Ardenne Farm is one of my favorite gluten-free companies, because their fool-proof mixes always yield gloriously delicious and crowd-pleasing baked goods. Whenever I serve up sweets to my friends or family, usually the "secret recipe" is Ardenne Farm's mix.
The company's three newest mixes are their lemon poppy seed muffins, pumpkin streusel muffins, and snickerdoodle cookies. All three are gluten-free and vegan, which makes accommodating multiple allergens less of a headache. As the temperature has been falling here in Maryland, I figured it was prime time to test out these mixes out.
I love that baking with Ardenne Farm mixes don't require me to dirty a ton of dishes, and call for basic ingredients I usually have on hand (such as milk, butter/oil, and eggs). This means I can pick and choose which allergens go in and stay out of my baked goods based off of what dairy/egg/oil substitute I choose. For the mixes I reviewed, I used Earth Balance soy-free vegan buttery sticks in lieu of butter, canola oil for my oil, and almond milk for my milk. I did use eggs to bake the mixes, not an egg substitute.
The first mix I tried was the lemon poppy seed muffins. As a kid, lemon poppy seed muffins were my favorite weekend morning treat, and I have missed these muffins in my now-gluten-free life. Luckily, Ardenne Farm's mix doesn't require grating lemon zest or other ingredients that so many lemon poppy seed muffin recipes call for. Oil, eggs, and milk brought quickly and easily formed a batter, and there was enough mix to make a dozen generously-portioned muffins.
The muffins, once baked, have a wonderful, light crumb and bright lemon flavor, hailing from the whole dried lemons that are a part of the mix. The lemon-sweetness balance was spot on, and the abundance of poppy seeds brought a smile with every bite. Even though I have had a handful of lemon poppy seed muffins from gluten-free bakeries, these were by far the best I have tried!
Keeping on the muffin theme, the next batch I baked was the pumpkin streusel muffins. I have a not gone as pumpkin-crazy this year, so it was nice to be able to get that essential flavor of fall through these muffins. Like the lemon poppy seed muffins, the batter is easy to make, the only difference is the sprinkling of a sugar-and-butter streusel topping before baking.
After baking, I realized I should have been more generous with the streusel topping, but that didn't detract from my review. The blend of spices that give the muffins their mouthwatering aroma and taste work wonders, and the muffins achieve a moist, rich pumpkin flavor. They are not as fluffy as the lemon poppy seed muffins, but that worked well for these muffins, as the denser consistency reminded me of pumpkin pie. The streusel on top added a sweet start to every bite, and was slightly crispy, which made for an interest flavor and texture contrast that made the muffins absolutely irresistible. I recommend pairing these pumpkins with chai tea for an added element of bliss.
The third of the mixes is the classic snickerdoodle, with all of it's cinnamon-sugar charm. Once preparing a crumbly dough, the next step is to roll them in a cinnamon-sugar bath to quickly and easily achieve the essential snickerdoodle feature. I made my cookies far larger than recommended, which required a longer baking time, but the mix can make up to 20 cookies.
The cookies themselves have a buttery, sweet flavor. Other than a note of vanilla, the real heavy lifting in terms of flavor is done by the cinnamon-sugar, which I found that I did not roll enough on for my cookies. Clearly with that being a theme from my experience (with the cinnamon-sugar and streusel), I recommend to future bakers that the toppings are applied generously!
The cookies are crumbly, and have a shortbread-like texture. I ended up forming the cookies with my hands, but may have packed them too densely, because I was expecting them to spread out in the oven (which they largely did not). I had to flatten some out mid-bake which was not ideal, but again, the end result was still delicious. Friends in my dorm lingered by the kitchen once the aroma of the snickerdoodles wafted out in the hallway, and the cookies were soon gone once I began offering them to the curious bystanders. No one could believe they were gluten-free and dairy-free.
I was really impressed with all three of these mixes, and am completely exuberant that I have finally found a gluten-free lemon poppy seed muffin mix that will bring these muffins back into my regular baking rotation. While I made a few baking errors on my part, the end results were still delicious, and give me cause to uphold my high opinion of Ardenne Farm's products. They are the real deal, and a great solution for any gluten-free baker regardless of comfort in the kitchen. If I can make these using my awful dorm oven, they can be made by anyone.
For more information, or to order the mixes on Ardenne Farm's website, click here.
You can also shop for these, and other Ardenne Farm baking mixes on Amazon.
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 the above products independently and I was not compensated from my review. This review contains Amazon affiliate links. Should you purchase a product after clicking on the link, your price will remain the same but a small portion of the proceeds will go towards sustaining this blog so I can continue to bring you gluten and dairy-free restaurant and product reviews.