Kent’s WOW Baking Company Serves Up Tasty (Yes, Tasty!) Wheat- and Gluten-free Cookies

Good wheat- and gluten-free cookies fall into the same category as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny—

Good wheat- and gluten-free cookies fall into the same category as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny—something you want to believe in but at a certain point may have to give up on. All that changed when WOW (WithOut Wheat) Baking came on the scene. Its line of cookies and brownies made with all-natural ingredients, now lauded by gluten-intolerant sweets lovers across the country, started out in 2005 as a science experiment of sorts. Owner Joy Page’s then business partner was diagnosed with celiac disease and began formulating a recipe for cookies that would adhere to her dietary restrictions. Page, who owned Seattle-based New York Cupcakes at the time, agreed to help fund the fledgling company. When Page became sole owner of WOW in 2008, her oldest child was in preschool, and she remembers being astonished at the lack of snacks available for children with food allergies. She saw an untapped market, and the rest is gluten-free history. The cookies (about $4 for an 8-ounce box) are distributed across the U.S. and Canada, delighting customers with flavors and textures difficult to replicate in wheat- and gluten-free varieties, such as snickerdoodle, although we’re also partial to peanut butter, Oregon Oatmeal and seasonal favorites Lemon Burst and Pumpkin Spice. WOW Baking’s cookies and brownies (brownies are about $9 per six-pack) are available at most specialty grocery stores in the Seattle area, including Whole Foods, PCC and Central Markets. Page credits WOW’s success to the fact that her cookies aren’t just enjoyed by people with food allergies. “These are fantastic cookies.…They just happen to be wheat and gluten free,” she says. So what’s the best part of owning a cookie company? “Making a difference in someone’s life,” says Page. “We receive thousands of e-mails from customers who, because of gluten intolerance, thought they would never eat a ‘real’ cookie again.”