Tasty Bakery review: the sweetness of gluten-free

A tempting stack of Tasty Bakery's cookies. Vegan and gf on the bottom; just gluten-free on the top.
A tempting stack of Tasty Bakery’s cookies. Vegan and gf on the bottom; gluten-free on the top.

Finding delicious, satisfying treats when eating gluten-free or vegan can be like a scavenger hunt. But discovering Tasty Bakery tucked among the produce stalls at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market’s is like discovering a treasure trove: rich brownies, chewy cookies, and other seasonal treats. Baker Julie Rabinovitz, who has Celiac’s, has been crafting gluten-free sweets since 2009. A great blend of wheat-free flours make the taste and texture of these snacks first rate. Plus, there’s the personal, local touch: email them, and the baker will hold goodies for you.

An lovely plate of gluten-free cookies, brownies, berry bars and sugar cookies.
An lovely plate of gluten-free cookies, brownies, berry bars and sugar cookies.

Chewy, soft, and delicious, the chocolate chip cookies are made with a good quality blend of flours and sweet chocolate. The vegan chocolate chip cookie’s dough has a slightly stronger flavor dough has a stronger flavor, but still, these cookies are soft and not at all crumbly. And honestly, mix up the vegan and dairy cookies, and it’s hard to tell them apart. The peanut butter cookies are rich and chewy, with a wonderful peanut-y flavor. A touch of vanilla and cinnamon makes the oatmeal chocolate cookies both complex and sweet. Dusted with powdered sugar, the vegan snowballs are light and nutty.

From bottom, to the right: vegan snowballs; gluten-free peanut butter cookies; berry bars.
From bottom, to the right: vegan snowballs; gluten-free peanut butter cookies; berry bars.

The brownies are also a delight: I didn’t believe they were both vegan and sugar free until I read the ingredients label. They have all the rich chocolatey goodness of a satisfying brownie. The non-vegan brownies are super rich, almost like fudge. The quality of ingredients really shines through— no carob, no sugar, just good quality sweeteners.

Rosemary sea salt crackers. Mmm.
Rosemary sea salt crackers. Mmm.

The chewy berry bars are just sweet enough, and nicely filling as a snack. Also a delicious snack are the rosemary sea salt crackers, which have a great balance of herb and sea salt. Thick, they’re perfect for dipping in hummus. Also, if you happen to catch the teff bread special, pick up a loaf. Dark and flavorful, a bit like rye, teff makes great sandwiches.

To stay in touch with specials like the teff bread and what will be at the market, follow Tasty Bakery on Facebook. Tasty Bakery has rotating specials, like donuts, and seasonal baked goods, like Hamantaschen for Purim. Cakes and pies are also available for special order.

Tasty Bakery's delicious gluten-free brownie.
Tasty Bakery’s delicious gluten-free brownie.

While a lot of commercial gluten-free bakeries just substitute wheat flour for rice flour, she blends her own. and uses under-appreciated, good quality flours, like sweet brown rice, tapioca, sorghum, and arrowroot, all of which enhance the flavor and texture of her goodies. I’ve used many of those flours in my own baking.

None of Tasty Bakery’s goodies are have issues with crumbling, a problem many wheat-free products have, even commercial ones. And swinging by the farmer’s market is easier than gluten-free baking— sometimes one wants a sweet snack without measuring out four or five types of flour. Besides, it’s great to have the option to buy just a few sweets without having a dozen cookies in your house.

You can find Tasty Bakery at Sweetwaters, Zingerman’s, and Glassbox Coffee, among other Washtenaw County locations. For a complete list, click here.

Next on my list to try are the donuts, which I’ll get when they’re next on special at the farmer’s market.


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