Archive for May, 2009

ROUND III: Betty Crocker Gluten Free Challenge: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Gluten-FREE Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix vs. Gluten-FULL Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

 

The third and final round of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Challenge, where gluten-eating friends and family compared the new Betty Crocker gluten-free baking mixes against the traditional gluten-filled Betty Crocker comparable mixes, is the taste-test for the CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

I was really excited to try these since I am a real cookies and milk kind of gal. I prefer the simpler of sweet treats. For me no fuss, quick, easy to prepare… and no fork required is a plus!
The results of the taste-test are as follows:

 - The Gluten-FREE cookies were just as moist and chewy as the Gluten-FULL ones.
- The sweetness and flavor were almost identical.
- The Gluten-FREE cookies were thinner and “spread out” more during baking… which resulted in a thinner, not as “cakey” cookie. I actually liked this!
- The only downfall with the Gluten-FREE version is that it did not have as many chocolate chips as the Gluten-FULL kind. (Adding more on your own may be a solution?)

As an added bonus, the Gluten-FREE cookies stayed “moister” longer than the Gluten-FULL type. A couple of days later the Gluten-FREE cookies were still soft, chewy and just as yummy as right-out-of-the-oven!

 

The ingredients needed to make the Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies were: 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla, 2 eggs and 5 tablespoons butter (Note: there are instructions on the General Mills website explaining how to make the brownies if you want to substitute the butter). The package ingredients do include soy and milk.


Now that I am wrapping up my final Betty Crocker Gluten Free Challenge, I want to thank those “smart cookies” over at General Mills. I lift my cookie-crumbed-filled glass of milk up high and toast you on a job well done…“Let Them Eat Cake!”

ROUND II: Betty Crocker Gluten Free Challenge: CAKE MIXES

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Gluten-FREE Cake Mixes vs. Gluten-FULL Super Moist Cake Mixes

The second round of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Challenge, where gluten-eating friends and family compared the new Betty Crocker gluten-free baking mixes against the traditional gluten-filled Betty Crocker comparable mixes, is the taste-test for the CAKE MIXES!

There are two types of Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake Mixes: Devil’s Food and Yellow. Since cupcakes are more fun – I decided to go that route, rather than a sheet or layered cake. After all, this was a fun day!

Thanks to Betty and her gang over at General Mills, walking down the baking aisle at your local grocer will soon become a cakewalk. Easy, effortless, readily available… and according to their website, affordable. If you see someone skipping down the baking aisle at your local grocer this summer, you can place a bet they’re on a gluten-free diet.

But – How do the gluten-free cake mixes compare in taste?

Let’s first start with the Devil’s Food:

The taste-testers could find “little to no” difference in the taste, texture (and look once they became un-blindfolded) between the gluten-FREE vs. gluten-FULL Devil’s Food Cake Mixes. Both were describe as being “chocolaty” and “moist”. No difference at all between the two. Good news for the gluten-free version!

I liked the gluten-free Devil’s Food Cake Mix.  I think it tastes just like a chocolate cupcake should… sweet, chocolaty, moist, and soft. Perfect! Easy to make too.

The ingredients needed to make the gluten-free Devil’s Food Cake were: ½ teaspoon gluten-free vanilla, 2 eggs and 5 tablespoons butter (Note: there are instructions on the General Mills website explaining how to make the brownies if you want to substitute the butter) and 1 cup of low-fat buttermilk or low-fat yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farm). The package ingredients do include soy.

I think next time I may try to use vanilla low-fat yogurt – since the plain low-fat yogurt can be hard to track down in the dairy case – and I was forced to buy a huge container of it.

 

Next, let’s move onto the Yellow Cake Mix:

The taste-testers could find little to no difference in the look of the gluten-FREE vs. gluten-FULL Yellow Cake Mixes. However, they thought that the Gluten-FREE mix was not as “sweet” as the Gluten-FULL mix. They also thought that the gluten-FREE cupcake was crispier around the edges, which some thought was a good thing.

I personally loved the gluten-free Yellow Cake Mix! I think it tasted perfect… fluffy, a touch of vanilla, and just the perfect sweetness. I liked the crispy outside and spongy inside.

The ingredients needed to make the gluten-free Yellow Cake were: 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla, 2 eggs,  ½ cup butter and ½ cup of milk.  The package ingredients do include soy.

The gluten-free kids that tried these cupcakes LOVED them! Birthday parties will be a lot sweeter this summer when these mixes are available… =)

Basically, I think that General Mills takes the cake on these two Gluten-free Baking Mixes. Good Job!

Additional Notes:
All of the General Mills Gluten Free Dessert Mixes are made in a gluten free processing facility.

ROUND I: Betty Crocker Gluten Free Challenge: BROWNIES

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Gluten-FREE Chocolate Brownie Mix vs. Gluten-FULL Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix


The first round of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Challenge is about to begin! In this challenge,  gluten-eating friends and family compared the new Betty Crocker gluten-FREE baking mixes against the traditional gluten-FILLED Betty Crocker comparable mixes. The first taste-test is for the BROWNIES!

First, let’s get one thing out of the way:  The picture on the box does these splendid pieces of gluten-free dark chocolaty, chewy squares of joy no justice! I would call the picture on the box a “beige-y” – not a “brownie”. Know how the pictures of food on packaging (with the words “serving suggestion” in ultra-small print) usually looks way better than the food in real life? Well, the opposite rings true here. For proof, see the pictures of the actual gluten-free brownies in this post.

The gluten-free mix actually has tiny little chocolate chips in it, which makes the brownies extra decadent and chewy. The ingredients needed to make the gluten-free brownies were: 2 eggs and 7 tablespoons butter (Note: there are instructions on the General Mills website explaining how to make the brownies if you want to substitute the butter). The package ingredients do include soy and milk.

And the RESULTS: ALL of the taste testers preferred the gluten-free version over the “cakier”, “harder” and “less chocolaty” traditional gluten-filled mix!

Some of the comments about the gluten-free brownies included:

* “A much more chocolaty taste”
* “Chewy!”
* “Excellent!”
* “This one is better… way better. This is the one with the gluten, right?” (Note: WRONG! How about THAT comment!)
When I told all the participants that the one they ALL liked by a long-shot was the gluten-free brownie they couldn’t believe it, and even questioned if I mixed up the two!

 

In summary: The new Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Brownie is a keeper! Phenomenal! Line up now for the anticipated summer arrival!
 

Additional Notes:

Many of you have emailed me asking if I knew why General Mills decided to take this leap of gluten-free faith and develop a whole line of gluten free baking mixes. The truth is tBetty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies YUMhat they have a few employees that are on a gluten-free diet, and according to General Mills, “Their experiences opened our eyes to the challenges families face following the diet. It’s hard to be different, especially when it affects sweet moments with friends and family. No one wants to miss sharing a birthday cake or see their child have to turn down a homemade cookie from a buddy after a game.”

I say “Cheers!” and “Second’s please!” to that! =)

WE TRIED THEM! It’s Not a Crock: Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Baking Mixes Exist!

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

When I first heard, I thought it was too good to be true. The behemoth of food companies, General Mills, was coming out with a new line of gluten-free baking mixes. Too good to be true. I needed to see it to believe it.

So, I called a good friend in the food industry that was able to get me boxes of the four gluten free varieties: brownie mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, yellow cake mix and devil’s food cake mix. 

When the FedEx driver showed up at the office door I practically pounced on him.

I ripped open the box, and literally just stopped and stared.

To hold in my hands baking mixes that said “Betty Crocker” and “Gluten free” together – right on the same box – blew me away.

Blew me away.

Sure I’ve seen gluten-free baking mixes before. But this is big news. General Mills, yes folks – General Mills, one of the world’s largest food companies that has products in over 100 countries and owns not only Betty Crocker, but other well-known brands such as Pillsbury, Bisquick, Green Giant and Cheerios has noticed us celiacs. It makes me giddy. It makes me beam.

It makes gluten-free mainstream.

And here’s the best part. The products are phenomenal too! “Moist”, “chewy” and “super chocolaty” are some of the adjectives used to describe them.

To make things engaging, I decided to have a taste test. I recruited some gluten-eating friends & family, blindfolded them and had them try both the Gluten Free Betty Crocker Mixes along with the traditional gluten-filled Betty Crocker comparable mixes.

Very interesting outcomes! Check back for the taste test results of the “Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Challenge” in my next few blog postings.

Oh, and also, Mr. FedEx Man – I apologize for almost knockin’ you down in my sheer excitment. To make it up to you, I’ll have some really good gluten-free goodies for you tomorrow.

New Featured Column on BeFreeForMe: ASK SHELLEY CASE!

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

I am so excited to announce that BeFreeForMe.com and Shelley Case, a registered dietician and leading international expert on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, are teaming up to offer BeFreeForMe members a monthly column, “Ask Shelley Case”.

The segment will feature candid and everyday questions, asked by BeFreeForMe members that will be answered by Shelley. Shelley has tons of experience with the gluten-free lifestyle and community, and I am thrilled that BeFreeForMe is partnering with her on this column!

Shelley is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Celiac Disease Foundation and Gluten Intolerance Group in the United States and the Professional Advisory Board of the Canadian Celiac Association. As well as partnering with BeFreeForMe.com, Shelley is a frequent guest on TV and radio, including the NBC Today Show!

Shelley is also the author of the National Best Seller, “Gluten-free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” , which has recently come out in a revised and expanded edition! It is jammed packed with resources, info and ideas; and is a “must read and revisit” for everyone following a gluten-free diet.

I am so thrilled that we have Shelley on-board so we can pick her brain and ask her questions about our special dietary needs. If you have any questions, please ask her through this email link: Ask@BeFreeForMe.com

The “Ask Shelley Case” featured column (and email) will be showcased / sent the second Tuesday of every month. The first column will run this Tuesday, May 12. Keep your eye out for it!

Welcome, Shelley!

Be Free!

Kathleen Reale

Founder / BeFreeForMe.com


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