Ever wonder about a mix you've seen in the store? Is it any good? Could it replace something you'd otherwise make from scratch? Welcome to Mixed Review, where the whole point is putting mixes to the test! —The Mgmt.


[Photo: Lucy Baker]

Gluten-free baking mixes have been available for a long time at health food and specialty stores, but it's only recently that everyday supermarkets have gotten into the game. Betty Crocker now has a line of easy, inexpensive, and readily available gluten free mixes. This week I baked a batch of the chocolate chip cookies.

What's in the mix? It's a combination of rice flour, potato starch, and potato flour, plus sugar and chocolate chips. To prepare the cookie dough, I first beat together one egg, one stick of softened butter, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract (be sure to use gluten-free vanilla if you are gluten intolerant!). Then I added the mix and stirred it with a wooden spoon until it began to come together.

20110612-155918-gluten-free-chocolate-chip-3.jpgIt's worth noting that this mix is extremely crumbly. It doesn't form a cohesive dough so much as a bowlful of wet sand. In order to form individual cookies I had to scoop out spoonfuls of dough and pack them together with my hands. That said, I tried a bite and it had the same guilty pleasure cookie dough flavor as regular mixes.

After a quick ten minutes in the oven my cookies looked perfect. The centers had mounds of molten chocolate chips, and the edges were thin, crispy, and golden brown. But much like the dough, the cookies were extremely crumbly and fragile. One even broke in half just because it was slightly off kilter on top of the pile.

Flavor-wise, the cookies were very good but not spectacular. What I liked best was the hint of salt on the finish, which complemented the chocolate chips and brought out the brown butter flavor of the cookies. But the texture, as with many gluten-free baked goods, was off. The cookies were slightly coarse and mealy. They lacked any tenderness or gooey moisture. Ultimately I would recommend these cookies only if you are really allergic to gluten and desperate for a junk food fix.


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