Reviewer’s Note: Product samples discussed here were provided at no cost in exchange for my honest review.
Visit the website for The Protein Bakery, and the chief notion you’re likely to carry away from it (apart perhaps from being impressed by the wealth of product variety in its repertoire) is that the establishment and its proprietor are all about balance; both establishing and maintaining it. That pursuit, the elusive balance between food that tastes good and food that is good for you, is the driving force behind the small-batch baked goods it’s been producing since the establishment opened in 1999. Crafted with nutrition in mind, its sweets are certified Dairy Kosher, free of wheat and preservatives, and teeming with dietary fiber and whey protein. I enjoyed a recent opportunity to sample its wares in the form of its Healthy Lover’s Gift Set.
The Healthy Lover’s Gift Set offers up an extensive and attractively packaged selection of flavors and textures. It features a dozen assorted two-count cookie packages, as well as six individually-wrapped brownies and blondies that combine various flavors and all-natural ingredients.
As with any assortment of goods, some products in this extensive sweets arrangement had advantages over others in terms of impressive or notable attributes. Some items, like the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie, were merely fair; never unpleasant, but neither outstanding. A white-chipped version of the same cookie, though it achieved a welcome firm and chewy texture that never felt dense, carried less of the inner moistness I enjoyed in some of its fruit-, chocolate-, and peanut butter-laden counterparts. Still pleasing enough, but not remarkable in any particular way.
Having said that, I found multiple standout items in the Healthy Lover’s Gift Set that exceeded my expectations. Among these were the Lemon White Chip Blondie, redolent immediately upon tearing into the package, with the perfume of fresh lemon zest. Soft, almost cake-like texture and moistness are traits that it shares with the Chocolate Chip Brownie, a bittersweet square that carries the richness of dark chocolate and exotic cinnamon from nose to palate in a manner that makes finishing the entire thing a foregone conclusion.
The Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie, impressed me with its aromatics full of fruit and vanilla, and for being so loaded with sweet dried cranberries and whole oats that not one bite lacked for their presence. The Breakfast Cookie is another sweet that wafts with fragrant cinnamon-led baking spices, its chewy firmness threatening to burst with flavorful nuts, raisins, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. As for moistness and feeling full and satisfied afterward, however, the crown goes to The Protein Bakery’s peanut butter-led goods. Its Peanut Butter Cookie smells like peanuts and brown sugar, and tastes like fresh-baked childhood kitchen adventures. The Peanut Butter White Chocolate Chip Cookie and Peanut Butter Brownie are robust, aromatic affairs made doubly creamy by the respective presences of the white chips and Dutch cocoa working with the peanut butter’s smoothness.
The marriage of natural ingredients and muscle-building protein to create sweets that are tasty (and perhaps most importantly, satisfying) is one that doesn’t come along every day. Having experienced that union firsthand, it feels safe to say that at finding the most crucial balance for a purveyor of foods—that struck between beneficial nutritional content and desirable flavors—The Protein Bakery not only succeeds, but excels.
Learn more about the Healthy Lovers’ Gift Set and the entire gamut of fresh, high-protein sweets produced by this NYC-based bakeshop at ProteinBakery.com.
This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.
[Top image: Anthony Beal / /FlavorfulWorld.com]