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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rustic Bakery Cookies Deliver a Bit of Fresh Biscotti

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Biscotti are tough for me, literally. The twice-baked cookie almost always comes off as overly stale, and the need to dip it into coffee just to make it a lower risk to my teeth has never appealed. Occasionally, and usually in Italy, I'll bite upon a biscotti that's freshly made, often from a "mama" nearby, and is still relatively tender. That's when I find my cookie contentment.

Now my travels across California can have a similar bite. Larkspur-based Rustic Bakery has two cookie-cracker hybrids which bring a bit of fresher-tasting biscotti to the table.

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The Almond & Cacao Nib Sticks call out from the bag to be crunched. Crackers can wait patiently on the shelf till the need arises, but these want to be eaten now.

They are softer than biscotti but still crisp, with nice butter notes, the obligatory element of almond and capricious chocolate-like flavors. There are even a few savory notes.

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The Chocolate Cacao Nib Bars are thick (hence bar vs. stick), softer than the stick, and have a perfect tooth. They're almost crumbly, definitely delicate, so much so that it's surprising they can handle shipment to the store undamaged.

They are extra rich, like a very good double chocolate cookie. The touch of salt on the finish spikes the favor pleasantly with a stronger note of cacao coming through alongside the chocolate and salt.

Sticks and bars are $5.50 a bag and available in at Rainbow Grocery, Bi-Rite Market and select Whole Foods Markets.

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Ben Narasin

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