Abie Maltz, proprietor of WeighLess Cookies, is all over the map these days, literally. His cookies have taken the market by storm and are flying off the shelves in Teaneck; Elizabeth, his hometown; West Orange; Monsey; Great Neck; Riverdale and elsewhere. His products are even in stores in Florida and Maryland and are sought after by stores in Chicago and Los Angeles.
What are WeighLess cookies, you ask? A delicious blend of quinoa, flax seeds, chia seeds, millet, brown sugar and other natural ingredients, with a little love thrown in for good measure. You might be wondering how those super healthy-sounding ingredients can come together and make a cookie that is not, well, disgusting. That part is Maltz’ secret, because these cookies are not only healthy, but they taste great.
But why would someone ever think about combining these ingredients into a cookie? Maltz’ path to the world of health food was an interesting one, that started when he finished high school. He comes from a family of pharmacists and, of course, they all assumed that he would follow in their footsteps, which he tried to do. However, the world of pharmaceuticals was not for him and he soon began his next adventure. Maltz started a service called “dial a waiter,” where he provided wait service to hotels and other locations as needed. At the age of 19, he was running a very successful business, until the hotels in the Catskills and Poconos started to go under.
That foray into the culinary world brought him to his next endeavor: culinary school, from which he graduated in 2003. The experience was eye opening for him, as he had never seen nor touched non kosher ingredients before. He learned about non kosher to kosher food conversions, as well as conversions for celiac and other conditions. This led to a stint in the catering world and, in 2007, the opening of his cafe, Nu Cafe 47, located in Boro Park.
The pressures of owning and running a business took a toll on his health, and when his doctor told him he would need to go on a number of different medications, he knew he needed to make some changes. He joined a gym, and spent eight months getting in shape, while at the same time doing research about healthy eating. Simply by eating quinoa muffins that he made with all natural ingredients, he was able to cut his daily calorie count tremendously and still stay full. He managed to bring his levels down and he currently takes no medication at all and is healthier than he’s ever been.
His friends soon found out about his muffins, and he began selling them. They were so successful that friends started to ask if he could somehow turn the muffins into cookies. He tried many combinations of ingredients before finding something that worked. Six years ago he made his first quinoa chocolate chip cookie, and discovered that eating it with a glass of water or cup of tea or coffee would allow him to remain satiated for up to five hours.
The question became how to package them, as the large cookie would frequently break in transit. Finally he decided to make four smaller cookies per package, rather than the one larger cookie, and WeighLess Cookies was born.
Maltz spent time going back and forth to the lab with his creations, making sure the calories were low and the nutritional content high. These cookies provide protein and fiber in large amounts, coupled with smaller, healthy servings of sugar and fat, combining to somehow make a delicious, healthy cookie.
“We added a little bit of everything,” said Maltz. “Eat the cookies with water and the fiber expands to keep you full for hours.”
He has customers who swear by his cookies for satiety and weight loss. In fact, Weight Watchers recently gave his cookies a one point per two cookies value on its program, which means a four cookie package is only two Weight Watchers points, and only 90 calories. According to the WeighLess package, if you eat four cookies with 16 ounces of water you will stay full for over two hours.
Maltz and his wife, Sara, currently make 150 cases of these cookies by hand each week, but he is in talks with a company that will be making him two machines, one for the peanut butter cookies and one for everything else. These machines will allow them to produce much larger quantities in a much shorter span of time.
Maltz has expanded the line and now produces six cookie flavors: quinoa chocolate chip, peanut butter, quinoa marble, quinoa vanilla, buckwheat and buckwheat chocolate chip. All flavors are under the Star K, and are low fat and low carb, pareve/dairy free, gluten free and organic, and all but the peanut butter are nut free. Stay tuned for additional flavors and an expansion of his WeighLess line into other types of foods in the future.
He is in the process of trademarking the name, and in the last four months he has gotten his cookies into 65 stores. “My goal is to be in 300 stores by the end of the year,” Maltz said. It looks like he is well on his way.
For more information on where you can purchase WeighLess cookies, contact Abie Maltz on Facebook at @weighlesscookies, by phone at 718.871.4747 or via email at [email protected], or visit the website at www.weighlesscookies.com.
By Jill Kirsch