“Compared to prepackaged energy bars, a freshly prepared cookie from scratch has a similar nutritional profile, contains more moisture, has fewer and simpler ingredients, and tastes better”.
Product: SKRATCH Labs Cookie Mix
Serving Size: 22g
Calories from Fat: 45
- Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Enzyme)
- Brown Sugar
- Cane Sugar
- Sea Salt
- Baking Powder (Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, Monocalcium Phosphate)
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Soda
Instructions for Use: From the Skratch Labs Website: “Step 1: Preheat oven to 350ºF Step 2: Mix together 1 bag of cookie mix with butter and egg in a large bowl using a spatula, hand mixer or mixer until dough sticks together completely and forms a ball. When it’s mixed correctly, it won’t be crumbly”.
You then have the option of making cookie bars or traditional cookies with “mix-ins” of your choosing. I opted for the traditional, because I’m old fashioned like that.
Details: A few weeks ago, a surprise and unannounced package arrived on my doorstep. Intrigued, I hastily tore away the sealing tape and was greeted by one of the happiest sights an ultrarunner can hope for: fuel. More specifically, though, COOKIES!!! The box also contained several other goodies – some Skratch Labs Hydration Mix, Rescue Hydration Mix, a few stickers, and a branded Trucker Hat.
Cookies, you say?! How’s that!? Cookies are for desert, right? WRONG. Cookies are a totally viable fuel source, and a mighty fine one at that.
Skratch Labs put it best on their own blog, reasoning that “compared to prepackaged energy bars, a freshly prepared cookie from scratch has a similar nutritional profile, contains more moisture, has fewer and simpler ingredients, and tastes better”.
Packaging – Skratch Labs is pretty hemmed up in this department. All of their packaging – from the box of cookies to the hydration mix to the cookbooks is all convenient, aesthetically pleasing, and simple. If I had any suggestion in this area of presentation, I’d say that a smaller box (or a vacuum sealed bag) be used, or offer more mix in the current box – there was a lot of room left in the box that Skratch currently uses.
Taste/Texture – I’m just going to say it: these cookies are absolutely marvelous!
Texture was dense and hearty while remaining moist and soft. Oats add a great bit of coarseness to the mouthfeel of the cookie, making the texture easily palatable. I emailed Skratch Labs to find out about adding additional oats. They said it was do-able, but I would need to adapt the dough by adding some maple syrup to keep everything together. Because I only had one box to experiment with, I stuck to the pre-formulated mix.
Taste is sort of a difficult subject to touch on – because the mix is a base for your personal preference of “mix-ins” the taste of any two individuals cookie could be vastly different. Here’s my experience:
I chose to use fresh blueberries, slivered almonds, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. I would have liked to have had the option to make more cookies, and in the future, I will buy two boxes of mix at a time. I got a good mix of ingredients, but I feel like the cookies could have been more substantial and seen a greater diversity of flavor in each bite if I had more mix to work with. That said, I used 4 ingredients whereas most cookies are one or two. If you keep your ingredients to a minimum (2-3 tops) you could probably load the cookies with some trailside goodness.
Separating the taste of the base mix from the ingredients added, the flavor was robust (primarily in the cinnamon department [if you’re not a fan of cinnamon, you won’t be a fan of these cookies – more for me!]), but not so much that I would have been put off from eating half a plate of these on a training run.
Benefits/Positive Results – First of all, they’re cookies. I mean what more do you need to be excited about these?! Ultimately, though, they offer a really great alternative to the current market of “other than gel” fuel sources. I’ve had my fair share of granola, energy, and protein bars to know that I’m not a fan. This is a great way to be completely in control of what you are getting out of your solid fuels all wrapped up in a neat little doughy disk. Finally, I like real food. The mix only contains nine ingredients, all of which belong in a cookie, which makes me and this blue guy very, very happy (maybe a bit too happy in his case).
Drawbacks/Negative Results – First of all, they’re cookies. It took me a few days to get the preconception that these were a reward for a hard day’s work out of my head and wrap my mind around the idea that they were a portable transportation method for any and all trailside fueling goodness.
As I mentioned before, if you’re not a fan of cinnamon, you probably won’t enjoy these cookies. Otherwise, I couldn’t find anything truly negative about this whole cookie experience – baking them or eating them!
Conclusion – All said, I think this is – like all the other things Skratch Labs does – a bomb-proof product. They’ve given the community of the moving yet another option for on-the-go nutrition, all the while allowing you, the athlete, to be in control over exactly what goes in it (or doesn’t go in it). This is a recurring theme with Skratch – one that I associate deeply with: real food for real people doing real things. If you haven’t already, go pick up a box of cookie mix (or order online here) and remember, if life gives you lemons, eat a cookie.
Cheers and happy trails,
P.S. – If you haven’t gotten the chance to check out the Skratch Labs Feed Zone Cookbook or Portables Cook Book, I’d definitely recommend it. I eat almost exclusively from these two books (for both standard meals and often times for portable/race foods) and am ALWAYS pleased with the result. If you’d like a sample recipe, let me know in the comments section and I’ll get back to you with one of my favorites!