I’ve said it before and I will say it again I am not a baker by any stretch of the imagination. While I do love to cook, baking was just something that I never took a shine to. Therefore I am always on the hunt for great tasting gluten-free mixes to give me a bit of baking help. When one of the founders of Bumbalooza Mixes reached out to me she was so passionate about her products that I was instantly intrigued to give them a try. I am all about supporting up and coming gluten-free companies and particularly enjoy when they bring unique products to the gluten-free market.
Now you are likely thinking there are a ton of gluten-free mixes out there — and there are. I too was wondering what would make these stand apart but soon found out. You see these mixes, while super easy and foolproof, do require you to actually do a bit more than just adding water — but that’s what truly sets them apart. Well, that and the ingredients — all natural and less refined that you can actually recognize.
I sampled Bumbalooza’s Chocolate Pudding, Banana Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and if I had to pick a signature item from their line, their Gooey Oatmeal Bar mixes. Not being a baker, I rarely have what many would call the baking essentials on-hand with any regularity — but with a little advanced planning before a visit to the market i was easily able to source the necessary ingredients to complete the mixes.
First up was the chocolate pudding. What is nice about this is its simplicity — the mix contains just four ingredients and all I had to do was add milk, butter, and vanilla. Easy peasy — mix and chill. The real ingredients allow you to enjoy the flavors as they were meant to taste. The pudding is wonderfully full of rich cocoa notes but (as is the case with all the mixes) not too sweet — the perfect balance in my opinion.
The next mix I tried was the Banana Bread and it must be fate because I had purchased some bananas earlier in the week and they had fast become overripe. Thankfully the mix required the exact amount that I had sitting on my counter. I did have to source some plain Greek yogurt at the market as I only have flavored on hand with any regularity. Butter — well that is something that I am never without. Back to my lack of baking skills — I did not have the proper-sized loaf pan so I had to improvise and ended up using a muffin/cupcake pan to make mini individual “loaves”. Again, this tweak on my part demonstrates the versatility of the mixes because the muffins were amazing. Perfectly moist (and remained so until I was able to finish the last off) with just a hint of spiciness that you look for in a good banana bread. Again, these had just a hint of sweetness which allowed the flavor of the bananas to come through perfectly.
The Chocolate Chip Cookie mix we next in my baking cycle and did not disappoint. I did have to make one minor tweak to the add-in ingredients because shortening is not something that I ever have on hand so replaced it with a bit of oil which worked just fine. These cookies have a great texture — slightly crisp on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. There is no shortage of chocolate chips in these but once again these are not too sweet and perfectly balanced.
The final mix that I tried was their Gooey Oatmeal Bar mix which was probably the most intimidating of the mixes for me given my aversion to baking. Once again, I did not have the proper-sized pan needed so I improved and whipped-out my trusty muffin/cupcake pan and decided to make individual-sized mini cake “bars”. This mix does require the addition of melted caramel, which believe it or not, I had a surplus of thanks to a favorite candy mix that I always pick-up in Bermuda at Christmas. I typically eat around the wrapped caramels opting for the chocolate bits and I am usually left with a tin containing tons of caramels that usually end up heading for the trash. Not this year. I unwrapped all of them and used them in this mix and they were amazing. This mix had a few additional steps like baking the bottom layer before adding the melted caramel and topping off with the remaining mix but again, these mixes are truly foolproof and the end result was not only beautiful but delicious. These come out perfectly soft with a slight crust and have a subtle saltiness that helps to elevate the flavor of the perfectly melted caramel center.
Bumbalooza products are targeted to parents and kids offering instructions that are tailored to letting kids help along with fun facts about the key ingredient in each mix. That being said, don’t let their whimsy put you off trying them. I do not have children but appreciate great new high quality gluten-free products. Bumbalooza also takes the time and effort to ensure a gluten-free product. They have a four-step process in place — including having their mixes tested by a third party lab to ensure that their mixes are all <5 ppm. I truly appreciate it when companies take this on themselves vs. third party credentialing and only wish more companies would follow this lead.