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October 7, 2013

Among Friends Hand-Crafted Baking Mixes

by Anne Paddock

Walk down the baking aisle of any grocery store and notice there is more shelf space devoted to mixes than raw ingredients which could be good (if whole grains, natural ingredients, and real spices are used) or bad (if the ingredients include white flour, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives), People are busy so boxed mixes have a place – albeit a big place – in our lives but we don’t have to sacrifice nutrition and taste for time if Among Friends Hand-crafted Baking Mixes are chosen because these mixes are “free of all the bad stuff.”

Suzie Miller and Lizann Anderson, two friends who share a passion for fresh from the oven baked goods made from the best ingredients, have created six mixes – five cookie and one crisp topping   – that make baking easy for those days when treats from scratch are impractical. Three of the cookie mixes are gluten-free and all of the mixes have recognizable high quality ingredients that make absolutely delicious cookies.

Suzie and Lizann, through their easy baking mixes are “trying to change the way people eat…one cookie at a time.” With a belief that “friends don’t let friends eat white flour,” they truly are making the cookie jar a better place….one mix at a time.

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To make the cookies, add 1-2 eggs (or egg substitute) and 4-6 tablespoons of unsalted butter (or vegan substitute) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla (in two of the mixes), stir, and drop on a non-stick cookie sheet (I prefer parchment paper for easy removal). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes for small cookies and 8-10 minutes for medium sized cookies (don’t overbake; the cookies will firm up as they cool). It’s that simple.

Each cookie mix comes in a 12-17-ounce pouch (that makes approximately 30 small cookies or about 20 medium sized cookies) and is named after a family member or friend:

Suzie Q’s:  An oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix that contains organic whole oat and whole wheat pastry flour, chocolate chips, natural brown sugar, organic cane sugar, organic ground flax seed, baking soda and sea salt. The company’s bestseller and a true stand-out among cookie mixes. For a delicious vegan version, consider using 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of apple sauce (instead of the butter), 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal and 3 tablespoons of water (instead of an egg) and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.400919_424846387578254_902692822_n

Evan’s Heavenly: A spelt oatmeal raisin cookie mix that contains organic whole oats, organic whole spelt flour, natural brown sugar, organic Thompson raisins, organic cane sugar, almond meal, organic flax seeds, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. A delicious chewy oatmeal cookie reminiscent of the old days when oatmeal cookies were always made from scratch.

CJ’s: A double chocolate cookie mix that is gluten-free although it seems impossible because they taste so heavenly. Made with gluten-free oat flour, organic cane sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, organic ground flax seed, coffee powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Full of chocolate flavor and not too sweet, these cookies will satisfy any chocolate cookie craving.Among-Friends-CJs-Double-Chocolate-Cookie-Mix-094922976765

Phil’em Up: A chocolate cranberry cookie that is gluten-free and flavor-rich. Made with gluten-free oat flour and rolled oats, natural brown sugar, chocolate chips, dried cranberries (sulfite free), organic cane sugar, coconut, baking soda, and sea salt. Adults and kids love these chocolate chip and cranberry cookies. My daughter makes these cookies using 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 3 tablespoons of homemade applesauce (instead of the butter), 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal and 3 tablespoons of water (instead of an egg), and 1 teaspoon of vanilla…and we can’t stop eating these cookies…that is, if they ever make it to the cookie jar because we find ourselves eating the cookie dough right from the bowl.427888_424847077578185_848415624_n

Shane’s Sweet-n-Spicy:  A molasses ginger cookie that is gluten-free and made with gluten-free oat flour, natural brown sugar, organic cane sugar, molasses granules, organic ground flax seed, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, clove, lemon peel, star anise and seed. Just good old-fashioned natural ingredients that make a just right sweet and spicy chewy cookie. Somehow these cookies taste special in the Autumn although they are delicious all year-round. My daughter thinks these cookies make great ice cream sandwiches using coconut milk based ice cream. 304387_424846777578215_810370799_n

Trish the Dish is an Any Kind of Fruit Crisp Mix made with gluten-free oats, natural brown sugar, gluten-free oat flour, organic ground flax seed, almond meal, sea salt, cinnamon, orange peel, and nutmeg. An easy topping that requires adding unsalted butter (or a vegan substitute) to make the mixture crumbly before pouring over fresh or frozen fruit and then baking. Each 13 ounce bag makes enough crumble/crisp for a 9 inch by 13 inch pan.

The mixes are at select supermarkets and specialty health food markets across the country including Whole Foods (I purchased all 6 varieties at the Whole Foods in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida). See the company’s website for a location near you. To purchase on-line, go to the company website where the mixes are $5.99 each. Vitacost also carries the mixes for approximately $5.49 each and www.amazon.com offers 6 mixes for $32.99 with shipping free for Prime members.

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