There are five varieties of the new cupcake mix: vanilla bean, coconut, chocolate, meyer lemon, and red velvet ($14.95/mix). There are also four premade frostings: vanilla bean, meyer lemon, coconut, and chocolate ($19.95/24-ounce jar). I decided to try one standard mix (vanilla bean) and one of what I will call the "special flavors" (red velvet) as well as the frosting that could go on any of the cupcakes: vanilla bean.
'mixes' on Serious Eats
Whenever I am in a gas station, corner deli, or mini-mart, I'm always a little bit temped by the display of snack cakes by the cash register. Or, more specifically, I'm tempted by the Hostess Cupcakes, with their gooey, marshmallow-creamy centers. Betty Crocker's new FUN da-Middles chocolate cupcake mix with vanilla filling bears a striking resemblance to Hostess. But would the taste compare?
Target isn't generally thought of as a place to buy food. But in fact, most Target stores have huge grocery sections stocked with just about everything you would find in a conventional supermarket (except produce). They even have their own line of baking mixes called Archer Farms. With Halloween upon us, it's a great time to try out their Monster Cookie Mix, loaded with oatmeal, peanuts, raisins, and chocolate candies.
For more than 10 years, No Pudge has pretty much had the corner on the fat-free brownie mix market. But now Trader Joe's has a nearly identical version. Curious as to which has the richest fudgy flavor, I rounded up a group of friends and conducted a blind taste test.
Lately it seems like every time I stop by a specialty food store, Ina Garten has debuted a new baking mix based on one of her popular recipes. In fact, according to her website, she now has more than twenty breakfast and dessert mixes. At this rate, she's poised to take on King Arthur Four and Betty Crocker. This week I tried out her new coconut madeleines. Dainty and delicate, they seemed perfect for spring.
Sometimes I just can't decide if I want a rich, fudgy brownie or a buttery chocolate chip cookie. So why not combine the two in one? This week I tried out Betty Crocker's Cookie Brownie Mix, and for a mere $2.50, baked up a batch of gooey brownies topped with a layer of moist, tender chocolate chip cookie dough.
Meyer lemons are prized for their thin skins, ample juice, sweet flavor, and lack of acidity. In many dishes they are preferable to regular lemons because they provide loads of citrus flavor without the lip-puckering bite. But would their essence really come through in a cake mix? Was there any actual Meyer lemon in the mix, or was it a misnomer? I put Dassant's Meyer Lemon Cake Mix ($6.99) to the test.
To make the sorbet, all I had to do was combine the mix with three cups of water, cook, chill, and freeze. A spoonful bordered on perfection: deep, pure chocolate flavor, and a consistency so smooth it reminded me more of sherbet than sorbet. The last time I remember tasting chocolate this intense, it was a press event for Michel Cluizel.
While scones certainly aren't difficult to make from scratch, I was intrigued by the different versions of King Arthur mix available at my supermarket: cherry-almond, cranberry-orange, maple-oat, blueberry, and cream tea.