Simple Mills is a company that is new on my radar, but quickly has become a staple in my dorm cooking rotation. Using almond flour-based mixes that are minimally sweetened and packed with enough protein to power up your day, I love that they are easy to make and taste good too!
Already a fan of their muffin mixes (banana, chocolate, and pumpkin) and chocolate chip cookies (see those reviews here), I was super excited to hear about their latest and greatest products yet: a pancake/waffle mix, pizza dough mix, and vanilla cake. Eager to try them out, I couldn't wait to give them a try.
Starting first with the pizza crust mix, I decided to make up two to test the versatility of the mix. Requiring only apple cider vinegar, oil (grapeseed or vegetable), and water, the mix is certainly easy to make, and put my mind at ease without having to handle eggs. Reading over the eight simple, pronounceable ingredients, I was intrigued to see flax meal, cauliflower and arrowroot powder among the more recognizable spices and almond flour. These ingredients fill out the nutritional profile of the crusts and helps to keep them as good for you as they taste. The box renders two 8" pizzas.
After rolling out and parbaking the crusts, I topped one pizza with red sauce and raw, vegan pesto from Maison LeGrand (see full review here). Finding myself limited with toppings, I threw on some shredded carrots to add some extra vitamin A to the mix. Baked for another fifteen minutes to finish them, they emerged hot and ready to be eaten. Although the crusts did not crust up, I liked that they struck a nice texture between chewy and firm. I loved the herb-y taste of the crusts which spread the flavor throughout the whole pizza, not concentrating it at the topping level. The crusts worked well with both sauces, which proves their versatility.
Producing way too much food for me to eat in one sitting, I put the leftovers from both pizzas in the fridge, which held their own overnight without getting soggy or gross (perfect for this busy college student!). When I bake up another batch of crusts, I will definitely plan on baking a little longer or trying them out on a pizza stone to see if I can get them just a little crispier to reach pure perfection.
Next turning to the pancake mix, I actually put the mix to use one night for study fuel in the form of breakfast for dinner. I like how Simple Mills provides instructions that cater to different portioning of pancakes so I could make as many as 12 four-inch pancakes or as little as 4 in one sitting. The whole box makes up to 20 four inch pancakes, and includes instructions for making waffles as well. This mix requires eggs, oil (grapeseed, coconut, or vegetable), and milk (dairy or non-dairy) and is sweetened by organic coconut sugar.
The mix came together quickly, and turned into a thick, pourable batter in no time. The cakes took between 1-2 minutes to cook on one side, then cooked in less than 45 seconds once flipped to render them perfectly brown. Taking me completely by surprise, the pancakes could only be described as a word not normally paired with gluten-free foods: fluffy! Lightly sweetened and not bloating or heavy, the pancakes really won me over, and quickly proved to be a stiff competition to the best pancakes I have enjoyed eating out.
The secret I think is the use of arrowroot powder, which adds protein and fluffiness without compromising flavor. The pancakes are also a perfect base for whatever mix-ins you desire, and I plan on pairing them with pecans, lemon zest and poppy seeds, or Enjoy Life Foods' dark chocolate chips to customize them even further.
The third mix I tried was the vanilla cake mix, which renders either an 8" cake or 14 cupcakes. The base mix requires vanilla, eggs, oil (grapeseed or vegetable), and water. Wanting to make chocolate chip muffins using the vanilla base, I threw in a handful of Enjoy Life allergen-free dark chocolate chips to satisfy my sweet tooth further. Like the other mixes, the vanilla cake is almond flour based, and sweetened with coconut sugar, which is one of the lowest glycemic sweeteners, packs vitamins and minerals, and is sustainable.
I ended up making a dozen jumbo muffins instead of the recommended 14, not wanting to make two batches with only a single 12-cup muffin pan. I baked them a little longer than the 20-minute suggested time to make sure they were cooked through. Letting them cool, I waited a while to try them, but when I did, I was sold. Moist, and textured perfectly, they made delicious muffins that were not too sweet at all. Forget the sickening sweetness of most cupcakes, these satisfy without skyrocketing your blood sugar. The chocolate chips melted nicely, and provided a nice contrast to the classic vanilla taste of the cake. I will definitely be buying this mix again to save the time from piecing together recipes with tons of ingredients needed!
So far, I'm really impressed with Simple Mills' newest members of their baking mix family. I am now a loyal customer, and hope they expand their presence to more local stores in the future. I've found them at Wegmans here in Maryland, but they'll ship anywhere via Amazon, where you can find their mixes in three-packs.
Want to know more about Simple Mills and their delicious, nutritious paleo-friendly, gluten-free mixes? Check out their website here. All mixes are made in a 100% dedicated gluten-free facility, but do contain almonds and coconut for those who have allergies to those ingredients.
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 was provided samples of all three mixes by Simple Mills, but this review is a reflection of my personal opinion and has not been influenced in any way.
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