Taking a weekend trip home to visit my family this past weekend, I took a week off baking up a storm for April Bake Shop. While there, I loved not having to worry about cooking for myself 100%. My mom, ever on the hunt to find new gluten-free options for me to taste and try at local stores, was excited to send me home with a couple cookie mixes she found at Home Goods. Home Goods (and other similar stores such as Marshalls and TJ Maxx), I've discovered is an excellent source of finding gourmet gluten-free treats at a discounted price. With stock constantly changing, you never know what you'll find, and your wallet will undoubtedly thank you.
Ever the oatmeal cookie lover, I broke out the first mix the week I came home, needing a fun distraction from rapidly piling up end-of-term assignments. Besides, with only a month left of school, I have to get started using up the 7 sticks of vegan butter in my minifridge!
XO Baking Co. is a brand I am familiar with, but have not tried before. They have a full range of baking mixes and baking supplies, found here, but the oatmeal cookie was the only one I found at Home Goods. This mix is:
- Gluten/wheat free (and certified too!)
- Dairy free
- Rice free
- Trans fat free
- Soy free
- All natural
- Certified Kosher
- No preservatives
- No artificial colors
- No artificial preservatives
The cookies themselves were not challenging at all to put together. Requiring only an egg and a stick of butter (1/2 cup equivalency), I didn't need a bunch of fancy ingredients to get them going. For a butter substitute, I used Earth Balance's soy free baking sticks.
Since I don't have a mixer on hand at the dorm, it was slightly challenging to beat the cookies to ideal consistency, but I managed to succeed and also earned a arm workout in the process. I generously portioned the dough out and was able to make 16 cookies easily.
The cookies bake time went longer than the recommended 12 minute maximum because I wanted a firmer, less gooey cookie. My patience paid off as the cookies emerged perfect and golden brown with an additional ten minutes.
Taking my first bite, my tastebuds melted into the lucious pairing of brown sugar and oats that epitomize an oatmeal cookie. Simple and sweet, I liked the cookies a lot and the friends I shared them with were hooked as well from the first bite. It's a total win in my book when I can share my cooking creations with friends who don't immediately identify them as "different" because they're deceptively gluten-like. They are a nice palate to which one could mix in nuts, craisins, or other toppings to add complexity to their flavor profile.
Finding the box for $3.00 really was the deal of the century, and I'll definitely be heading back to Home Goods for more mix hunting in the future. I love finding gluten-free and dairy-free products off the beaten path in the most unexpected locations!
For more information on XO Baking Co.'s full product line and a store locator, click here.
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. This review is a reflection of my personal opinion and has not been influenced in any way.