When you think of an all purpose baking mix, you might think of something like Bisquick. Bisquick is a mix of flour, salt, leavening and fat – shelf-stable shortening – that can be used in a huge variety of different recipes just by adding a few simple ingredients to it. You can make pancakes, biscuits and casseroles, just for starters. But although it can be used in so many ways, Bisquick really is a savory mix and when you use it to make a coffee cake or something, you can taste that salt in the finished product. There are cake mixes, but there really aren’t any all purpose sweet baking mixes that can be used in the same way. Or there weren’t, until the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens developed the Betty Crocker Dessert Mix. This dry mix is much the same as Bisquick, but it is sweet and has vanilla added to it. You can use it for cakes, muffins, cookies, quickbreads, scones and other sweet baked goods just by changing what you add to that mix. It’s very versatile, and adaptable enough that you can still feel like you’re making real homemade baked goods even though you’re using a bit of a shortcut.
The mix is good, and easy to use. I liked it a lot better than most cake mixes, for instance, because it really gave baked goods a good texture – not that overly tender/fluffy boxed cake mix texture. Cookies had a cookie texture, and muffins (like those pictured below) had good solid muffin texture. The mix has a great vanilla flavor and comes with some quick vanilla icing if you’re looking for an easy way to finish off those desserts, as well. The mix is a new product and won’t be in all stores for a couple of months, but chains like Costco have picked it up and you’ll probably start to see it there before anywhere else.