Ah, the cookie. A simple treat that brings delight to millions. The cookie is the choice companion to cups of tea, the pacifier of boo-boos, the financial means for Girl Guides everywhere, and the choice prize handed out by the snarkily sarcastic. But for people with food allergies, finding tasty cookies and treats that won’t make them swell up and fall down can be a difficult task, as most mainstream brands include eggs, dairy, nuts, definitely wheat, and sometimes even animal fat. What’s an allergic vegan to do?
These days, folks once deprived of the joy of simple baked goods have found new hope in Eden Hertzog’s New Moon Kitchen. This gourmet bakery started in 1997 offers a range of six types of cookies and four loaf-style cakes that are entirely nut, egg, dairy, wheat, cholesterol and preservative free. Whew! They’re also made without the use of trans-fats, and all items are certified Kosher and vegan. And the best part is – they’re all really good!
Hertzog started baking in high school at a local café and as a strict vegetarian was disappointed with the selection available, both in stores and cafés. At the ripe old age of twenty she started New Moon Kitchen with a mandate of excellent quality and customer relations. That she had found a way to fill a variety of much-neglected niche categories at a time when health and nutrition concerns were at an all-time high didn’t hurt either.
Staff at New Moon obviously enjoy their jobs and Hertzog offers her laid back and respectful attitude as one of the elements that make employees feel like family, but there’s something about standing around a kitchen baking cookies together that creates a familial bond as well. They use a big Hobart mixer and a cookie depositor to help them along but Hertzog admits, “As far as an industry standard, we are definitely handmade! For years we all had huge arm and hand muscles from all the hand-mixing and scooping.”
The physical labour is one part of running a small bakery business and New Moon’s president admits that it wasn’t always easy. “It’s difficult to say what I would have done differently because what I have noticed is that every mistake has been fruitful in one way or another. Some of the biggest, most hopeless disasters turned into incredible things. From a personal standpoint though, I wouldn’t have worked quite as hard as I did in the beginning. There were many 16 hour days when I started up, and I was simply exhausted a lot of the time.”
That exhaustion has paid off in the long term, however, and major retailers have begun to stock her wares. Whole Foods sought her out when they were opening their Toronto location and Pusateri’s was happy to have her products. Says Hertzog, “When you have a good product, stores are very receptive.”
The products themselves are healthful and allergy-friendly twists on old classics – cookie flavours range from ginger snappers, mokas (espresso, chocolate and cinnamon), chocolate mint, chocolate chip, and oatmeal, to a sunflower and sesame seed cookie that is the only one of the bunch that comes across at all like a nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, preservative-free cookie. Loaf cakes come in chocolate, corn bread, carrot and banana flavours. The ‘Nana Bread and chocolate chip cookies are the best sellers of the lot, but Hertzog confides that she’s got two new products in the works, she’s just waiting to ensure that the timing is right before launching them.
New Moon Kitchen products are available at a variety of health food stores and gourmet food shops across Toronto including Whole Foods, Pusateri’s, The Big Carrot, Noah’s, and a variety of restaurants and cafés – a complete list of retailers can be found on the New Moon Kitchen website.
For anyone finding the supermarket cookie aisle off-limits due to allergies or health concerns, or even folks who are simply looking for a more healthful version of traditional favourites, check out the products from New Moon Kitchen. They’ve got great-tasting goodies that everyone is able to enjoy. And that’s definitely worth a cookie.