Sunday, March 29, 2015

2 Icelandic packaged cookies


Fittingly for a Giant Cookie, the name of this one is quite a mouthful (true of many things in Iceland), but my Google Translate skills reveal its meaning to be something along the lines of "Chocolate bit cake". I am beginning to think Icelandic does not have a word for cookie.

This was actually the fourth and final Giant Cookie I purchased in Iceland. I would have been content with the three others (two of which I have already reviewed), but my boyfriend wanted to get rid of some of his coins, so he passed this cookie into my hands at a gas station and told me to pay for it wisely. I usually don't go for all-chocolate cookies (I prefer a variety of flavors) but I'm glad he picked this one, because it was yummy!

The middle was really soft and rich, almost like brownie batter. The outside was just a tad more crunchy than I prefer, but I got over that quickly, because it still tasted awesome.

This cookie weighed 90 g and cost 249 kr. (or 1.83$), so it cost 2.03¢ per gram.

The Bottom Line

Taste:5 out of 5 stars
Texture:4 out of 5 stars
Price:2 out of 5 stars


This chocolate candy cookie was the first cookie I bought in Iceland and the last one I ate. I saved it because it looked the most delicious. Sadly, I was mistaken.

Unlike the other cookies, which pretty much uniformly tasted incredible (I like to think that's because they were made with Icelandic butter, which was so rich it almost reminded me of cheese), this one was only "okay," and reminded me of nothing so much as your standard gas-station packaged cookie.

It did not perform well on the crumble test, spattering bits of itself everywhere when I broke it, and being, overall, a bit too dry. Towards the center it was softer and chewier, but still didn't hold together well.

It had the familiar rich taste of the other Icelandic cookies, but it finished with a slightly dusty aftertaste, which was quite a disappointment.

In case you were wondering, I wasn't so successful at translating the name of this one. "Nammi" apparently means candy, but "Klatti" was not recognized by Google. Maybe there is an Icelandic word for cookie after all, and it just hasn't made it into the dictionary yet!

In any case...

The Bottom Line

Taste:3 out of 5 stars
Texture:2 out of 5 stars
Price:2 out of 5 stars

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Kolaportið (where I purchased the last cookie I reviewed) is the largest flea market in Iceland. So it's only fitting that that's where I found the largest Giant Cookie I've ever reviewed.

The label on this head-sized confection says "Glassúrterta," which Google Translate tells me means something like "frosted cake," but it looks like a cookie, and, upon eating it, I can confirm that it tastes like a cookie. At a whopping 510 grams, for the 600 króna (converting to about $4.42) I paid for it, it also is the best-value Giant Cookie I've ever reviewed, at only .86¢ per gram!

See my hand for a point of comparison.
Since this cookie was not one that I could consume in one sitting, no matter how much I dislike leaving things unfinished, I cut myself a nice wedge of it as though it were a pie. Crumbs fell everywhere. As I was breaking off my signature bite-sized pieces, more crumbs fell. So failing the Crumble Test is the first shortcoming of this confection.

If you are to examine this cookie from the side, you'd see that it is actually 3 layers of cookie with some kind of red filling between them and a crystallized thin layer of frosting on top. My first bite revealed the delicious taste of strawberry and the crunch of seeds, so it must be jam in between the layers.

I liked the way the extremely sweet jam countered the less-sweet taste of the bread. But if I had to find fault, I would say that even with this clever balancing act going on, the cookie might have been just a tad too sweet.

Although the cookie was chewy, it was a tiny bit too airy. I would have been happy with a smaller, more solid cookie. However, if you can get past that and the failing of the Crumble Test, the mix of other textures within it was very satisfying. The chewiness of the bread, the slight crunch of the frosting, the delightful novelty of mystery seeds—after eating a few of them, I realized they were far too chewy and large to have come from strawberry, so I have no idea what kind of jam this cookie was actually made of....If it had only held together a little better, it would have earned 5 stars.

The Bottom Line

Taste:4 out of 5 stars
Texture:4 out of 5 stars
Price:5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chocolate chunk cookie from Reykjavik

Last week, my boyfriend and I visited Iceland. It was a spectacular place filled with giant waterfalls, giant intercontinental rift zones, giant trolls, and yes, Giant Cookies! Over the next few days, I'll be sharing reviews of the cookies in the order I eat them (and soon, in case you're curious about the giant trolls, I'll probably also be posting pictures).

The first Giant Cookie is a relatively unassuming chocolate chunk cookie I found at a flea market.

Although I didn't have the opportunity to weigh it (being almost 3000 miles away from my postal scale), I estimated it to be at least as heavy as bagged cookies I bought on my journey, which were 90g each. So let's be generous and call it 100 grams. For 350 krona, it cost 2.59¢ a gram—about average in price.

But in taste, it was superlative. From the delicious caramelized flavor, to the generous amount of chocolate, to the slight external crunch and chewy interior, this cookie had everything a Cookie Connoisseur could want.

The Bottom Line

Taste:5 out of 5 stars
Texture:5 out of 5 stars
Price:3 out of 5 stars

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Goldilocks and the many houses

One can only live in the same house for so long before one starts to grow slowly crazy about the little things that aren't quite right—the lack of external electricity, the broken satellite dish that has marred the roof since one moved in, the lawn that one would really like to replace with any kind of mow-free groundcover, the horrible couch that looks like it survived the 19th century and feels like a torture device.

But alas, one is not about to spend one's hard-earned money on anything less than one's "permanent" home, so one tolerates it all. Sort of.

Still, it gnaws at one...the gate that doesn't latch, the attic that lacks stairs, the living room floor that needs refinishing, the poorly placed drain that covers the driveway with a sheet of ice every winter.... It is hard for a perfectionist to live in someone else's house, with so many things one is powerless to change. So one begins to ponder, in the spare moments one has here and there, whether one might buy a house of one's own.

I've been searching for houses for well on six years—basically even before I moved into the one I rent now. Obviously, the going's been slow—I'm not going to spend the rest of my life paying for something unless I absolutely love it, and for a perfectionist like me, there is very little out there to absolutely love. When I go house-hunting, I feel like Goldilocks trying out chairs or porridge—this one's too expensive, this one's too small, this one's too far from Metro, this one smells like a dog...

With so many exacting criteria, my success in this mission has been sporadic at best. Once every few months or so, I see a listing that might do. I've even gotten pre-approved for a mortgage once or twice, but my pre-approval always expires before I find anything even worth checking out. But in the past few weeks, I've upped my game. My boyfriend and I ran across a realtor who's actually interested in finding me a house, rather than just selling the one and only listing I inquired about. She's shown us several places already and I am beginning to feel like this might actually be the year I take the plunge!

The thought of buying a house is scary. How much can I afford? How much is actually worth paying for? Will I inadvertently buy a money pit? Will I actually be happy once I move in? The more I learn, the more doubts I have. Now that I think about it, I might be suffering from fear of commitment. Maybe I'm happy enough where I am.What do you think?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookie from Pete's Apizza

Woe to the Giant Cookie lover who happens to be standing at the register too long at Pete's New Haven Style Apizza. She will surely get sucked into buying a dessert.

In this case, I was waiting for my boyfriend to change his order after his first choice was unavailable, and I was tempted by the unusual concept of a flourless cookie.

This particular flourless cookie was 80 grams and cost 2 dollars. That made it 2.5¢ a gram, which is high for a Giant Cookie, but par for the course when it comes to gluten-free baked goods. And I'm pretty sure being flourless makes this one gluten free.

It was nice and soft to eat, and being a peanut butter cookie, it was unsurprisingly peanut buttery. It had some chocolate and peanut butter chips to give it a little more oomph than your average homogeneous cookie, but they were unfortunately very soft. I feel like this cookie might have been improved if I'd eaten it cold.

The Bottom Line

Taste:4 out of 5 stars
Texture:3 out of 5 stars
Price:2 out of 5 stars