Always chocolate, from the beginning… memories of melting chocolate ice cream cones, foamy chocolate sodas at the drugstore, trading marshmallow treats for my favorite chocolate candy bars at Halloween… yes, my chocolate tooth developed early on.
And a taste for coffee. Mom always had a pot of coffee brewing in the morning, the rich aroma signaling the start of a new day. On hot, humid summer afternoons she sipped iced coffee and in the evening would let me have a few spoonfuls over my chocolate ice cream which tasted pretty fine. So, I sometimes add Kahlua to my brownies, liking the rich undertone it adds to the flavor.
Gluten-free brownie mixes work well for me because I do best on a low-sugar diet which means I bake dessert infrequently, and they travel well – easy to tuck into a suitcase. Over the years I have introduced my family and friends around the country to various gluten-free brownies mixes available in their area.
Having sampled a few different brownie mixes, my favorite is The Gluten-Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix. Obviously, this is a very personal decision as we all like different qualities in our brownies. I find the Gluten-Free Pantry brownie is moist with a nice chewy texture and a rich chocolate flavor (their mix has miniature chocolate chips in it). The directions are clear and easy. Dinner guests rave about them and often ask me for the recipe… then I have to reveal that they are gluten-free and a mix. No compromise with these brownies, in fact, they are better than regular brownies. I buy a case of six boxes from Amazon.com and save another 15% with the Subscribe & Save feature which makes the cost less than $20 for the case.
Being one of those people who uses a recipe as a guide, the same is true with a brownie mix… I always add 1/3 cup of dark chocolate chips, use a combination of butter & olive oil, and 1/2 cup of various kinds of nuts. Other additions can include a teaspoon of cinnamon or chopped up chunks of crystallized ginger, a couple of tablespoons of Kahlua or Frangelico hazelnut liqueur. Have fun.
In the spirit of a true taste test I also baked a batch of brownies from the Stonewall Kitchen and Pamela’s. The Stonewall Kitchen Gluten-free Chocolate Brownie Mix has the most attractive packaging and is unique in that they have a fudge packet that you swirl on top of the brownie batter before baking. The flavor was good, extra fudgy and moist. It is the most expensive of the three and has no suggestions for ingredient substitutions. Their recipe is easy and simply calls for 2 large eggs and 7 tablespoons of melted butter.
Pamela’s Gluten-free Ultra Chocolate Brownie Mix rose beautifully and are visually appealing. I find the texture a little grainy and the chocolate flavor too mild (even adding extra chocolate chips). I appreciate the many options on the bag: Original recipe using oil, a butter recipe, cake-like brownies, fudgy brownies, german chocolate brownies… or chocolate cookies or chocolate cake. Most mixes are adaptable but it is helpful to know the conversions from the source. Although the brownies are not my favorite Pamela’s Gluten-free Chocolate Chuck Cookie Mix and Gluten-free Luscious Chocolate Cake Mix definitely are.
Other brownie mixes you may enjoy:
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Brownie Mix – a good brownie with a Cream Cheese Brownie recipe variation
Namaste Foods Gluten-free Brownie Mix – will be testing soon
Ad-Hoc Gluten-free Brownie Mix – available from William Sonoma; the Ad-Hoc GF pancake mix is superb but does have milk powder in it as does the brownie mix and is expensive. A nice gift item.
Betty Crocker Gluten-free Brownie Mix – readily available, tastes similar to their regular brownie mix – good, but I can tell it is a mix
For those who like rich, dark chocolate chips, try Dagoba Organic Chocolate Fair Trade Certified 73% Cacao Premium Chocolate Drops in your brownies or chocolate chip cookies! My favorite.
What gluten-free brownie mix are you enjoying?