'Williams Sonoma' on Serious Eats

Mixed Review: New Williams Sonoma Ranger Cookie Mix

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. More

Mixed Review: New Williams Sonoma All-Natural Cupcake Mixes

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. More

Mixed Review: Williams-Sonoma Salted Caramel Gelato

Forever in pursuit of gelato as luxurious and pure as my first few scoops, I was curious to try out William-Sonoma's new gelato starter mixes. Of the two flavors currently available—Stracciatella and Salted Caramel (each $14)—I opted for the caramel. Before you balk at the price, consider that each box contains enough mix to make four pints of gelato. That's less than $5 a pint, which is roughly how much a carton of Haagen-Dazs or Ben & Jerry's will set you back. More

Mixed Review: Ad Hoc's Fried Chicken Mix

[Photographs: Lucy Baker] The country's gone mad for fried chicken and so far I've kept my mouth shut. Truth be told, I'm a bit of a hater. It all began back in third grade when my class had a family recipe day. I cast my vote for chocolate donut cake (so named because it was baked in a tube pan), but my mother insisted on making the fried chicken she grew up with in Virginia. I remember shaking the raw chicken pieces in a brown paper bag filled with breadcrumbs, and watching safely from across the kitchen as my mom dropped each breast and drumstick into a hissing pot of hot oil. The next day I carried a platter... More

Mixed Review: Williams-Sonoma Cookies and Cream Cake

Like most Williams-Sonoma products, it was expensive. But top-quality food is worth a splurge, and the box promised "real cream flavor" and "the aroma of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor." Sure, making a loaf cake from scratch and dumping in some crushed-up Oreos would be easy. Nonetheless, I was curious to try the mix and thought the robin egg blue box with retro design would make it a nice gift. More

Williams-Sonoma Profit Down 90%

Williams-Sonoma, which also operates Pottery Barn and the West Elm chains, said Tuesday that quarterly profits fell 90 percent, reports the New York Times. They don't expect to see a boost again until the holiday season. Maybe by then people can start justifying that $500 Le Creuset Dutch oven.... More

Mixed Review: Williams-Sonoma Sugarplum Crumble Specialty Bread Mix

Christmas is here, and 'tis the season of splurging—when it comes to both cash and calories. On a recent shopping trip to Williams-Sonoma I couldn't resist picking up a box of this Sugarplum Crumble Specialty Bread Mix, which promised to be "a festive bread studded and swirled with sweet plums and topped with crystallized ginger streusel." The price seemed at little steep at $14.00, but the friendly sales associate persuaded me, with much eye rolling and gesticulation, saying that it was "brand new and absolutely amazing." Since I had offered to bring dessert to an upcoming holiday party, I figured, why not? Bread, loaf cake—what's the difference?... More

Williams-Sonoma and Bialetti's New Hot Chocolate Maker

As winter, with its gray skies, whipping winds, and white Christmases rolls in, all I want at the end of the day (or in the morning when I first wake up, or right now, in the office) is a magically warming and charming and energizing cup of hot chocolate. But it seems like the only way to make one without much effort is to rip open a paper packet of powder. Even Starbucks starts with syrup. But I don't want hot cocoa. I don't want hot chocolate milk. I want hot C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E. Dynamic duo Williams-Sonoma and Bialetti (of espresso pot fame) have co-released the Hot Chocolate Pot. Plug it in, pour in some milk, and add fresh chopped chocolate—or... More

Review of Williams-Sonoma's La Brea Boxed Stuffings

Last year, in our Store-Bought Stuffing Mix Showdown, all the boxed stuffing contestants were priced between $2.49 and $4.99. This year, we decided to defy the recession and test-run Williams-Sonoma's La Brea boxed stuffings, priced at the comparatively astronomical $10 to $12 per box. I tested the two flavors on offer this year: Harvest Blend, with pecans and cranberries, and Classic, with Herbes de Provence and chestnuts. While the Harvest Blend is the pricier of the two at $12, the pecans and cranberries are included in the box, while the recommended roasted chestnuts for the Classic are sold separately at a whopping $16.50 a jar. So how did they fare among our eager Serious Eaters?... More

Is Making Biscuits From A Mix Any Easier Than Making From Scratch?

With all the intense preparation needed for Thanksgiving dinners, a baking mix or sauce mix here and there isn't going to make or break the authenticity of your meal. The key is to use mixes that actually make life easier, rather than ones that complicate your free time. While I may not be preparing a whole meal for the holidays, the least I can do is bring a side dish, or perhaps, a bag of fresh buttermilk biscuits. So when Ed Levine handed me a pack of Organic Southern Buttermilk Biscuit Mix ($10.50 at Williams-Sonoma, at stores only) to try at home, I happily obliged and got to work. The tools necessary: the mix, a stick of unsalted butter,... More

Nostalgia Via King Arthur Flour's Monkey Bread Mix

My mom's version of Monkey Bread; my version from the King Arthur Flour mix Every Christmas morning for as long as I can remember, my mom would make her version of classic Monkey Bread using Pillsbury dough, with at least a stick of butter and a cup of sugar (if not double of both). I have such fond memories of the bread that I set out to recreate it with the King Arthur Flour Classic Monkey Bread Mix ($12.50, williams-sonoma.com) and its accompanying baking mold ($29.95, williams-sonoma.com). This mix is not about saving time or saving calories; start to finish the process was approximately 3 1/2 hours, including waiting time (and lots of cleaning). For a good laugh, I... More

Cooking with Kids: Baby Food Blender

If you're into gadgets and looking to make your own baby purees, Williams-Sonoma is now selling the Beaba Babycook. Pronounced "Bay-OBB-uh," the device has been popular for several years in Europe and is now available in the US. There's a video on the Williams-Sonoma site showing how it works. It's basically a mini-chopper than can steam food before you puree it. The industrial design is tops—with chubby curves and lime-green trim, it looks like a dollhouse accessory, albeit with a sharp blade.... More

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