Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cookie Review: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookie Mix

Do you cook everything from scratch? Everything? I actually consider myself to be somewhat of a “cooking from scratch” type of cook. There are times when I will, of course, take full advantage of short cuts, namely using canned goods like chicken stock and dried pasta, but for the most part -- say 93.86% -- I will cook from scratch.

Baking, however, is a different story. While I know how to whip up a cake from scratch, I happen to be quite satisfied with Ms. Betty Crocker or Mr. Duncan Hines. Cookies, though, have ALWAYS been made from scratch. Always. Always. Always.

Always, that is until the past year. As you are all aware by now, the littlest member of the gouda family follows a, say it with me, gluten free diet. Whipping up a scratch batch of chocolate chip cookies is a thing of the past for us. For those not familiar with non-wheat flours, you can’t substitute just any old gluten free flour for wheat flour. Even the gluten free all-purpose flour doesn’t perform the same as regular old flour.

This presents challenges, then, when making chocolate chip cookies. I like to send a homemade treat in with my girls’ lunches, and so we’ve been experimenting with different cookie mixes. Our favorite so far is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookie Mix.This cookie mix runs around $5-6/bag and can be found at most grocery stores around here. It’s a complete mix needing only ½ cup of room temp butter, 1 egg, and 2 T of water. One bag makes 24 cookies, which works out great for a week’s worth of lunch treats.Look at the ingredients. While there is nothing overprocessed here, you will see something surprising. Do you see it? The main “flour” is garbanzo bean flour! Indeedlydo, this raw dough definitely has a “beany” and vanilla-y odor. Not bad, mind you, just not, shall we say, traditional. Thankfully, the baked product does NOT taste beany at all.

Cooking with “alternative” flours is very different from traditional wheat flour. Even after combining with the butter, egg, and water, the cookie mix remains very crumbly.See what I mean? To form the cookies, all you have to do is squeeze the dough together into a ball.Despite starting off crumbly, once in a ball shape, it holds together perfectly. It does spread out while baking, and doesn’t fall apart afterward.

In fact, the texture is quite good. Don’t they kind of look like oatmeal cookies? No oatmeal here, though.They spread and bake to a wonderful thickness. Not too thick, not too thin. Crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside, these baked goodies have a nice balance of vanilla and butter flavor.The bottoms turn a lovely golden brown, too. While I could definitely taste chocolate, it would benefit from a few more chips in the mix.

The best thing – my daughter likes them. In fact the entire family likes them. I have to label these “FOR SCHOOL LUNCHES ONLY” because they disappear so quickly.

So, for those of you following a gluten free diet, or for those of you wanting to move away from processed wheat flour, I’d rank these cookies a 4 out of 5.

Our next g/f cookie mix to try is called Pamela’s. I’ve heard good things about her cake mix, so we’ll see how the cookie mix is. I'd love, truly and sincerely, to hear about any cookies that you make that do not contain traditional flour. Send them my way!What do you think? Would you eat this cookie? Come on over, I’ll pour the milk.

16 comments:

Marjie said...

I'm so glad you found a way to make cookies for your little one! The boys made some today, which Patrick excitedly called "No Bakes", and all but about 6 are gone. They have no flour at all, and your kids could make them without you! Try them and see how you all like them. As for chocolate chip cookies, would you believe that much as I adore chocolate, I don't like c.c. cookies? Funny, right?

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i just made some chocolate chip cookies yesterday (not with a cookie mix, as they aren't available here). it was our first time making them, and we also found the "ball" technique fun to watch in the oven, as they spread out into cookies. my kids helped me make them - another fun kitchen activity for all of us

Pam said...

I really need to go Bob's Red Mill store. I've never tried their products but hear they are great. The cookies look tasty.

The Blonde Duck said...

My waffles came from Bob's high protien high fiber waffle mix. I'll send this to my SIL--she's allergic to gluten now!

Mickle in NZ said...

Of course I would eat a lovely looking cookie like that one - is isn't loaded with the way-to-rough-for-me stuff. I'm sure adding a handful or two of extra chocolate chips (and maybe some extra cocoa powder) in the mix will only add to its goodness and glory.

Garbanzo bean flour is also known as chickpea flour and as besan (in India). Ever tried a packet of the spicy crispily fried indian goodies? It's known here as Bhuja Mix. The bits that aren't hot peas or peanuts are made from besan. (I'll email a couple of recipes to you so you can have a play)

Yes, Zebbycat is very spoilt - he is a rescue cat - much adored and very affectionate.

Pats and cuddles to your feline darlings, Michelle

Cathy said...

Good looking cookies, Paula. I've tried many of the Red Mill mixes and really like them. They are such a timesaver when I'm in a hurry. Don't you just love that store!

anne said...

WOW, WHAT A GREAT REVIEW OF THIS COOKIE MIX, WE ARE NOT GLUTEN-FREE, BUT IT DOESN'T HURT TO EAT BETTER!

www.anniebakes.blogspot.com

Grace said...

bob's red mill is all kinds of awesome--as far as i know, they can do no wrong. thanks for the review!

Mickle in NZ said...

Marjie's no cook cookie formula looks really good. I'm sure within your gluten free explorations you'll find a something to replace the oaty part - maybe shredded coconut and/or some finely chopped nuts, a bit of a nut flour........

I'll drool from over here (oats, cocoa nut and an over abundance of nuts don't work for me, but for your dear GF one ... so many alternatives)

Paula said...

Mickle~~ No substitutions needed from my end! We use Gluten Free oats (both rolled and steel cut) from Bob's Red Mill! For fun, check out their website; you won't believe all the zillions of stuff they carry! http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-oats/

Cheryl said...

That is a dang good looking cookie! I bought their 12 grain hot cereal, HEAVEN!~

Pam said...

Ah! Beat you! I cook 93.88% from scratch.

Lori said...

Well, today's my lucky day. I decide to hunt down your blog and find cookies on the front page! So happy to see you and Marjie still in the blogosphere. :o)

noble pig said...

I haven't seen that in the stores yet but glad you found something you like!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Paula, I'LL bring the raw milk and dive into the cookies. :)

Those look really good. What a find. And it would seem the protein grams would be higher using garbanzo flour. That would be a bonus, too!

I just bought Bob's cornstarch yesterday. I'm hoping it's GMO free because it doesn't say and I could NOT find one that said it was. I know Bob's makes some good stuff so I hope my cornstarch is healthy!

You ALWAYS make the most delicious food.

Meals by Misty said...

I cook for a gluten free family and have wondered how these tasted. Now I know! Thanks for sharing and your blog is adorable!