This King Cake mix from Mam Papaul's has everything you need to make a cake that serves 18 people, including a tiny plastic baby.
'Mixed Review' on Serious Eats
Show me a dessert that's ready in five minutes and I'll show you my happy dance. Upgrade that dessert to a warm chocolate cake I can make with only a whisk, mug, microwave, and milk and you'll get some extra wiggling. Sell it for $1.50/serving and I'm pretty much your best friend—provided it actually tastes good.
Like Leandra Palermo, Serious Eats' resident cereal obsessive, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme is one of my favorite chocolate bars. When I saw a box of Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Cookie Mix ($2.99), it was as if the supermarket's harsh fluorescents transformed to a soft white light, and the muzak pumped over the sound-system momentarily changed to a chorus of sweetly singing angels. Clearly, I had to try it.
Do these gluten-free brownies taste as good as the original? We found out.
The good: these muffins are a mildly sweet, surprisingly balanced boxed treat. The bad: that means they don't taste like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Whew! With all these seasonal activities, I can see how someone would need to turn to a shortcut to get their sweets on the Halloween party table. How someone might pick up a box of Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix because they saw the words Quick Bread and thought, oh man, the original recipe for that is definitely not quick enough. Luckily, there are quite a few options on the market, including just such a mix from Crate and Barrel, where you might already be shopping for some faux gourds, pumpkin candle holders, or scary mugs.
Williams Sonoma has introduced 5 new mixes: Ranger Cookies, Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Chocolate Marshmallow Crinkles, Sugar Cookies, and Gluten-free Sugar Cookies. In an attempt to fool the universe, I forewent my first choice (Toffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies) and even my second (Marshmallow Crinkles) and went for Ranger Cookies. Here's how it worked out.
There are five varieties of the new cupcake mix: vanilla bean, coconut, chocolate, meyer lemon, and red velvet ($14.95/mix). There are also four premade frostings: vanilla bean, meyer lemon, coconut, and chocolate ($19.95/24-ounce jar). I decided to try one standard mix (vanilla bean) and one of what I will call the "special flavors" (red velvet) as well as the frosting that could go on any of the cupcakes: vanilla bean.
From common courtesy if nothing else, I knew I had to make the mix. So I rolled up my sleeves and quieted my fears that these scones would be of the same ilk as the lame, confused, meaty-sweet treats that gave the bacon trend its death knell.
I used to baby sit. A lot. While most moms were more than happy to let me destroy their kitchen in the name of homemade, organic baked goods, some didn't have the requisite supplies (not even flour) and they didn't really want me to have to go out and buy them. To compensate, they'd give me a box or two of cake/cookie/muffin mix and a sixer of eggs.
One thing I've never understood: cummerbunds. Another thing I've never understood: pancake mix. As you can see, I thought I easily had my plate full with life's mysteries. Then during a routine purchase of one slotted spoon at Crate and Barrel, I spotted a canister of The Barefoot Contessa's French Crepe Mix, and everything unraveled again.
Christina Tosi's ingenious desserts, like crack pie and cereal milk ice cream, have earned her fame and fortune, and have catapulted Momofuku Milk Bar to the top of the bakery It List (move over, Magnolia). So when we heard she was teaming up with Williams-Sonoma to create a line of cookie mixes based on Milk Bar's top sellers, we couldn't wait to try them. How would the at-home versions compare to the real thing?
Chocolate and peppermint are a classic holiday flavor combination, and what could be more indulgent than rich, fudgy brownies topped with a layer of white chocolate peppermint bark? But as festive as the Stonewall Kitchen Peppermint Bark Brownie Mix was, at $15.95 it also seemed exorbitantly expensive. Could it really be worth the cost?
People tend to give me a lot of baking mixes because I write this column. When they see a mix, they think of me. Every year on my birthday and for the holidays, I can count on getting at least one—for pancakes, cookies, cupcakes, and once even for huevos rancheros. Some I use immediately, while others languish on the shelf. It got me thinking: what makes a mix good for giving?
Chocolate mousse is a deceptively heavy dessert. It tastes all fluffy and light, but in reality it is laden with cream, butter, and eggs. For this reason, I save it for special occasions. But Jell-O recently introduced Temptations Chocolate Mousse Decadence Mix with only 110 calories per serving. I was curious—could it satisfy my craving for a creamy, airy, chocolaty dessert?
The best Thanksgiving bread baskets are a mélange of flavors and textures: tender Parker House rolls, crumbly cornbread, cakey pumpkin bread, and flaky biscuits. But who has time to bake all that in addition to making the turkey, sides, and pies? Fortunately, there are a number of top-notch baking mixes out there that would be a welcome addition to any holiday feast.
I don't often prepare carb-heavy meals for dinner. Most nights, I'm happy with a giant salad and some simply roasted fish or chicken. But in the late fall when the temperature drops, I start craving things like pasta, mashed potatoes, heaping bowls of couscous, and above all else, risotto.
I'm a sucker for granola bars that taste more like candy than anything healthy. You know the type—loaded with peanut butter and chocolate chips. So I was enticed by the notion of a granola cookie bar, described on the box as "part rich, chewy granola bar, part fresh-baked oatmeal cookie."
Whenever I am in a gas station, corner deli, or mini-mart, I'm always a little bit temped by the display of snack cakes by the cash register. Or, more specifically, I'm tempted by the Hostess Cupcakes, with their gooey, marshmallow-creamy centers. Betty Crocker's new FUN da-Middles chocolate cupcake mix with vanilla filling bears a striking resemblance to Hostess. But would the taste compare?
Target isn't generally thought of as a place to buy food. But in fact, most Target stores have huge grocery sections stocked with just about everything you would find in a conventional supermarket (except produce). They even have their own line of baking mixes called Archer Farms. With Halloween upon us, it's a great time to try out their Monster Cookie Mix, loaded with oatmeal, peanuts, raisins, and chocolate candies.