albeit a very calorie dense one), instead of a granola bar?  On a hike?  Dessert, instead of a oatmeal cookie?  They kinda work for any of these situations I guess.

Ultimate Cookie makes oat cakes in 3 varieties: apricot, cranberry orange, and cinnamon apple. People love these things.  While most of their products are only available wholesale, individual consumers can actually mail order these.
Apple Cinnamon Oat Cake.
"Dried apples, applesauce and spices... Delicious!"

The apple cinnamon is the flavor that most Yelpers rave about. Made with dried apples, spices, and applesauce.  At room temperature, it was kinda just dry and crumbly, but with decent spicing, and chunks of apple.  But it seemed like just a super dry granola bar.

People online recommended heating it up, so I tried that.  It was even more dry that way.  I slathered in in jam, but it didn't help.  I did not enjoy it.

I think that perhaps warm with butter it would have worked, but I kinda think I just got a stale one, and the spicing wasn't really the type I enjoy.  Would not get again.

I froze half of it originally, and when I pulled it out of the freezer, I warmed it up, wrapped in foil so it wouldn't lose moisture.  And, of course, added the butter I thought it needed.  It wasn't any better.  Just strangely dense and gummy, and the spicing tasted like soap.
Apricot Oat Cake.
"The ULTIMATE Oat Cake... Our hottest seller.  Tangy dried apricots and raisins in a healthy oat cake."

The next one I tried came with dried apricots and raisins.

It was a lot more moist than the apple cinnamon, perhaps because it was fresher?  Moist is a relative term of course, as this is still a pretty dry, dense "puck", not a scone.  It seemed like the base should have been the same as the other variety, but this one wasn't nearly as crumbly and chalky.  It also had a lovely sweet flavor to it.  I enjoyed it just as it was, plain and at room temperature.

I got strangely addicted to it.  It was still very dense and hearty tasting, and almost too healthy/boring tasting, but then it had this sweetness on the finish that was really delightful.  It almost seemed like maple?  The chunks of apricot gave it a nice chew as well.

It was like eating a bowl of oatmeal, where you mixed in some dried fruit, and drizzled with maple syrup or perhaps brown sugar, except ... in a puck.  I really don't know how else to describe it.  It was nothing like a granola bar, nothing like an oatmeal cookie, and nothing like a scone, and those are all the things I'd expect it to resemble.  Imagine taking a bowl of oatmeal, and dehydrating and compressing it?  Doesn't that sound appealing?

They say it is their best seller, which was interesting, as people didn't seem to talk about it much, but I enjoyed it.

I froze half of this as well, and warmed it up, wrapped in foil so it wouldn't lose moisture.  It wasn't nearly as good this way.  Unlike the apple cinnamon, it really did not benefit from added butter.

Crumb Cakes

"Our famous Crumb Cakes are so good they have quickly risen to be just about our top selling dessert. They are light but full of natural flavor. The Cinnamon Crumb is a classic… and the rest of the flavors are all wonderfully delicious."

Crumb cakes are available in 5 flavors: cinnamon, wild blueberry, raspberry ripple, caramelized apple, and New York.

Besides the oat cakes, these are the second most common Ultimate Cookie item I see around town, likely due to their full week shelf life.
New York.
"Our delicious cake with a thick topping of streusel and dusted with powdered sugar. A New York Classic!."

The cake here was fairly boring, kinda plain sweet pound cake.  That part I could do without.

But the topping was decent.   Huge chunks of sweet streusel.  Tons of powdered sugar.  It broke off in big chunks.

I liked the topping, but I wouldn't want the cake itself again.
Wild Blueberry.
"We toss wild blueberries in cinnamon and sugar and gently mix them into OUR FAMOUS Crumb Cake. Top this off with our brown sugar topping and you have a delicious new breakfast offering."

I also got the wild blueberry cake, made with tiny little wild blueberries, and the same crumb topping they use on the cinnamon crumb cake, rather than the decadent New York style.  The berries were mixed in and scattered on top, and there was a generous brown sugar crumb layer as well.

The cake was moist and flavorful, and the berries gave little pops of flavor.  Not tons, but, little bits.  The topping was crispy and sweet, not as interesting as the big chunks in the New York style, but, still good.

Overall, this was good too.
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