I feel like I’ve reviewed a fair number of subscription services. From personal shoppers for clothing, to wine, to meal kits, to meal kits, to flowers…I mean, I know there are lots more things I could be looking at like beauty boxes and things for pets, but honestly, those aren’t as important to me for making sure I get to try new things on a regular basis. Probably the type that has been most visible in our house in the last year though, is the meal-delivery kits. The Boy and I may not do our Plated boxes as regularly as we did in the past, but the girls know that when the fridge is extra full with vegetables and bags of a variety of things, chances are that we’ll be making a special dinner for ourselves and they’ll be eating mac’n’cheese with peas (which they’re totally ok with).
But I had a stroke of genius when it came to subscription services come Christmas time. I was trying to figure out a gift for E – she’s energetic, fashionable, kind, and loves math. And I’ve gotten her books and other girly things in the past, but I wanted something that really spoke to her interests, and one of those is baking. So I think there was an ad that came across facebook for me in the fall advertising a company called Foodstirs, which I’d not heard a lot about before. I’d seen their baking kits in passing at Target, but didn’t know that they had a subscription element. And they do – it’s geared towards children, and every two months Foodstirs will send a kit with all the specialty tools and ingredients so that you can bake a fun dessert. So I got E a short subscription to it, and thought we’d see how it went.
Well, it’s going over like gangbusters. E loves having a box that is specially for her (though it’s addressed to me, we write her name across the top in red sharpie). She likes that she gets to have time set aside to do a fancy baking project. She loves getting to do the baking, even if some of the techniques are a little advanced and she has to ask for help. She likes being the one who gets to dole out the desserts when they’re done, and being able to say who gets which ones. She likes being able to look at the finished projects and be proud of herself, which she should be, because they have turned out very well, and they’re super cute.
The kit that arrived in February was “Sweetheart Brownies”, which were essentially fudge brownie donuts (!) dipped in icing (!!) covered in sprinkles (!!!). So, a real winner. Also, they turned out really well, tasted super yummy, and kept nicely for a couple days so we didn’t have to eat them all at once. The April kit is Earth Day themed, and is a twist on the old “Dirt” dessert that was super popular in the 90s, and substitutes the base layer of pudding for what is essentially a snickerdoodle cupcake. As I said above, there are a few steps that are a little more difficult for a child baker (separating eggs, whisking when the batter becomes thick, etc.) but it’s nice that E and I have a project that we get to do together.
My only qualm with this whole thing is that while everything is super cute, and the final products are adorable AND very tasty, they’re a bit on the expensive side. If you do a 3-kit subscription like I did for E, it works out to a little over $18 per box if you order it now. When the yield on the “dirt pots” is 6 total, you’re looking at $3 per pot, which is nearly as much as you’d pay for a gourmet cupcake from a bakery in DC. Why. WHY??? That’s crazy money, especially when baking and cooking at home are supposed to help you save! Fortunately for me, I purchased the gift subscription using a 25% discount code from Black Friday (though didn’t actually purchase the kit until January), and it made the whole thing a much more reasonable. And I will say that the customer service the whole time I was trying to use the discount code was phenomenal. Add to that the fact that the February kit was a few days late, and they sent us (everyone?) three coupons redeemable for free baking kits. Which means that we can make regular, non-super-adorable brownies, or pancakes or snickerdoodles for free a few times in the future.
So to conclude. Foodstirs is a subscription baking kit that is geared towards children. Pros: positive activity time with your child, super cute kits, excellent customer service. Cons: some steps could be frustrating for a child who wants to do it all on their own, expensive. Overall, we’ve had an excellent experience so far. I probably won’t renew the subscription when it runs out – or at least if I do renew it, it won’t be right away. I like the idea of using this as a special gift for Christmas or Birthday, and especially since it’s not another “thing”, and because it’s not taking up a lot of space under a Christmas tree or in a pile of presents. It may be a little esoteric and difficult for a child to comprehend at first (“You’re getting a present, and it’s coming three times, but you have to wait a few months for it to show up at all”), but once they do, I think it’s the kind of gift that they’ll love to get over and over.
Details: Foodstirs Baking Kit Subscriptions, starting from $18.99 per kit.