Friday, April 10, 2015

April Bake Shop: The Half-Baked Baking Company Review

April Bake Shop is my month-long focus on all thing baking. Covering brownies, cookies, waffles, and more, I've got you covered. Stay tuned throughout the month to see what I'm next baking up! Want to catch up with other installments in the series? Check out the parent post at this link.

Baking has quickly become my stress-relieving activity of choice (besides playing with my dog of course). Nothing keeps the stresses of college life at bay than mixing, measuring, baking, and then enjoying the spoils of one's efforts. 

After a particularly exhausting week of April showers and back to back chemistry and statistics exams (yikes!) I scoured my stash of baking mixes to find the perfect one to ease me into the weekend. Fitting the bill was a dynamic duo from The Half-Baked Baking Company. With the classic chocolate chip mix complemented by it's darker cousin- chocolate chocolate chip, the two were too good not to make at the same time.

The beauty about Half-Baked Cookie Co's mixes is that they truly are half-baked. Requiring only half a stick of melted butter, 1 egg, and a quick stirring, the dough comes together in no time and is soon ready to be transferred to a baking tray into the oven. It's literally raw ingredients to mix in 20 minutes. 

For the sake of the taste test, I kept my cookie recipe on the straight and narrow, but Half-Baked provides some fun suggestions for creative mix-ins in the form of orange extract (either mix), nuts (for the chocolate chip), crushed candy canes (for the double chocolate chip), sea salt (either mix), or for the brave: cayenne pepper for the double chocolate chip. Future taste tests will definitely include these fun add-ins.

The beauty of the tub-like containers the dry mix comes in is that prepared dough can be shoveled into them and frozen for a quick and easy dessert solution if you don't want to make a full back right then and there. How cool is that?





The instructions suggest to scoop the cookies out in rounded teaspoons, but I wanted meatier cookies than the small portioning would allow. Using a regular kitchen spoon, I scooped out mounds of dough (not too much though) and wasn't too precise with the measuring. Each mix made about 14 good-sized cookies, which impressed me for the small packaging. Because I increased the cookies' size somewhat, they needed to cook longer than the suggested 10-14 minutes, and cooked closer to 20. However, they emerged beautiful and baked fully- practically begging to be taste tested while still warm!



The chocolate chip cookies were picture perfect, and were simply sinful at first bite. With the reigning flavors of brown sugar and the chocolate chips a perfect complement for each other, the cookies tasted homemade and exactly how chocolate chip cookies should taste. As I let a precious few slip by to inquiring friends, their eyes bulged in amazement of the deliciousness of the cookies, and the realization that they were gluten and dairy free. I put my baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven for the last few minutes to get a nice crust on the bottom, which perfected the texture of a crunchy bottom and chewy interior and top. 



The chocolate chocolate chip cookies emerged in shorter time as I made them more bite size in an effort to mimic the brownie bites I so often see at the grocery store. Rich, indulgent, and chocolate-y, the cookies were decadent to say the least- and I'm not usually a chocolate cookie or cake person. I loved the chewiness of the cookies and the melted chips that created pools of melted chocolate that upped the ante in the dessert department and earned a solid two thumbs up from me. 

Without a doubt, I'll be buying these mixes again, and will not hesitate to branch out and try the other flavors Half Baked Baking Company makes. The mixes can be ordered through Amazon at this link, or can be ordered through their website here. Both mixes do contain soy, and are made in a facility that uses nuts, milk, and eggs. I am super sensitive to cross-contamination and was not sick at all days after my taste testing.

Disclaimer: This review is current to the original publication date. Updates will be noted. Ingredients and manufacturing processes can change without notice. Each product should be reviewed for individual nutritional needs. Feel free to to contact me with any questions or comments. I purchased this product independently and the review is a reflection of my personal opinion. 

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