Not long ago, we came across the Betty Crocker gluten free baking mixes in our local grocery store. Usually, most boxed baking mixes are something which I tend to completely ignore, filled with too many sugars, over processed starches, and lots of other bad ingredients. Not to mention the fact that most of them are not gluten free. To be fair, there are many companies on the market today that are slowly trying to break this stereo type. In fact, many of the largest manufacturers, brands like General Mills, King Arthur Flour, and Betty Crocker, are even coming around to the idea of adding gluten free alternatives to many of their most popular product lines.
Aside from the regular fare which can be found in most grocery stores, brightly colored boxes of white, chocolate, and suspiciously pink colored (strawberry??) cake mix, which will remain nameless, and which are usually not gluten free, there are also several wonderful brands of healthy gluten free mixes on the market — Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free pizza crust, and Pamela’s bread are favorites — which provide a great alternative.
Anyway, after hearing some fairly enthusiastic reviews of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking Mixes, especially the cookie mix with the tempting picture on the box, making you believe that this mix will indeed produce perfect chocolate chip cookies just like grandma’s, we decided to try it out for ourselves, and post the results.
First of all, the package contains 1lb. of dry cookie mix, enough, according to the instructions, to make approximately 20 cookies. Because we followed the directions for making medium sized cookies, instead of large ones, the box actually made 32 cookies. To one box of the dry mix, which already contains the chocolate chips, you are supposed to add: 1 stick of soft butter, 1 tsp. gf vanilla extract, and 1 egg.
The directions on the box are extremely no nonsense and easy to follow. I used a hand held mixer in the beginning to mix together the ingredients, until the dough simply became too heavy and I had to use my hands. When it is mixed, the cookie dough will be somewhat crumbly, and fairly stiff. I found that not handling it too much once it was mixed together was important, otherwise it started to fall apart.
Because we live at high altitude here in New Mexico (nearly 7,000 ft.), we followed the high altitude guide for baking temperature and baking time, provided on the box 325°F for 10 minutes. For any of you living at sea level, follow the regular instructions, bake the cookies at 350° for 8 – 10 minutes.
Even though it states very clearly on the package that regular cookie sheets, non-stick or otherwise ( ungreased due to the amount of butter), are okay, we found that is really not the case at all. In the process of doing this review, we actually ended up making this cookie mix twice, mainly because the first batch completely flopped 😦 . They tasted great, but they all ran together on the cookie sheets, and turned out like crispy crackers, wafer thin, with a few random chocolate pieces floating on top. This was the result after following the box directions to the letter.
After having this outcome, I decided that there was definitely something wrong with either the cookie sheets, or the oven temperature, due to the fact that the cookies all ran together and nearly burned. The second time making the mix, even though nowhere on the box directions does it call for you to line the cookie sheets, we decided to try the Sil-Pat like silicone baking mats. Not having much experience with these in the past, this experiment made me truly appreciate these useful gadgets, which are also perfect when you need to create delicate desserts.
This time, I dropped the dough in rounded teaspoonfuls onto the silicone mat lined cookie sheets, about three inches apart, further than the box suggests (any closer than that and they always ran together). We still used the same baking temperature of 325°F, but found that when using the silicone baking mats, the length of time the cookies needed to bake increased, from 10 minutes to between 15 and 20.
This time the results, as you can see, were nearly perfect. The cookies always tasted great, but this time around they also fluffed up appropriately, did not run together, and achieved the right, slightly crunchy and chewy texture. The only other thing to remember when making these cookies, is to let them cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet before placing them on a cooling rack, otherwise they tend to completely crumble and fall apart. Once the cookies are stored in a cool, dry, covered place, they seem to have a shelf life of just over a week.
Over all, we both thought this cookie mix worked pretty well, aside from the already mentioned challenges in baking. The only recommendation that I have for the manufacturer, is that the cookies were a bit sweet. I am not a fan of overly sweet desserts, and I would suggest that they possibly consider cutting the amount of sugar used in half. Also, please clarify the directions on the box, stating that either baking mats, or parchment paper is necessary to achieve the advertised result.
What did you think? Have any of you reading this tried this particular cookie mix? What were your thoughts? Is there another gluten free mix that you really enjoy? Please let us know by commenting below.
Ed. Note: This is an independent and unsolicited product review. We purchased the product and have not received any monetary compensation for this review.