Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baking Mix as Gifts

My neighbors and I were chit chatting outside while kids played together. One of my neighbors loves pumpkin. She loves it so much that she gets her share of pumpkin latte in the season. So, I gave her one small jar of the 'Pecan Pumpkin Butter' I made the other day. Then she started talking about her having bought 'Libby's Pumpkin Bread Mix' from the store and she is going to make it when she has company. Topic came to me using that (she has eaten my pumpkin bread and loves it) and I said I prefer to bake from scratch. That is when I decided to write this post.  If you want me to write about how to make different mixes and give you the details of using it, leave a comment. I will try to cover some of the basic mix recipes before holiday season starts.

I am sure you will have read the ingredients section on any cake mix or brownie mix. But there are lot of people who think cake mixes are almost a miracle (like my neighbor). You get perfect results almost every time. I still haven't met a person who can fail to make a decent cake using a cake mix. Reason? Ingredients and the ratio. These baking mixes are a result of extensive research and experiment.

Many people like to give 'brownie in a jar' or 'cookie in a jar' as gifts. You might consider doing the same too. With the way economy is going, I am sure everyone is on a budget and would love to give gifts that don't hurt their budget. This is one great way of achieving that. If you still want to add a small gift, get a whisk, spatula or a nice pan, pair of mittens or couple of kitchen towels. When you add one of these inexpensive gifts to a jar of baking mix that you made with the instructions of how to use it, it makes a great gift. Of course these work if you are giving gifts to people who love to bake and not for everyone.

If you are thinking why I am writing this when you already know these, answer is to share with you a basic tip about personalizing your baking mix. You don't have to follow a brownie in a jar recipe. You can use one of your favorite and convert it into a mix. It does have some limitations though. Limitations are the fat part of the recipe should be either melted butter, oil or shortening. Since creaming of butter and sugar doesn't work with this idea, those recipes have to be first converted to use liquid fat or to use shortening.

Let's take the example of the 'Pumpkin Bread' and let's convert my pumpkin bread into a 'Pumpkin Bread Mix'.
This is what the ingredients list for my pumpkin bread. I am going to make it as a mix and make two 9 X 5 loaves.
Ingredients: (Copied from the original post)
Pumpking - 1 cup (I used canned)
Whole Wheat flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Corn starch - 1/4 cup (or more all purpose flour)
Sugar - 1 cup
Baking Soda - 1 tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Oil - 1/2 cup (I have used half applesauce before and it comes out fine)
Water - 1/3 cup
Flax meal - 2 TBSP
Warm water to mix with flax meal - 6 TBSP
Ground cinnamon - 1 tsp
Ground Ginger - 1 tsp
Ground Cloves - 1/2 tsp
Ground Nutmeg - 1/8 tsp
Ground All spice - 1/4 tsp
Ground Cardamom - 1/8 tsp

Double all the dry ingredients. Mix all the dry ingredients together well. Place in a fancy jar or a bag. Tie with a ribbon and add a 15 Oz can of pumpkin puree and the note with following details:
"Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease two 9 X 5 loaf pans with vegetable oil spray. Mix in a bowl, the pumpkin puree with 2/3 cup of water, 1 cup of oil and 4 eggs (or 4 flax eggs for vegan version). Beat well.  Add the contents of the jar and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean."

Viola, you made a pumpkin bread mix. How easy was that? It cost about 8 dollars for the same mix and you can make it for less than 2 dollars.

Enjoy and do let me know if this topic interests you. Do you have a recipe that you want to convert as a baking mix this season?
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  1. Yum! I'm brand new to your blog and found you at

    I have a recipe addiction and can browse for hours. I'm going to try baking this! I'm going to a wedding in a couple of weeks and what a lovely gift to add to card with money stash;) I have a creative crafty project perfect for this jar:)

    I run a little blog all about crafting/ cardmaking. But my other love is cooking. Especially since I'm a Vegetarian! I have a HUGE range of veggie meals and look forward to future post!

    Happy to have stumbled over here.

  2. this is a great idea Champa. many of my friends love the cakes that I bake and they would be happy to receive such gifts from me. will do this for Christmas this year.

  3. What a beautiful idea & the recipe sounds awesome.

  4. wow, that does sound easy to keep the dry ingredients like that. I mean even in my house when I have time, I can mix these and then don't have to mix it on the go and bake from that by just adding some wet ingredients like eggs, butter and milk etc.,

    good idea. !!!

  5. Priya,
    Yes. You can do that. I used to do that when I was on bed rest during pregnancy and was allowed only few minutes of standing time. My staple one was to have all the dry ingredients for loaf of bread in a ziploc bag.

    Thanks everyone for taking time to leave few words. I appreciate it.

  6. Interesting bread mix, thanks for sharing..I love to make these sort of baking mix..

  7. It's like a hand on mix always. Thanks for sharing..

  8. This is an interesting post, Champa... Like Priya said above, i'm looking forward to making these mixes for various cakes and keep for quick use... Well, how long does it stay and should we keep these mixes in fridge? By common sense, it should last as long as the expiry date of the ingredients, but do BP/BS lose their effect when mixed with other stuff or something?

  9. Sum,
    You are correct in saying that these are good as long as the Baking powder and or baking soda in the mix is good. They do not react with any other ingredient unless they get moisture from a liquid. So, if you have sealed the bag or jar properly, they are good. However, mixes (coming soon) which have shortening might start smelling sooner than that. I prefer to refrigerate those.

  10. Thanks, Champa! I'm seriously thinking of making mixes and keeping handy for use in time crunch... Thank u thank u!

  11. i found another good use for this.. gift it to all the to be dads..since the moms will be tired and will crave some fun foods, the dads can bake these and surprise the wives (ok, maybe a far fetched idea).. :)

    definitely a great idea though. i am going to try your pumpkin bread soon.. i think i am going to keep november as my make another blogger's recipe month!

    Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

  12. Interesting idea. Good one Champa.

  13. I would love these for gifting as well as for myself as time savers. A simple, versatile granola bar mix which can be tweaked to personal preference please??


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