Foodie faithful, no doubt you’ve noticed that the number of posts on this blog has declined. I could make excuses for myself, but I’ll just say that my life has exploded a little bit in the past year and I’m currently in the process of putting some pieces back together. One of those pieces is, of course, The Family Foodie. Spending more time thinking about the food we’re eating over this holiday break has reminded me of how important that is to my happiness; this blog has always been a place where I can share the joy that starts in my kitchen, and I’m more determined than ever to make a place for that joy in my life.
So, I’m going to wrap up this difficult year and kick off the happy-fest with a roundup of the best gluten-free baking products I’ve tried. The sheer number of new gluten-free products finding their way to the shelves of various stores is daunting–but, as gluten-free eaters know all too well, those products tend to be hit or miss. In keeping with my Foodie policy, I’ll maintain stoney silence with regard to the misses and, instead, celebrate the hits.
Sticky Fingers Bakeries Gluten-Free Scone Mixes
I found these mixes at my local World Market, as you can see from the price sticker. I loved Sticky Fingers scones in my wheat-eating days and was overjoyed to see these mixes on the shelf, though I wasn’t sure they could approximate the original. In fact, they might actually be better than the original: crisp and brown on the outside, chewy on the inside. Thus far, we’ve tried three of the four gluten-free flavors: Meyer lemon (delicious, full of juicy little bits of lemon), blueberry (okay, but nothing special), and the original plain scone mix, which you can use as a canvas for your favorite add-ins. I stirred in some cinnamon baking chips and fooled The Girl into thinking she was eating a regular scone. “These are gluten-free?” she asked, when she saw me eating one. “But they’re actually good.” We haven’t yet tried the apple cinnamon flavor, and probably won’t–I’m not a big fan of apple-flavored anything–and I’m holding out hope that Sticky Fingers will make a gluten-free raspberry scone mix. Each box of mix makes 8 to 10 scones, depending on how large you like them. (And by the way–if you aren’t a member of World Market’s Explorer program, you should be. All purchases, including food and coffee, earn points toward future rewards. Check out the details here.)
HEB Brand Gluten-Free Brownie Mix (and other GF products)
If you’re a local member of the Foodie faithful–meaning you live in Texas–and you’ll want to rush out to your local HEB and grab a box of this brownie mix for the gluten-free people in your life. This box of mix makes an 8-inch square pan of moist, dense brownies that no one will suspect of being gluten-free. HEB also has a store brand of gluten-free cornbread mix (terrific), all-purpose baking mix (does the job), and yellow of chocolate cake mixes (I haven’t tried them yet, but I have high hopes.) The HEB brand of gluten-free pasta is similarly wonderful, and available in penne, rotini, and spaghetti.
If you grew up with Bisquick in your mom’s kitchen cabinet, as I did, you’ll understand why I was so excited to find a gluten-free version of this baking mix. I used it as the basis of this Super Simple Pumpkin Bread (pictured above) and was delighted with the results. It also makes all the basics you might think of in relation to Bisquick: coffee cake, drop biscuits, pancakes, etc. My one quibble with this product is that it’s a little overpriced for the amount you receive. Using the Subscribe and Save option at Amazon.com, a box costs about $4.00. Each box contains about three cups of baking mix. In other words, you’re going to go through a box of Bisquick (or, at least, the majority of it) every time you make a batch of pancakes or biscuits. I don’t mind baking from scratch, and that’s certainly the cheaper option. However, when you need to bake quickly–or if you don’t want to mess with measuring out multiple ingredients–gluten-free Bisquick is hard to beat.
A friend called recently to ask for my help with identifying gluten-free products to buy for her daughter, who’d just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was happy to be able to report that it’s getting easier to find gluten-free products every day. It’s certainly much easier today than it was two years ago; gluten-free shopping rarely involves a trip to a specialty grocery store anymore. Best of all, I don’t feel like I’m missing a thing.