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Flour Girl: Gluten-free and easy

If you don't have gluten-free dietary restrictions GF baked goods hold little allure. The category is usually reserved for those with celiac disease or an intolerance to wheat. Few offerings can pass muster as "crossover" items.

King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Brownies. (James M. Thresher for The Washington Post)

Many food manufacturers have jumped on the GF bandwagon, recognizing that it's a growing and lucrative market. But has the rush to be on the shelves adversely affected their quality?

King Arthur has taken its time developing a new line of GF baking mixes, to good effect. I don't need to bake GF, so I compared the quality with that of regular boxed mixes I use from time to time.

Of the seven mixes -- Bread, Pizza Crust, Cookie, Brownie, Chocolate Cake, Muffin and Pancake -- I tried two. My favorite was the brownie. (No surprise there.) The mix makes some of the best brownies I've had from a box, GF or otherwise. They were chewy and deeply chocolaty. I'm not usually an edge-girl, preferring the tenderness of center-cut brownies. Yet I found that with this mix, the edge pieces were equally enticing.

The muffins tasted a little like nutmeg-scented cornbread; a bit overbearing for my palate. They require mix-ins (as do the cookies, pictured as chocolate chip on the box). I understand the rationale behind not including chips or nuts in mixes; they stay shelf-stable longer and offer more flexibility. But when I grab a mix for convenience, I like it to be as self-contained as possible.

Another advantage to the King Arthur line is customization. These mixes are not just a multi-purpose GF flour (which is a separate King Arthur product). Pizza, pancakes and bread mixes contain xantham gum for stability and structure. Cookies and brownies don't need it, so those mixes don't have it.

The line is certified kosher and produced in an allergen-free facility; available at supermarkets ($5.95 to $6.95) and through

-- Leigh Lambert

Editor's note: Flour Girl's going on maternity leave. We'll try to keep readers' baking needs in mind with other blogposts.

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By Leigh Lambert  |  April 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl  | Tags: Flour Girl, Leigh Lambert, baking, gluten-free  
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THANK YOU for bringing more awareness to the gluten-free cause. We appreciate you highlighting gluten-free options.

We've posted a link to your article under Latest News on our website:

Posted by: GlutenFreeResearch | April 8, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

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