Mainstream baking icon Betty Crocker is now hip to the gluten-free community with the company's introduction of four new GF baking mixes now appearing on local grocery shelves. I was approached by Betty's marketing reps to see if I would be interested in reviewing their wares. They sent me a nice package containing one box each of:
• Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
• Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix
• Gluten Free Brownie Mix
• Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
• Two coupons for any of the varieties
• Reusable grocery tote bag with magnetic grocery list and pen
The company even offered to make an additional prize package of all of the above available to one of my Crispy Cook readers, so be sure to read the end of this post to find out how to enter this giveaway.
I was happy to see that the mixes are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, so there is no concern about cross-contamination that plagues so many other packaged goods. We GF shoppers know how to scan an ingredient list quickly and the list of ingredients is blessedly normal-looking and doesn't contain an arm-long list of preservatives or things that sound like they belong on the periodic table of elements. The mixes primarily use white rice flour and you add butter, vanilla, water or oil. I was able to buy the chocolate chip cookie mix and brownie mix at my local Hannaford supermarket and hopefully other local markets will be carrying these and the other two GF varieties soon. The price was $3.38, which is reasonable for convenience product and certainly for a GF product.
Each of the mixes was easy and quick to bake up, so they are great for whipping up quick treats for the wheatless ones in our lives or when you need a fast dish to bring to a friend's house. I made a batch of brownies first and they were part of our July 4th party spread. We didn't alert any non-GF revelers to the fact that they were gluten-free, and they were scarfed up rather quickly during the dessert hour. I did corral a few ahead of time for my celiac husband Dan and he enjoyed their fudginess.
Next up was the chocolate chip cookie mix. I have made various chocolate chip cookie recipes from scratch for Dan in the past several years, but he enjoyed this batch very much and declared them the best he'd tasted since joining the GF tribe. I myself found them a little gritty, perhaps from the rice flour, but Dan was in cookie heaven, so I'll be buying this mix again to keep on hand.
We tried the Devil's Food Cake mix when next my family needed a chocolate fix and this was tasty with some homemade buttercream frosting. For those who enjoy the convenience of ready-made frosting, the Betty Crocker GF Products website notes that by Fall 2009, all frostings will be designated as Gluten Free. The website also has some recipes for fancier desserts utilizing the GF mixes and has other information about product location, no-butter variations and other tidbits that may be of interest.
Finally, we had to try the Yellow Cake Mix. My crew wanted cupcakes, so I produced a batch (my cupcake tins are kind of small, so I ended up with 18 cupcakes instead of the 12 noted on the box). They were very light and homemade tasting, with none of the grittiness I noticed with the chocolate chip cookies, so again I was impressed with this product line.
Overall, I can enthusiastically recommend these four Betty Crocker GF baking mixes. They tasted very fresh and did not have that chemical tang I sometimes detect in packaged mixes. The texture problems on my end with the chocolate chip cookies were more than overcompensated by my hubby's delighted devouring of the same. The price of the product is reasonable, the availability should only increase since the GF baking line was introduced in American supermarkets this past June and the ease of reaching for a baking mix when the cook needs to come up with a quick treat all add up to a great product. Thanks Betty!
Now for the fun part: the giveaway! All you need to do is leave a comment below by the deadline of August 15, 2009 (midnight Eastern Standard Time)to enter the giveaway for this great tote bag full of Betty Crocker GF items listed above. This giveaway is limited to readers living in the United States only, however. I will randomly pick a winner from the comments below and contact you for your shipping address so the Betty Crocker Company can send your package of goodies to you.
Good luck everyone!