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Friday, September 30, 2011

REVIEW: Fun-da-middles Cupcakes

Fun-da-middles are a lot of Fun

Thank you Betty Crocker for giving me the opportunity to try your new product. First of all, I find the name to be quite clever and well, fun. And the package has a cheerful, sunny look that catches your attention.
Soon after beginning, I couldn't help but think of my grandkids and how much they would enjoy helping grandma make these cupcakes.

They come in several varieties: Yellow Cake with Creamy Vanilla filling, Chocolate cake with Creamy Vanilla  filling, Yellow Cake with Creamy Chocolate filling. 
 
I made the Yellow Cake with Creamy Vanilla filling.

After mixing the ingredients of cake mix, water, oil and eggs, fill 12 paper cupcake inserts about 1/3 full. The convenience of the already prepared filling is great. Just knead the package containing the filling about 20 times (the kids/grandkids would have fun helping with this part), cut the tip off one of the corners of the package and squeeze evenly in the center of all 12 cupcakes.
Finish filling with remaining cake batter, making sure to completely cover the filling with the batter and then bake. It's almost too easy!

After removing from the oven, I immediately transferred the cupcakes from the pan to a wire rack for cooling. I could hardly wait to try them, the sweet aroma was incredible.
And the taste - even more incredible. That sweet aroma I had been smelling didn't disappoint my taste buds. Still slightly warm, because I just couldn't wait for them to cool, it reminded me of a Twinkie on a really good day.
The cake was very moist and the filling was just right and just enough.

I picked up a can of Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting. I have always frosted my cupcakes, but quite honestly, these cupcakes don't need it.

I recommend picking up a box of these cupcakes and your kids or grandkids and see for yourself how much they'll enjoy helping you with this quick and easy recipe. There's a good reason they call them Fun-da-middles.

You can find Fun-da-middles cupcake mix at any of your local grocery stores, they sell for around $3.29 a box and it easily makes a dozen cupcakes. Go to Betty Crocker's website for coupons and some really great recipes.

I really enjoyed making this new and great idea for cupcakes. Can't wait to try the Chocolate with Creamy Vanilla filling. I might even throw in some Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream or Breyer's Vanilla Bean!

Thanks for visiting and if you have also tried these new cupcakes and would like to share your comments, I would love to hear from you.

Maybe you have a product you would like me to review or a family recipe to share. I would love to post your Family Favorite recipe or a special family story right here. And don't forget about that family photo too!

Until next time! VA


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

REVIEW: Milk Chocolate Brownies

Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownies

I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur when it comes to brownies. I've baked, bought and sampled all varieties. I like the Blondie brownies, but my preference is most definitely chocolate. And to be fair, I've never tried butterscotch brownies. I'm not sure why other than I simply always reach for the chocolate!

There is a couple recipes that I love and make often that are made with butterscotch chips. Butterscotch oatmeal cookies (who don't love these!) - I always make butterscotch oatmeal cookies at Christmas time and my favorite from one of my first postings was my terrific daughter-in-law Jessica and her awesome cake "Chocolate Passion." Although the recipe calls for Sanders Caramel topping, I have used both caramel and a caramel/butterscotch mix and it's was equally as scrumptious.
When Betty Crocker sent me a sample of their new Milk Chocolate Brownies, I couldn't wait to bake them.

So once again, I decided to bake them and share with the staff at The Oakland Press. It's a great way to treat them and get a lot of feedback on the product. (I hope they don't get too spoiled).

But before I share their comments with you, let me tell you what I thought about these brownies.

Wonderful! I loved the texture of these brownies. They are soft and slightly chewy with a gentle chocolate flavor. I immediately noticed the lighter color of these brownies as I removed them from the oven, it left no doubt that they were milk chocolate.
I made these in a 9 x 13 size pan, but if you want a thicker brownie you could bake in a smaller 9 x 9 pan. Myself, I prefer the thinner chewier brownie over a thicker stickier textured brownie. Although, I think these would still have more of that soft and chewy texture that I love.
If a "cake-like" thick brownie is what you're looking for - it's probably not going to be this brownie. I love chocolate cake, but if I want cake - I'll bake a cake!
I stuck to the recipe when baking these brownies, but next time I'll make a couple changes. I'll add some walnuts and because of the mild milk chocolate, not-too-sweet flavor,  I will frost with the Betty Crocker milk chocolate frosting.
Pick up a box of Betty Crocker's Milk Chocolate Brownies or any of their other fabulous brownie mixes and bake them yourself and your family. Kids love brownies, a glass of milk and one of these brownies will say "I Love You" after a long week at school!
Let me know what you thought about them by leaving your comment right here. Would love your feedback.
Now here's what The Oakland Press newsroom had to say:

Katie Bontinen: They were chewy which is my favorite type of brownie! 5-Stars!

Dustin Blitcho: Your brownie was GREAT...perfect consistency! It almost brought a tear to my eye, thinking of countless nights spent huddled in my Detroit tenement, eating cereal with a fork due to a self-induced shortage of clean dishes...

Steve Frye: This brownie was very good... chewy, not too sweet. I'd eat five more.

Nicole Robertson: These were tasty, but didn't seem any different from other brownies I've eaten. Of course, I prefer them with walnuts, so if I were making those, I WOULD add the nuts. :)

Carol Hopkins: I like brownie's texture - but am longing for even more chocolatey flavor

Dave Phillips: It was good. Nice texture, not too dry but not too moist. I would eat it again.

Shaun Byron: a little too chewy, but still better than store bought.

Kathy Blake: They are delicious, the perfect level of chocolate and chewey goodness.

Valerie West: The texture was perfectly chewy - could be thicker, but who really needs those extra calories. The color was a lighter brown, perhaps because it was milk chocolate? You bring the chocolate, I'll bring the milk - 4 stars!

Julie Jacobson: These brownies were awesome. I love the unadulterated flavor of pure milk chocolate, no chocolate chips or chocolate drizzles making it too complicated. These were just the plain/moist/creamy/chewy texture of a brownie that I could eat an entire pan full.


There you have it - straight from those that know what they like!




I enjoyed reviewing this product from Betty Crocker - it was both fun and delicious! If you would like to send me your product (food, gadgets) for review or your favorite recipe, I would love to hear from you.
Until next time - VA

Monday, September 5, 2011

Betty Crocker Molasses Cookie

Molasses Cookie Mix by Betty Crocker

What’s the best and best tasting way to give a product a genuine, from the heart review? Bake ‘em up and offer ‘em up to The Oakland Press newsroom!
Betty Crocker recently sent me one of their new products here at the paper – a molasses cookie mix. I’m always looking for an excuse to bake, yet get it out of the house quickly. No one enjoys a great homemade treat like the crew at the OP, so I decided to take the mix home, bake them and bring them in for the gang.
As people came in to my office, I offered them a cookie or two and then asked everyone to give me a sentence or so of what they thought about the cookies. Some even rated them from 1-5 with 5 being awesome!
They say that timing is everything. I would have to agree when it comes to the impeccable timing of Kelly Dolan of Coyne Public Relations. Hardly a morsel of a cookie was left when her call came in asking what I thought of the product. My first thought, when I was told that “Betty Crocker” was on the phone, was that it was a staffer being a jokester. I quickly realized that the person on the phone was indeed a very nice woman calling about the cookies! All I could think was “how did she know we just devoured all those molasses cookies! Hidden camera? Nope, obviously Betty Crocker got it right with not only the cookies but with Kelly Dolan. She has a nose for their products and impeccable timing.

Now read what the Oakland Press staffers had to say about Betty Crocker’s Molasses cookies:

I would rate the cookies a 4.5. They were much more moist and tender than most molasses cookies I've tasted, that tend to be tough because of the high sugar content. The only thing that would have bumped them up from a 4.5 to a 5 would be a more buttery taste, a tad more creamy. But the actual molasses taste and consistency were excellent!
____Julie Jacobson Hines

 Slap yo' granny good! 5.5 stars

_____Valerie West

The cookies were baked perfectly, just the right size with nice texture. The flavor was not very natural though. I liked them and give them a 3. 

____Kathy Blake

I give them a 4.5 but if they were a little more "man size" they'd get a 5!!!

_____Vaughn Gurganian


They were definitely a 5! They were so soft and spiced perfectly!

_____Katie Bontinen


Vicki, I would give them a 3 because of the quality and the softness of the cookie. I couldn't give them a 5 because if I were to choose a cookie mix for my family, I probably wouldn't pick molasses cookie mix — unless it was on sale and it was for really little kids who haven't already garnered a tastes for chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies, which are our family's all-time favorites. All my daughter's six kids learned how to make them by the time they were four or five (with her help of course). As teenagers, it seems like every time I visit, one or the other is always making a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

_____Diana Dillaber

The cookies were tasty, soft and chewy and filled with molasses goodness.
­­­­
_____Stephen Frye

I think they were awesome and rate them a 5. They were really soft and tasted just right. Sometimes they (molasses cookies) taste like all molasses but these did not. Thanks

_____Mary Cook


I have to say the Molasses cookies are incredibly epic. They were the perfect start to my Labor Day weekend. Great Job Vicki :)

_____Chris Laine


I like them -- not too sweet, and much softer and milder than those store-bought Ginger Snap cookies. I bet they would be great dunked in milk! I'd give them a 4.

_____Ann Zaniewski


 They were not too sweet which is how I like them. They had a nice consistency and great flavor.

_____Walt Arsenault_____Not on staff, but how could I leave the house filled with the warm molasses aroma of fresh baked cookies and no samples!


This is a very easy cookie to make. The mix has basically all the ingredients right in the bag. Add an egg, butter, water and bake!

Come back next week when the Oakland Press gang gives me their thoughts on another new product by Betty Crocker. One of my all time favorites, got even better!

Thanks everyone! Until next time. VA