July 2, 2013

Two Westchester women are paving the way for a healthier cookie option

Debra Holstein, left, and Debbie Barnwell from The 4:00 Cookie Company hold a selection of cookies for sale at Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown. / John Meore/The Journal News


Timing is everything. So when Debra Holstein had an idea to make a healthy, low-glycemic but great-tasting cookie to satisfy late-day cravings, the name 4 o’clock cookie made sense.

Today, The 4:00 Cookie, as it’s officially packaged, is an “extraordinary oatmeal raisin cookie,” made at a test kitchen in Mamaroneck. It comes in under 200 calories and has a delicious taste and wholesome ingredients, but a low sugar and low glycemic index so that an initial craving doesn’t turn into another craving.

It’s available in six varieties, each made with a special blend of slow-release whole grains, along with whole wheat flour, rolled oats, flaxseeds and nuts, plus low-glycemic coconut flower sugar for sweetness.

“The way we screw up our day is when we get out of control,” says Holstein, who lives in Tarrytown and is the mother of three grown children. “The afternoon hour can be a real bewitching time for many of us, in particular women.”

When the late afternoon craving strikes around 3 or 4 p.m., we eat the wrong thing, says Holstein, usually something with white sugar or flour, which only spikes our blood sugar and makes us want to eat more. “And so, my initial thought was how I can come up with a gourmet food that’s delicious and satisfying and puts a period to the end of our craving so we’re not diving into a bag of M&Ms five minutes later.”

Knowing the food business — she worked as a consultant at Nabisco and Unilever — she contacted a few recipe developers, gave them all of her parameters and did a lot of tasting.

“I did not want a mediocre cookie,” she says.

After the addition of some snappy packaging and a partner — Deborah Barnwell, who owned the high-end shop Panache in Rye for 28 years — the cookies debuted in April. Flavors include Wild Blueberry Almond; Cranberry Trail Mix; Cherry, Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut; Chocolate Cherry; Fig, Dark Chocolate and Coconut and Chocolate Macadamia Crunch. There are plans for an after-school snack line and an 8 a.m. muffin.

“All of the stores we approached loved the concept,” says Barnwell, who admits it only took one taste to be convinced her friend Holstein was onto something.

“I loved the whole concept of a wholesome treat, no preservatives just pure ingredients,” she says. “One bite was all it took.”


Source: Lohud.com July 1, 2013 written by Jeanne Muchnick

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