[This review was written by Laura Hanley of G-Free Laura. Watch for more reviews from our new intrepid taste tester.]
Some people have sugar plums dance through their heads at night, but I have gluten-free muffins and cakes dance in mine (particularly the ones with the crumble goodness sprinkled on top). Seeing how I dream about gluten-free goodies, you can imagine how excited I was when I opened this box of gloriousness that had my name on it.
I couldn’t believe that this was all for me. It was like Christmas morning, except it was mid-April at 5:30 pm. I also received a very nice letter from the Yumbana man, Chris Lehn, describing the products he sent me.
With so much gluten-free greatness in one place, I knew I had to have a plan of attack. This was very critical so I could enjoy the taste of each goodie, but not overdose on yumminess. So, what I did was chronicle my gluten-free Yumbana journey by taking a picture of the product, cutting a sliver off (more or less…heavy on the more), and sampling the taste. I was sure to take detailed notes that would come in handy while writing my review.
The first thing I sampled was the Pikes Peak Cookie, which is a gluten-free oatmeal, walnut and chocolate chip cookie. I don’t think my taste buds were fully prepared for what was happening. The cookie was absolutely wonderful, forcing me to alter my plan of cutting a “sliver,” and instead eating the entire cookie. Having been gluten-free for some time now, I have had my share of cookies that have looked good to the naked eye, but then end up hard, crumbly, and disappointing. Folks, that is NOT the story with the Yumbana Shoppe’s Pikes Peak Cookie. The cookie was moist, had the perfect blend of gluten-free oatmeal, walnut, and chocolate chips, and gave me all the hope I need for the gluten-free future that lies ahead of me.
After I failed to practice my self control with the cookie, I moved onto the Mt. Elbert Muffins – a chocolate, banana, walnut and chocolate chip masterpiece. The first thought that ran through my head as I ate my so-called “sliver” was, “I don’t need a birthday cake this year…all I need is a warm Mt. Elbert muffin with a candle stuck in it.” The muffin was fluffy and moist, and I didn’t even need a drink to go with it (like you would usually need with a gluten-free treat). I also prefer to think that the muffin was somewhat healthy since it had banana in it, so I suggest you do the same.
Next up on the roster was Yumbana’s Mt. Evans Muffin – a banana, walnut, chocolate chip blend of heaven. All I could think of, as I chewed in bliss, was that this muffin was the gluten-free version of the most amazing banana nut bread I had ever tasted. Also, when you heat up the muffin for just 15 seconds, the chocolate melts as you pull it apart. Seriously, it was just glorious. I wish this greatness on every gluten-free person in the world.
Now, seeing how amazing I thought the Mt. Evans Muffin was, it was going to be a tough act to follow, but the Mt. Princeton pumpkin and pecan muffin stood its own ground. As I cut off a piece of the muffin to try, I was very excited to see if it would measure up. Pumpkin muffins always had a special place in my heart because they were always one of my favorite Fall baked goods, as my mom always made them for us growing up. We have made gluten-free pumpkin muffins the past few years, and not to sound like a Debbie Downer, but they just didn’t taste the same as the real, gluten-filled thing. But, good thing Yumbana puts the “YUM” in gluten-free, because this muffin was fantastic! It was soft and warm; I felt like a kid eating my mom’s fresh muffins right out of the oven! The Mt. Princeton muffin had the perfect amount of spice, and the little pecans were a little treat in each bite. No offense to my mom’s baking, but thanks to these muffins, I now know her baking will just never measure up.
The final muffin in the lineup was the Mt. Lincoln Muffin – a blend of carrot, raisin, and walnut. I knew that this one would be my mom’s favorite, since she’s in L-O-V-E with carrot cake. I am not too partial to the whole “veggie-flavored” cake business, but with what I had tasted up to this point, I knew I would like it. The muffin of course had the same moistness that the others had, and was blended perfectly with the carrots, raisins, and walnuts. My mom loved the muffin (just as I expected her to), and since I’m such a lovely daughter, I will let her have the three Mt. Lincoln Muffins that are currently in the freezer waiting for that perfect “I really need a muffin” morning.
As wonderful as these five treats were, the fun did not stop here…but I had to. A girl can only handle so many muffins before she feels like she’s getting her own “muffin top.” That being said, I took a break, and decided I would sample the remaining two products – the Mt. Sneffels lemon coffee cake, and the Mt. of the Holy Cross crumble cake, at a later date.
About a week later, as I was waking up on a beautiful Sunday morning, I thought to myself, “I sure could use a Yumbana Shoppe coffee cake for breakfast,” and quickly hopped out of bed. I made my way to the kitchen, heated the muffin up for a brief 15 seconds, cut it in half, and told my mom breakfast was served!
We each had half of the muffin and were both in bliss. The other products I had sampled were straight from the box, but I had frozen this coffee cake, thawed it, and was worried the product would not be as good…I was wrong. The coffee cake was still very moist, and the crumble topping was to die for! My mom put butter on her half, but I felt no need to do so, and enjoyed the muffin in its natural, Yumbana form.
The final goodie to try was the Mt. of the Holy Cross sour cream, raspberry crumble cake, which I dove into just a few hours later.
O.M.G. It was the BEST gluten-free treat I have EVER tasted.
Once again, this had been frozen for a period of time, but it lost none of its amazing-ness. It was moist, rich, and I couldn’t stop eating it. The layer of raspberry was sweet and good (but obviously still healthy, acting as my serving of fruit…right?). The top of the crumble cake had gluten-free oats, and I was literally eating them by the spoonful as they fell off the top of the cake.
I initially cut a slice of the cake, thinking I would save the rest for later, but that didn’t happen. Sometimes you have to ignore that little voice in your head that says, “Slow down, this isn’t your last meal,” and just go hog-wild (which I did). This is hands down the best gluten-free baked good creation I have ever tasted. I recommend this to anyone and everyone that has functioning taste buds.
I think you can tell by this review that these products are stellar. I have been ranting and raving, and if I were you I would be jealous that I didn’t get this box of goodies at my doorstep. Sadly, that’s just how the cookie (or muffin) crumbles. Don’t shoot the messenger, just listen to my message: Order your own Yumbana Shoppe goodies now!
But, after all these kind words, I do have one criticism. Not that it would have stopped me, or made me think twice about eating half a crumble cake in one sitting, but there were no calorie amounts listed on the products. As I said, this wouldn’t have stopped me, but it is something to think about. I don’t think any of us eat muffins, cake, and cookies on a daily basis, seeing as they are meant to be “treats,” but it is still nice to know just how many calories are in those few slices of heaven.
Either way, I’m still going to enjoy every second of the food I still have to eat. I won’t care about how many calories are in my muffin/cookie/crumble cake, because in that moment in time, nothing else will matter except how happy my taste buds are.