Saturday, May 7, 2011

{ a quick look at… } Baking mixes don't quite rise to my expectation

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Scones. Sometimes with fruit. Sometimes with chocolate. Sometimes with butter. Always with coffee (I know, I know, tea is much more British but I am a self-proclaimed coffee addict).

I've never made them from scratch. Nor I have I ever made them from a mix. I have not made them at home. I have not made them anywhere. 

But I've been tempted.

And I finally gave into the temptation while doing my weekly shopping at my local Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market when they had the canisters of bake mixes on sale (buy two get the third free).

I am a huge fan of Fresh & Easy. There is little that I've tried that I don't like. As for the baking goods, I love their pancake mixes (both the buttermilk and their blueberry make excellent waffles!). So I picked up the chocolate cupcake mix, the banana bread and the English-style scone mix.

The first one I made was the chocolate cupcake mix. Instead of making cupcakes though, I poured the batter into a loaf pan so I could have slices of chocolately goodness with my morning coffee. Of course, after it cooled long enough not to burn, I had to taste them, morning or not. First bite was nice and moist and I was quite pleased. But the third bite, well, it was not so good.

On the third bite, I crunched into something.

Hmm. Eggshell? Was I that messy preparing the mix? I wrote it off as eggshell.

Next morning, I cut myself another slice. First bite this time. Crunch. What the?

Ok, I have to be more careful, I thought. 

That night, I thought I'd have a little something after dinner. And just as I started to bite down, that familiar crunch feeling was there so I took the piece out of my mouth this time (I know, TMI, but bear with me) and squished the piece in my hand.

I was a bit shocked.

I couldn't quite tell if it was glass or plastic but one thing I was sure of: It wasn't eggshell. 

Needless to say, I figured I couldn't prove it was in the mix to begin with so I decided to chuck the rest of it not wanting to risk injury.

A couple of days ago, chocolate cupcakes mix disaster now in the past, I moved onto trying the English-style scone. Admission time. I sifted the mix into the bowl JUST IN CASE.

No foreign objects. Yay.

Craving chocolate, I decided to add chips to the mix but other than that, I stuck to the recipe on the box. 

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This time the disappointment comes from the actual end result. I really wanted to love them. However, I found the scones dry and bland, with the only burst of flavor coming from the added chocolate. Even toasting them and spreading some butter on them doesn't help. Maybe this is why the British eat scones with cream? I don't know. 

Anyone out there have a good recipe from scratch they love? Send it my way. I'm dying to try a good one now and conquer the homemade scone successfully.

In the meantime, I'll satisfy my scones craving with a trip to Rebecca's Coffeehouse for their yummy raspberry or blueberry scones. Now those are scones! I'll just hope that craving will hit in the morning, when they're fresh and hot. 

Oh! And what about the banana bread mix, you ask?

Uh, well, I kinda haven't worked up the nerve to try it yet.

Until next time,

Ani

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