Monday, June 15, 2009

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

So I had originally planned a very different review of Betty Crocker's new gluten free chocolate chip cookies.

I was going to tell you that I was disappointed by this mix. I was going to tell you that I probably would not make these cookies again. I was going to tell you that I've never had good gluten free cookies and that these were only slightly better than the dozens of cookies that have met my garbage can.

So what changed?

Well, I guess I'll start from the beginning.

Since going gluten free, I have attempted chocolate chip cookies several times, every time ending in complete FAIL. Almost everytime, my cookies tasted like I dumped sand into the batter. The flavor, texture, everything was not right. Some just fell apart. Some spread out so thin on the baking sheet, that you could even remove them without your cookies becoming nothing but crumbs. Some stayed together but were inedible. Needless to say, I gave up on cookies and resigned myself to the fact that I would never enjoy home-baked cookies again. Was I sad? Maybe a little. But I had cakes and brownies to occupy my time..

Until a few days ago. I tried the new gluten free chocolate chip cookies from a local bakery in Tempe, AZ by the name of Cookies From Home. These cookies, literally, made both my husband and I stop and say, "Wait, are we sure these are gluten free?" You could NOT tell the difference. They were soft and chewy, tasted perfect, and had no trace of the tell-tale gluten free gritty, starchy texture. They were delightful and I ate a lot (two dozen-ish) in a matter of a few days (like...two. Okay, maybe three, but does that really make it any better?)

Now I am a cookie-aholic. The Betty Crocker GF cookie mix was, by far, the mix that I was the MOST excited about trying. I eagerly baked them up this weekend.

I felt positive about the results as I was mixing it up. How could Betty Crocker be wrong? The dough seemed dry and crumbly, but the box said it would. And it wasn't nearly as bad as some other doughs I've worked with. I followed the direction perfectly--I used a cool baking sheet for every batch and let the cookies cool for at least 2 minutes before removing them from the pan.

The cookies baked out to be very thin. So thin that if you held the cookie up to the light, you could see through it in some spots. They were also very delicate; a few fell apart. But, on the flip side, some held together perfectly.

Here's why I was going to give these a so-so review: these cookies just aren't the real thing. Shocking, I know. They taste gluten free. The texture is off and despite my best efforts, I couldn't ignore at first that underlying funky taste (what was that?). When you bit into a cookie, it almost felt to your month like you were eating a bunch of crumbs that were just haphazardly stuck together--if that makes sense. To be simple--these weren't even in the same ball park of awesomeness that Cookies From Home was.

So why the change of heart, you ask? Because I ate these cookies for breakfast for two days in a row. These cookies were demolished in our house before the weekend was over. They grew on me, and frankly, they weren't bad enough not to eat. I said I wouldn't make these again, but I would. Because when it comes down to it, I LOVE cookies. Just don't expect to take these to a company picnic and have people rave over them and go back for round two or three.

Odds are, you'll like these enough as well to make in your own home. I'm just warning you beforehand, make sure your expectations aren't too high. They aren't Mom's homemade Tollhouse deliciousness. Didn't stop me from devouring them though, or from going to pick up another box....


Amy Ratner, Associate Editor, Gluten-Free Living said...

Hi Stephanie,
I have not found the BC mixes in my area yet and am anxious for my 18-year-old daughter, who has celiac disease, to try them. I think they will be really convenient for her at college if they are good.
But I also wanted to tell you about a recipe for choc chip cookies that you might really like. I just made the recipe into a "big cookie" (literally a big cookie made on a disposable pizza pan) yesterday and took it to my neighbor's graduation party. Every last crumb was gone - no one even knew it was gluten free. I heard my neighbor ask a few of her friends if they could believe it was made without any wheat flour. The recipe is from Bette Hagman's "The Gluten Free Gourmet." They are called Butterscotch dreams in the cookbook, but I just substitute choc chips for the butterscotch chips. The other flours are soy and rice.
Try them out. I think you will really like them. (If you don't have this cookbook - which you should - let me know if you want the recipe.)
I have been making these for years. All the neighborhood kids specifically ask me to bring them to out neighborhood parties.

Traci said...

I tried the cookie mix & didn't think it was too bad. My whole family seemed to think they were ok as well. The batter was funny looking. The first batch was quite a bit flatter than the second. They were delicious with vanilla ice cream. I want to try Cookies From Home now!!

Endless Possibilities said...

I must try these amazing cookies you speak of! YUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMY. Cookies From Home, I will digest you soon!

Jadesymb said...

I really like this mix because it's so easy. Ours always turn out better than yours did. Perhaps it's the butter? We use dairy free Earth Balance margarine, because my son has a milk allergy, and these cookies are milk free!