Overview: Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes
Overview/Review Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes
As I sit down to write this overview of the Betty Crocker mixes, I find I am filled with mixed emotions. When I heard that General Mills would be launching a line of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes, I was excited! What a great way, I thought, to introduce gluten-free baking to those who might be nervous about tackling it.
And who better than Betty Crocker to do it? I must admit something here, folks. I grew up eating Betty Crocker cakes mixes (Duncan Hines, too!). While my mom baked almost everything from scratch, she used mixes for cakes. If I close my eyes, I can almost taste those cakes. Fragrant and moist. The taste and texture of a box cake mix is really unlike any other. Therefore, I was excited to see if Betty Crocker's Gluten-Free Cake mixes would taste like their traditional, wheat-based mixes.
But before we get to the taste test, I need to talk a little about my own expectations and reactions to the mixes.
The first thing I noticed about the mixes was the price. In my grocery store, they are going for $4.49 per box! And a mix only makes one 9-inch round! That means that a 9-inch cake will cost you $9.00 to make--before you add in the cost of the butter, eggs, etc. I am sorry but that is really, really expensive. I know many of my readers won't be able to afford this price.
One of my "issues" with gluten-free mixes is their price. They can break the bank. And while the economy is showing signs of recovering, we are all still watching our pennies. I had hoped that the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes would be affordable.
I have many readers who simply can't afford the cost of some gluten-free mixes. While some might say, "Then they can either do without or make a cake from scratch." I don't agree. Sometimes a mix is just plain handy. Sure, when you have the time, and warning, making the classic chocolate cake from my book is the cheapest and tastiest way to go. But I realize that we all lead busy lives. Sometimes a daughter might come home and need cupcakes for school the next day. At times like those mixes can be handy.
I didn't expect the Betty Crocker mixes to be priced the same as their traditional wheat cake mixes. However, I did think they would be a wee bit cheaper than other gluten-free mixes on the market. Turns out, I was wrong.
General Mills probably employs more food scientists than I can imagine. I had hoped, even with the high price, that the taste of the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes would be as I remembered. Betty Goes Gluten-Free, if you will. Well, folks, I for one was disappointed. Were the mixes bad? Nope! They just weren't "Betty Crocker" tasting In fact, they reminded me of another popular brand of gluten-free mixes. Something that comes from a "Gluten-Free Pantry".
The yellow cake was dense and not very flavorful. The chocolate cake was okay but a little dry. The brownies were yummy! And the chocolate chip cookies were just okay and a wee bit crumbly.
A quick glance at the ingredients told me why! I don't want to get into a debate about preservatives, etc. Let me just say that wheat-based Betty Crocker mixes (Super Moist) are a delightful little chemical stew. The gluten-free mixes are not. In fact, they are "just" dry ingredients. No different than if you measured out my chocolate cake mix into a bag.
Why do I mention this? Especially when we are all trying to avoid added chemicals? Well the little "chemical stew" that makes up Betty Crocker's Super Moist Cake mix makes for a pretty tasty cake! Like Isaid, I grew up eating the stuff. I had hoped that the brilliant food science minds at General Mills could have used some of their nifty food additives to create a cake like their Super Moist Cake. Alas, it doesn't seem like they did.
The reason my mom, and millions of other bakers, love cake mixes is because of their ease of use. Rip open a box, add water, eggs and oil and you are done. I was really hoping for the same ease of use with the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes.
I was wrong -- sort of. These mixes aren't hard to use. Really. But they are a little putzy. Take the vanilla cake mix. It instructs you to add vanilla extract! What? Can you imagine a "regular" vanilla cake mix instructing you to add your own flavor? I don't think so!
It is a little quibble, I know. But since it bothered me, I had to tell you about it.
Now I don't want to be a total negative Nelly! I am happy that a huge, mainstream company is finally responding to the needs of the gluten-free community. General Mills now has a line of cereal and baking mixes that serve the gluten-free eaters.
I also realize that for many seeing the words "Betty Crocker" and "Gluten-Free" fills an emotional void. I refuse to discount any of this. If you are rejoicing over the new mixes, I understand. I do.
However, if you are thinking that, perhaps, the mixes could have been a little cheaper, a little tastier, and a little easier to use, you aren't alone.