I love baking from scratch. There is something so fun and rewarding about transforming ordinary ingredients into a delicious dessert. But lets face it; sometimes we have a sweet tooth with no time or energy to play Rachael Ray. In our household, the cravings come most often from my husband. Sudden bursts of “I need dessert!” usually have me scrambling to appease the cookie monster. This usually requires at least a half hour break from whatever I am currently doing, but the other day, I opened the cupboard to a friendly site, cookie mixes.
Admittedly, I have only trialled a cookie mix once or twice in the past, but the cute labels screaming “Speedy-Bake” were just too enticing to pass up. The mixes came from Gluten-Free Essentials. Yes, they were even “free-from” cookies. Yet, as luck would have it, they were deliciously soft without a single note of gluten-free oddity. I played ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ with my husband on their gluten-free nature, and he was none the wiser. When I asked him how they were, he replied with a curt, “good, I’ll have some more.” And more he dad have. In fact, I baked up the entire batch of chocolate chip cookies (approximately 12 medium sized), and all but three were gone by day’s end. The other three were eaten for breakfast the following day of course.
The Chocolate Chip Cookies seemed almost impossible to under- or over-cook. I checked them at what was supposed to be a few minutes to done, and they appeared ready-to-eat. Holding strict to the instructions, I left them in for the allotted time frame. They browned no further, and retained an absolutely perfect texture. The cookies leaned toward cake-like, but were just soft and chewy enough to warrant the cookie label. They were lightly sweet, rather than over the top sugary as some cookies tend to be. I loved the chocolate chips, which were sprinkled throughout. They melted in my mouth with the flavor of pure, unadulterated semi-sweet chocolate.
Just a few days past before the dessert demands returned, and I quickly went back for the second mix, Double Chocolate, otherwise known as “Make Mine Chocolate.” We had a repeat performance, consuming nine between the two of us on day one, while my husband enjoyed a three cookie breakfast the next morning.
I enjoyed the mild chocolate flavor that wasn't over the top “cocoa.” It appealed to both my chocoholic husband and myself, a professed vanilla fan. Of course, it was hard to go wrong with the generous helping of chocolate chips scattered throughout. Overall, the Double Chocolate version could best be described as soft and chewy semi-sweet chocolate cookies, easily consumable by young and grown-up taste buds alike.
Alas, the cookie mixes are now gone, and I have become spoiled by the ease of pour, stir, and bake. I am certain that I will once again enjoy that “from scratch” feeling, but I won’t be so quick to snub my nose at dessert mixes in the future.
Interestingly enough, the Speedy Bake line was created for kids. They require just an egg (or egg replacer) and ½ stick of margarine (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks) to bake. And, get this, each package has instructions for how to bake the goodies in one of those toy “easy bake” ovens. Very cute. Still, in our childless household, they went over very well. Not to mention, the slightly smaller bag meant the perfect amount of cookies for two (had we actually saved a few more for the next day) … no freezing required!
My Extra Notes and Tips:
- All mixes from Gluten-Free Essentials are touted as dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and obviously gluten-free. These mixes do contain soy lecithin within the chocolate chips, which is seldom a problem for soy allergies and intolerances.
- Though the mix instructions call for eggs, the people at Gluten-Free Essentials have successfully used various egg replacers in trials.
- Ingredients are viewable on the Gluten-Free Essentials Website.
Where to Purchase: All GF Essentials baking mixes can be purchased directly on the Gluten-Free Essentials Website.