Mix Box by Homemade Bakers is a monthly baking subscription box that sends you ingredients to create a new dessert from scratch in your own home. Everything is pre-measured and they also sometimes include specific kitchen tools that will be helpful with the recipe as well.
They offer monthly recipes but also allow subscribers to switch to an alternative recipe if they prefer. One of these is always cinnamon rolls, which is the box that I'm reviewing today. You can also purchase this box as a one-time order here.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About This Baking Subscription Box
The Subscription Box: Mix Box by Homemade Bakers
The Cost: $26.95/month + free shipping
The Products: pre-portioned ingredients for a new baked dessert, and often includes a kitchen tool that is helpful with that recipe
Ships to: US
Total Time According to Mix Box: 45 minutes
Actual Time: 50-55 minutes
Each box comes with the recipe information card and instructions.
Also included is a card that lists everything you need, listed by what items are in your box and what extras you'll need. The only ingredients you need to provide yourself are meltable/perishable ones like milk and eggs and butter.
I also appreciated that they included all the ingredients of everything they send you.
They also sent optional instructions for "upgrading" the icing by including cream cheese.
Metal Pastry Scraper - Estimated Value ~$5
Mix Box included a pastry scraper in this box to help with rolling the dough up into the actual rolls and I'm glad they did because it was certainly helpful. I'm happy to have something that I can hold onto for my own recipes at home, too.
All the ingredients they send are sealed in plastic bags and labeled with numbers which are referenced in the instructions.
Obviously, the first thing to do is gather everything you need.
Step #2 was to put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Step #3 was to melt the butter in the microwave and whisk it into the buttermilk. Here is where I came across my first trip-up. They didn't say anywhere to make sure the buttermilk was warmed, and if you pour melted butter into cold buttermilk it's going to harden again and turn into weird lumps in the milk. They say to whisk very quickly, I assume so you can avoid this, but despite my best efforts it still hardened. I warmed the milk only slightly and whisked again, and got them to blend well. No big deal! Then, step #4 was to stir the butter and milk mixture into the well of the flour with a wooden spoon until the mixture was combined into the dough.
Step #5 calls to sprinkle the work surface flour that they included in a separate bag onto the counter and then transfer the dough to the work surface for 30 seconds of kneading.
After 30 seconds of kneading, you were supposed to be able to "pat the dough into a 9x15 inch rectangle." Well, as soon as I started to knead it I could tell the dough was actually quite wet still. I kept kneading thinking the work surface flour could work itself into the dough some and help it become more workable, but the dough sucked up the work surface flour and then stuck straight to my counters, and my hands were covered in a sticky dough glove. Maybe I should have rubbed a small bit of oil on my hands before working to help that, but regardless, I could tell the dough was too wet for kneading. I added a little bit more flour gradually and got it to a place where I felt better, but not great. I didn't want to add too much dough and make it bready and dry, but I wasn't getting it to work in a way that felt quite right.
Note: They have a bubble on the info sheet saying where to find recipe videos for some extra help with the recipes. I watched this, looking at how the dough they show acts/looks, and even though they say their dough is "slightly sticky" it looks much more accurate than mine. My dough was not "slightly" sticky; it was unworkable. I'm really not sure what happened. I'm responsible for measuring the 1 & 1/4 cup buttermilk for the recipe, but measuring cups are standard so I shouldn't have been able to measure way too much accidentally.
Still, I tried my best to pat it into the 9x15 rectangle it called for. It wasn't as easy as the recipe made it sound like it would be. Listen, I'm not an expert baker but I'm not a novice and I've worked with doughs enough to feel that I generally confidently know how they're supposed to feel or act. I spread this dough out as much as I could, knowing that I could possibly stretch it a little once it's rolled into a log if I felt it was too short to get all 8 rolls I needed. (spoiler: I didn't need to, I still got 8-9 good rolls with my rectangle being smaller than 9x15.) You can see areas with some holes because the sticky dough would cling to my hands while I tried "patting" and repairing the holes and evening the dough out before adding the filling. I really did my best, guys.
I brushed it with butter, added the filling, and using the help from the pastry scraper, rolled my cinnamon bun log up! They included a ton of filling! Yum.
Step #7 says to grease your 9-inch cake pan, and #8 said to cut the dough into 8 pieces and arrange in your baking pan, and finish up with 2 tbs of melted butter over the top! My rolls may not have looked picture-perfect and a little dilapidated but as long as they tasted good I didn't mind. I popped them into the pre-heated oven to bake for 23-25 minutes. I set my timer to the lowest suggested time, 23 minutes since I can always check on them and let them cook another minute instead of accidentally overbaking them.
I mixed up the softened cream cheese, milk, and bag #3 filled with powdered sugar. What could be easier, right? Somehow my icing was more gloopy than smooth and creamy. But the flavors were all right so I figured I could just smear it on the buns instead of drizzling.
Here's how my cinnamon rolls were right out of the oven! They smelled amazing! I had some issues with the filling melting and pooling into the bottom of the pan, around the base of each cinnamon roll, but I don't think that mattered much. As long as you warmed them again before eating later after they cooled, it wasn't a big deal.
Here are my finished cinnamon rolls! To be completely honest, the flavors were all very good, but the texture just isn't what I'm used to for cinnamon rolls. They weren't the kind of fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth, gooey, pull-apart texture I love about classic cinnamon rolls. Maybe this is because this was a recipe that didn't use yeast? Maybe I added a little too much flour trying to make the dough workable? I'm not really sure. My family and I each ate one happily, but they weren't so irresistible that we polished off the pan.
The Verdict: To make this short and sweet (like a cinnamon roll?), I really wasn't impressed with my first Mix Box. I love baking and have jumped into experimenting and challenging myself with different recipes and desserts over this past year. I was excited to try their cinnamon roll recipe because what could be more classic and widely-loved than a cinnamon roll? For a basic kind of baked good, a perfect cinnamon roll can be divine. Unfortunately, I felt that the process of making these cinnamon rolls was difficult and honestly a little frustrating trying to troubleshoot what I could have been doing wrong. Even after watching their video I still feel the same way. Boxes like these definitely can suffer from user error, but I just don't feel that I'm so inexperienced that this was particularly challenging for me. From their website I can see that Mix Box has sent out some delicious sounding recipes like Strawberry White Chocolate Scones, Pecan Cinnamon Apple Squares, Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, etc. All of those sound great, and more complex than Cinnamon Rolls. I'd love to try some of their other recipes that feel more special and unique.
As far as value goes, I know there's a lot of novelty in baking and cooking boxes in the convenience of having the pre-measured amounts of the ingredients you need included and being challenged to make a recipe you may not have tried to create on your own. But $26.95 for one batch of 8 cinnamon rolls, however conveniently packaged the ingredients are, seems steep to me. I do like that I have a pastry scraper to keep and re-use, I'm not sure that really makes it feel right for me.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, this box is available as a 1-time purchase, or as an option to swap to this recipe instead of the monthly one before your box ships each month. Mix box offers spoilers for upcoming recipes, and honesty they sound amazing: November's box is Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Pie, December is Mochal Snowball Cookies, and January is a Gingerbread Spice Cake. Boxes ship the first week of each month.
Value Breakdown: At $26.95 for this box, taking into account ~$5 of value from the pastry scraper (leaving $21.95 of the cost) you are ultimately paying about $2.75 per cinnamon roll (not including the cost of the additional required milk & butter). This is probably on par with what you’d pay at a local bakery, however, my guess would be that the fresh professional baked good would be larger, have a heavenly texture, and prettier appearance.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think about my experience with the cinnamon roll recipe from Mix Box by Homemade Bakers? Have you tried them, or a baking box before?