Recipe to Riches Reviewed: Episode 5, The Smart Cookie
RECIPE TO RICHES Season 1 | Episode 5
Last things first: at the end of this week’s episode (the sweet and savoury snacks challenge), the producers flashed a disclaimer explaining that “due to unforeseen circumstances,” the winning contestant would “not be competing for the grand prize in the final episode.” Our minds rife with conspiracy theories neither sweet nor savoury, we dashed off a note to the show’s publicist, who reassured us there was nothing untoward going on. Apparently, after the show was taped, the producers found out that the winner had a family member who worked at a company connected to the show, making her technically ineligible. But since that family member wasn’t in a position to have any influence on the show, they decided to let her keep her $25,000 in winnings while barring her from the grand prize. Given how badly she wanted to win (see below), we have to admit we feel a little bad. After the jump, our weekly recap and tasting panel.
We weren’t able to conduct a precise count, but we’d be willing to wager that this episode had more tears in it than in all the previous ones combined. The main (but by no means only) culprit was Whistler ski bum Sonya Walos, who brought with her a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie she devised after being disappointed, like everyone else, with the quality of gluten-free products on the market. During the batch-up challenge, Walos almost melted down when she found out her assistant had accidentally doubled the chocolate chips in her cookie (“I’ve learned one thing in life, and you can’t trust anybody,” she complained). But it was Natasha Langevin of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, who got the axe when the judges thought her one-bite s’mores (which she brilliantly named s’morsels) were a one-time novelty buy. In the marketing round, Valos went up against Vancouver econ PhD student Donna Feir, whose “bacon stampeder” cookie was a homage to the stampede breakfasts of her native Calgary (apparently they tasted of buttermilk pancakes, maple syrup and, yes, bacon). When a couple of strangers helped her set up her mock stampede at Dundas Square, the bubbly Feir was the antithesis to Walos’s cynic, proclaiming that “people are so good… and it’s good to know that my faith in people is validated!” Sadly, faith in people was not enough for Feir; in a most Canadian moment, the judges worried that her cookies were, in Laura Calder’s words, “too interesting for their own good,” and sent her packing. At this point, Walos and Feir reacted in time-honoured reality TV fashion, with weeping, spluttering, giggling, gasping, hair pulling and hugs (Galen Weston’s surprise entrance minutes earlier had provoked a similar reaction). Walos’ send-off was most memorable: “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, I don’t know what to say! Thank you so much! I think I’m going to have a heart attack!!!”
After last week’s bannock pie, which took over an hour to put together, these pre-baked “smart” cookies were a welcome reprieve—just open the box and eat. Only about half the members of our tasting panel were informed beforehand that these cookies were gluten-free and, not surprisingly, they seemed to like them a little better. Although some complained the coconut-strewn cookies were a little gritty, one taster noted, approvingly, that they “didn’t have that earthy flavour that gluten-free cookies sometimes have.” Someone else added that he couldn’t “taste the stuff mentioned on the box”—i.e. puffed corn, quinoa and crisp brown rice—“and that’s a good thing.” Still, there was broad consensus that the cookies were mighty sweet; tellingly, everyone turned down seconds. The verdict: impressive for a gluten-free cookie, passable otherwise. See the cookies in action in our box-to-plate gallery »
(Images: Sonya Walos and homemade cookies, Food Network Canada; tasting photos, Andrew D’Cruz)
60 thoughts on “Recipe to Riches Reviewed: Episode 5, The Smart Cookie”
It’s too bad those cookies did not have a chance to get to your store shelfs. There are almost no pre made cookies worth buying,that are gluten free. Your store would have almost certainly drawn in new customers with the sale of these cookies.
she may be out of the running – but the cookie will still be on sale in all Loblaw stores this Sunday.
Hopefully, the Smart Cookie will be more appealing than Sonya. Her negativity and insulting distrust of people not only was obvious but also was verbalized for all to hear – more than once. Certainly, not a gracious competitor.
Not needing gluten-free products this is just another chocolate chip cookie (amongst hundreds). Given the limited appeal I’m surprised the judges made this choice.
As a person with celiac disease( an auto immune disease that makes ingesting wheat, rye, barley, malt not only painful, but dangerous ), I found Sonya to be very endearing. The fear you will be rejected for trying to bring special dietary foods to the mainstream food aisle must be overwhelming. I must do most of my own baking, as most pre-baked gluten free food is rather unpalitable. Gluten free food is a must for autism, ADD/ADHD, and other non food allergy diets. Hurray for PC and Recipe to riches for allowing Sonja to pave the way for us who want share food with the ones we love. Well done Sonya!
Just a thought…I was very anxious to try the pancake bacon cookies. She should get another chance, since the winner was not really a winner.
Ron… you have no idea what it is like to be a celiac. (Gluten intolerent). It is not just another cookie. It is food for Celiac’s to eat and enjoy without all the pain and horrible things celiac’s go through. There is not enough of decent food or treats for Celiac’s. Shame on you. Read up on the disease before you say it is just another cookie. Go out a buy a loaf of horroblr bread in the freezer section of your shop that runs $7.00 and then tell us we do not need descent food.
they absolutely went the wrong way on this episode. the gluten free option (while needed for a seemingly growing market segment) was the least interesting of the 3 options. either of the other 2 would have caused me to go to loblaws, i guess its back to metro for me this weekend
there are some really good gluten free chocolate chip cookies already on the market – pamela’s to name one.those have been out in the market for at least 10 years. i was disappointed that only cookies were in the running for this challenge.regular or gluten free – i can make those in 20 minutes and have been doing it since the 1970’s.this was a disappointing episode – i was looking for something more interesting as a snack challenge.
I would’ve like to try the bacon stampeder cookie. I think the name that the marketing company gave it – didn’t work. Perhaps just called it stampeder – (Sweet stampeder, Western bites, rodeo cookie, sweet breakfast bites, sugar & spice round up) It’s so true there is a ton of chocolate chip cookies out there, yes limited for gluten free, but it is still a chocolate chip cookie.
Not interested in her cookies gluten free or not. She was more than dramatic on the show and almost looked a little tipsy.
Very disappointed also that the Stampede Cookie didn’t make it!! Was looking forward to trying it.
Very disappointed I wanted the s’morsels or Stampeder cookie
Sonya was a little too dramatic…Not buying the cookies..I ddid try the lemon cake excellent…
wah wah wah … i turned the show off, the 3rd time i hear her spew crap about her competitors.
Sugar is listed as the first ingredient on these. Making cookies as Angelica has already posted is a very simple task. For these reasons, I’m not going to bother purchasing them. The drama was a little much. I too didn’t watch til the end because my spouse couldn’t stomach the entire episode. The same script over & over again is tiresome.
I have bought many different brands of gluten free cookies and these were delicious.
I too was very disappointed with the win. For those that don’t have the issues listed in the other postings, it wouldn’t appeal. (However, the MINUTE someone can make a LOW-CARB cheesecake, they’ll make a million bucks!! ;)
I wanted the s’morsels or Stampeder cookie to win. Those looked like something I could put out for company, kids and adults.
I won’t be buying the cookies that won.
not going to buy those chocolate chip cookies — already like one of the other hundred on the shelves. Would like to have the stampeder cookie. different, yes! yummy, probably! buy it, definitely!
judges made a mistake — again. have they been watching paula on x factor
For those of you that do not have a Gluten intolerance or suffer from Celiac Disease:
YOU have no idea how hard it really is to just pick up ANY chocolate chip cookie and chow down without a lot of pain & discomfort to follow.As a person with Celiac I REALLY miss just picking up ANY chocolate chip cookie including my previously loved President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Chip cookie.I am so excited that Sonya’s gluten-free cookie won the challenge and cannot Wait to buy and try it this weekend. Let’s hope it’s as good as the tasters say it is.
For those of you who want to try the pancake breakfast cookie, this website has the recipe. Why not try making them for yourself?
I have read all 20 comments and I am most interested in the passion in many of them. Some are written by those dealing with celiac disease, others from those who have had little or no experience with this dietary restriction.
I hope that all of you noticed that this product is also peanut free. So it not only appeals to those with gluten issues but also those with peanut allergies.
It is also important to know that there are people who have a wheat allergy, which is different than gluten intolerance, but those with wheat allergies must also eat food with little or no wheat – so this is a product that they too can consume.
I am someone who has been living with celiac disease for 50 years and I give thanks to those who have addressed this auto-immune disease by making gluten free products more available and accessible. When I was first diagnosed with the disease there was absolutely NO gluten free products available.
Yes, gluten-free products are more available, now, but it has taken a long time to get to this place and I applaud the judges and PC for taking a risk and selecting a product that is gluten free.
Another reason to support this decision is that gluten free products also help those who have autism or other auto-immune diseases.
Perhaps those of you who wrote in with very strong comments against the decision, could google celiac disease to understand better what it is and how it affects a person.
You also need to understand that gluten free products are usually twice the price of the same product with gluten.
I look forward to tomorrow when I will be purchasing the product. It may be just another chocolate chip cookie to some of you, but be thankful that you or perhaps your family has not had to adhere to eating a strict gluten free diet.
I appreciate this opportunity to share these thoughts with you.
I understand that those that must go gluten free are excited about these cookies, but as someone that doesn’t have problem with gluten, why would I want to buy these cookies? It’s just another chocolate chip cookie (probably priced higher at that) for people without gluten intolerance. The Bacon Stampeder’s should have won IMO.
disappointed for sure. But at least this week I won’t be running out and wasting my money. Gramma Glo’s lemony things- tasted that before. Jacquie’s peach cheesecake bliss- tasted that before then gave the other 5 pieces away. Chicken grenades- hope I never taste that over spiced, freezer watery, yuck again- 2 bites and the rest in the trash. Bannock pie was okay but as someone mentioned 1 hour from stove to counter. Had one portion of Bannock and tossed the rest as it didn’t justify the calories. This cookie doesn’t make me want to check it out. The other 2 items might have spurned me out of the house. Why are they playing it so safe and boring? Very surprised and put off by all 5 episodes. Every item that has been chosen as a weekly winner was a surprise to me as I would have chosen differently.
I wonder whether L. read my comment – it’s not just about gluten-free, but peanut-free, wheat-free and the Smart Cookie also includes healthy ingredients that are rarely in other cookies, including quinoa and brown rice, as well as having NO artifical colours or flavour.
I need to also tell you that I have not yet been able to eat the previous 4 recipe to riches winners because of the gluten in these products.
1 out of 5 isn’t bad, is it??!! So, I do hope you enjoy all of those products, and maybe even try these “Smart Cookies” , because you have no restrictions.
Really disappointed in the judges choice this week, we’v tried all the winning recipes so far but are not really interested in the gluten free cookie.The bacon pancake cookie would have been a much better choice.
I realize, now, from the comments that most of those who watch recipes to riches only consider what appeals to them -that saddens me, because it’s not just about a particular preference. Let’s look at the whole picture, there’s more to this than personal preferences. I sign off now and give thanks that gluten free has made it into the mainstream in Canada through PC.
Let’s keep an open mind.
I understand the demand for gluten free products but would have loved to try the stampeder. I think every man on earth would love a cookie that tastes like breakfast. Hope she markets them somewhere.
Colleen it is all about what appeals to us, it is about marketing and sales. what do you think it is all about? I think the stampeder should have won or the smorsals. the Smart cookie was the most boring. I have yet to try any of the winning recipes due to cost but I would have paid the extra for the stampeder.
Just watched the show and was hoping the stampeder would win. It looks good and I’m sure it tasted like a pancake breakfast. Would be nice to see Donna back in, as sonja is out. Just a thought.
How about vegetarian friendly foods!
As for this Sonya’s “not SO Smartcookie bit” I think she should lose her winnings and future shelf life. WHY? Hey FOLLOW THE RULES Or BEAT IT. Clearly they should not allow this shmuck up to earn anything, because she has some inside pull in this company – Same old Bureaucratic B.Shite its just really tiring to have had to see her run her mug off when there was a strong contender who had a true competitors attitude and a real recipe. No Gimmicks! whatta load of Crumbs – makes one not want to shop at this phony franchise EVER!
I bought these cookies today. Not being gluten-intolerant, I am not able to fully understand what it is like to not be able to go down any grocery aisle and pick-up anything I want without scrutinizing the ingredients label. Having said that, I know that there are many more gluten-free products available now than in the past. I wasn’t really thrilled with this cookie. I found it to be a little too sweet. And, I would like it to have more chocolate chips and coconut…but that’s just me.
I have to agree with Linda! Our family was looking forward to the pancake bacon cookies too!!! We don’t buy cookies often. We did buy the Gluten-free chocolate chip. Not our favourite……. Hope they decide to put the pancake bacon cookies on the shelves now.
Interesting comments! Vegetarian products are readily available on store shelves. Vegetarianism is a choice!! Yes, it is about marketing and sales but it’s more about “ME”. What do I like! Who cares about anyone else but themselves and family. Is there another way of looking at this?
Open mindedness and inclusiveness have all but disappeared. There are aisles full of other cookies – so go out and enjoy them!! But there is a segment in our society,though, those with peanut allergies, gluten intolerances, wheat allergies, autism, sensitivities to artificial flavours and colours who now have another choice in the very limited world of gluten free products.
TO BAD NO ONE CHECKED THE RECIPE IN GREAT DETAIL.THE BAKING POWDER USED IS NOT GLUTEN FREE, THE CERAL ALSO DOENOT APPEAR TO BE GLUTEN FREE. WHO IS DOING THE RECIPE CHECK.
ALSO PAMELAS PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN ON THE LOBLAW GROUPS SHELVES FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. SO GLUTEN FREE ISNOT NEW.
THEY ARE VERY GOOD.
The judges blew this one! Seriously? Yet another chocolate chip cookie? The Stampeder Breakfast Cookie was by far more creative and, unlike Laura Caulder, I think the public would embrace something new and interesting in the cookie aisle. I do appreciate the recipe on this site, however, and will be making them this week!
Ok so Sonya Walos was over the top in her thanks for winning. I did buy 3 boxes and ate half of one box at one sitting. Normally I don’t like chocolate chip cookies, they are usually too dry and hard. But Sonya’s cookies are chewy and crispy at the same time. Maybe a tad bit too much sugar..easily remedied… but speaking as a person with Celiac Disease…these “Smart Cookie” are very tasty. I enjoy eating them. Most all gluten free foods are yucky.. have to cook or toast most of it…these are worth the buy and the price ($3.99) was good too as most Celiac’s people know gluten free food is very expensive. Just because Sonya didn’t make it…I really hope her “smart Cookie” stays on the shelves. My husband enjoyed them too..he’s not celiac but he liked the smart cookie. It took forever, it seemed to get Udi’s Breads and Udi products to hit our store shelves… and they are trully the best GF bread ever…no toasting required. Celiac population is growing. We need good tasting foods to eat so we can feel “normal” again. So we can eat normal type foods like everybody else…and everybody else can eat them too if they are tasty enough.
“Ron… you have no idea what it is like to be a celiac. (Gluten intolerent). It is not just another cookie. It is food for Celiac’s to eat and enjoy without all the pain and horrible things celiac’s go through. There is not enough of decent food or treats for Celiac’s. Shame on you. Read up on the disease before you say it is just another cookie. Go out a buy a loaf of horroblr bread in the freezer section of your shop that runs $7.00 and then tell us we do not need descent food.”
I totally agree with you Mandy. My wife as celiac and findind tasty gluten free food in New Brunswick is dam near impossible. We will be buying a few boxes of Sonya’s cookies for sure.
Just to bad they will not be a permanent food at PC. Just the same I have printed off the recipe to try and make ourselves.
Just what we DON’T need…another “chocolate chip” cookie. Gluten free or not. Who cares? I was really looking forward to the Bacon Stampeder cookie. Actually, that would be awesome if it was a breakfast biscuit.
DID SOME MORE INVESTIGATING OF GLUTEN FREE PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET AND NOT EVEN “BETTY CROCKER ” GLUTENFREE CAKEMIX IS MADE WITH GLUTENFREE COMPONENTS. I THINK THE R&D CHEFS NEED TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND SHOW HOW ITS DONE.
As someone who is gluten intolerant, cook1, how do you know the baking powder and rice cereal in the smart cookies are not gluten free? And also how did you find out that Betty Crocker Gluten free products are not gluten free.
Having eaten half of a box of smart cookies I would really appreciate your sources.
I purchased some of these cookies & found them quite tasty,however they are very pricey here in Saskatchewan!!
The cookies were better than any cookie PC makes but still, like all of the products I’ve tried from this competition I wouldn’t buy them a second time. And this packaging was really awful. They said they would tweak the name but all they did was put quotations around the name. Not smart marketing at all. I do find it shocking that they don’t give the contestants more skillful helpers.
i don’t watch the show but i love these weekly recaps by TL, especially for peoples’ comments – more entertaining than the eps i bet
WAIT! I spoke too soon! Just this evening I was craving something lemony and so I thought I would buy the Luscious Lemon Pudding Cakes (again). It was delicious! Better than I remembered. I may have said I wouldn’t have bought it again because last time I had all 4 in 4 days!!! : ) so I may have went overboard. But so far this is your winner!
YO ‘Colleen’ start a blog or somewhere ..elsewhere…
Cook1: KNOWS THE STUFF . So Read THOSE Comments to all those
people obsessed with stuff like colleen and the wahahaa happy eating shizzle, back UP Your Recipes before ya go runnin’ ya mouth’s.
gobblegobble. Its not Gluten free unless you friggen grew it yourself and ^hit the chicken taboot.
Linda is right,
The pancake cookies should get another shot if the gluten free contestant is no longer eligible.
The chocolate chip cookies are indeed just another chocolate chip cookie-for the vast majority of consumers. If the show had devoted an episode to recipes for people with dietary restrictions then I think these cookies would have been a viable contender. Perhaps, if President’s Choice does a second season of Recipe to Riches, a category such as the one I suggested would be worth considering.
I am gluten intolerant, and was excited that these made it – and bought a package yesterday…even my husband likes them, they are chewy (yay!) and very tasty. A version with raisins or craisins would be good too!
Laura Calder is so great on this show, can’t wait til the Food Network gives her her own show again.
Who do you think will win the grand prize? We’re rooting for Grandma Glo’s Luscious Lemon Pudding!
Anyone know why Laura Calder talks so funny?
As one who must eat a gluten free diet, I welcome any store bought cookies that saves me time in the kitchen! This is by far the best tasting Gluten free cookie I have ever tasted. Most Gluten free sweet treats are high in carbs due to the starches needed to make a paletable texture. This cookie had an almost granola type chewiness that I loved. I hope these stay on stores shelves for a long, long time!
I’m another celiac sufferer that is dying (literally) for more recipes that I can use. Thank you so much, Sonya, for recognizing the problem. My diagnosis has been devasting, and now I find, as so many celiacs do, I am lactose intolerant as well – there’s little left to eat and enjoy. It is estimated that in Canada 20% of the population will eventually discover they have this dreadful genetic disease. There is little research being undertaken as there is no money in it. We’re stuck!!
Are you serious ! Overly sweet and the coconut was overwhelming to say the least…bottom line is…not for me and I didn’t feel any smarted after trying the 1/4 cookie I attempted to ingest…this was crap
I found the cookie, yes, finally something sweet for us with Celiac to try. What a disappointment, has everything going for it but it’s a sugary mess. Where is the taste of the cookie–just sugar. Forget it.
I like the idea of a good cookie for a gluten free market, but am disappointed I won’t be able to try the Breakfast Cookie:( Sounded so original and delicious! Since the gluten girl won’t be moving on they should give a second chance to the stampeder:)- or combine the recipes.
Where can I find the Pancake Breakfast Cookie recipe??!! Sounds soooo yummy:)!!
You need to try GAGA for GLUTEN-FREE – they just entered the market and they are AWESOME! All natural and made in a dedicated gluten free and nut free bakery. There are 3 different flavours – shortbread, choco chip, and dbl choco chip. You get a lot of cookies in the package. There’s a list of stores on the website – http://www.gagagf.com
They are so worth the try – my husband and kids even eat them!
I am all in AWE about this cookie!! I have stopped eating wheat for 3 years now and that is the thing I miss the most besides bread of course! I could say I used to be the cookie monster. I would some time try gluten free cookies at $6.00 for a small bag to be once again disappointed. So thank you Sonya you’re awesomer!!
Which family member worked for Loblaw? I would be interested as I have an extended member, but not immediate family…
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