Brie Larson Loves These Gluten-, Grain-, and Sugar-Free Cookies, and They're Surprisingly Not Trash
There are few things I believe more strongly in than treating yourself to dessert as often as you please. In my eyes, sweets — including those some people might consider to be "junk food" — are an essential component of living a joyful life. That's why I spend my time scouting out the best knock-off Oreo, whipping up batches of homemade ice cream, and perfecting my pumpkin bread recipe.
So when I heard about HighKey's Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies (Buy It, $13 for 3, amazon.com), which claim to "taste just like your childhood snack, but without all the added junk," I was admittedly skeptical. How could tiny, keto-friendly cookies that are free of gluten, grains, and sugar not taste like a cardboard box? But if Brie Larson loved these cookies enough to feature them in a vlog of her "current favorite things," I decided they were probably decent enough to test myself.
Folks, I'm here to report that the treats are almost a carbon copy of Chips Ahoy! Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies (Buy It, $2, target.com). Just like the OG cookie, the quarter-sized HighKey snacks have a raw cookie dough scent and a powdery exterior that leaves granules all over your fingers, so make sure to have a napkin handy. In the mouth, though, the texture is anything but gritty; the almond flour-based cookies crumble with every bite and hit your tastebuds with a pronounced sweet, buttery flavor. (I did find there to be a slightly bitter aftertaste, but that's certainly not enough to get me to stopping eating them.) While the teeny size of the treats doesn't make them suitable for dunking in chilled milk, all hope isn't lost: Larson pointed out in her YouTube video that her boyfriend, Elijah Allan-Blitz, discovered the cookies are top-notch when poured into a bowl with milk a la cereal. "It's keto Cookie Crisp," she explains. Truly genius. (The cookies would likely also taste phenomenal on top of these keto milkshakes.)
So, what makes a cookie void of all things delicious in life actually palatable? HighKey swaps the traditional table sugar with three types of sweeteners. The first, erythritol, is a sugar alcohol that's calorie-free, doesn't raise blood sugar levels, and, unlike other sugar alcohols, typically doesn't cause any digestive upset or discomfort, Keri Gans, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N, a registered dietitian nutritionist, previously told Shape. The additional sweeteners, Stevia and monk fruit extracts, are both plant-derived, zero-calorie sugar substitutes that don't cause significant increases in blood glucose levels, according to research. Translation: You'll get to enjoy the classic sweetness of a chocolate chipper without experiencing a sugar high — and subsequent crash.
Thanks to the erythritol and the addition of fibrous inulin (an ingredient derived from chicory root), the HighKey snacks also have just 1 gram of net carbs — the carbohydrates in food that can be absorbed by your body and that have an impact on your blood sugar levels. FTR, nutrition experts say there's no real need for the average person to pay attention to net carbs. However, it can be worthwhile for people with type II diabetes as well as athletes or individuals following the keto diet, as spikes in blood sugar can throw you out of ketosis, the state in which your body uses fat, not stored glucose, as fuel. (For the complete breakdown of net carbs and how they're calculated, look to this guide.)
While I can't say how they compare to other keto cookies on the market, the 31,000-plus Amazon shoppers who gave the HighKey snacks a five-star rating seem to have deemed them the best of the bunch. Reviewers say the Mini Chocolate Chip cookies "don't have the chalky taste that a lot of [other keto cookies] do," don't have a "funky texture," and are tasty enough that you could "serve these to someone [who's] not on a low- or no- sugar diet, and they wouldn't know the difference." To sum it up, it's "a cookie that has crisp and doesn't taste like chocolate-flavored cardboard," wrote one reviewer.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with sticking with traditional gluten-filled, sugary chocolate chip cookies if that's what warms your stomach and heart. As a dessert die-hard, I can practically guarantee that I'll always choose the gooey, wheat-based version over HighKey's, if given the option. All that's to say just eat the damn cookie — whatever it looks like for you.