Conventional brownies made from a packaged mix aren’t worth the calories. Before I totally gave up, I’d doctor the batter with a little espresso syrup and/or chocolate chips to try to disguise that “je ne sais quoi” texture and taste. My experience with GF brownies made from a mix has been fairly positive, something I attribute to finer ingredients, small batched production, and usually no chemicals or preservatives. I hoped that Trader Joe’s GF Brownie Mix would be as good as Stonewall Kitchen’s, or even Pamela’s (B+), but sadly, you’ll need whatever you decide to add to remediate brownies made from TJ’s mix.
Pluses: it’s free of wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy, and corn. On the negative side, the brownies are dark, almost black in color, too oily (easily fixed) and to the experienced, the flavor smacks of (whatever it is) that says: “BOX!”
If I were to make them again, I’d use 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 1/3 cup water or strong coffee. I’d also add 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts and a handful of chocolate chips, maybe even milk chocolate to create some variation in color. Another direction would be to add 1 teaspoon of orange zest and ice them with orange buttercream, chill, and then add a layer of chocolate ganache. Yep, that’s what I’d do next time. Except, next time, I’m going to make brownies from scratch!
Links to Stonewall Kitchen and Pamela’s GF Mixes take you to Amazon where you’ll find the best prices. If you like, support the companies by visiting their sites directly.
We don’t get Trader Joe’s here (England), and although we can get some US GF box mixes, like Bob’s Red Mill and Betty Crocker, they are very costly! We have one of our own though (Hale and Hearty) – I have to say I’m addicted to their ready made chocolate and date flapjacks (gluten and dairy-free!) – but it has never, ever, occurred to me to just adjust their instructions to make improvements to their mixes. It’s like I’ve been living in a cave and have just stepped out into the light. I can’t believe I’ve overlooked this option. Thank your for planting this seed in my brain!
Good luck and let me know what direction you go in and with what results. Does Amazon ship to the UK? If so, treat yourself to Stonewall Kitchen’s Brownie Mix. I’d love to know how it compares to Hale & Hearty’s. Also, if you haven’t already, try our recipe for “Uncle Howard’s Chocolate Ganache Tart”, easily our most looked at recipe. He lives in Hampshire 😉
Bummer, the mix wasn’t as tasty as planned. I made some divine GF/DF cookies the other day that were like little truffle brownies. I was completely impressed. They were so soft, moist and chocolaty 🙂
What type of flour(s) does TJ use? I tried Simply Organic’s mix from Whole Foods, and found the brownies sadly unlike proper brownies. (And the mix was all rice flour, FWIW.)
Reblogged this on foziasaeed.
Make “Uncle Howard’s Chocolate Ganache Tart.” It’s delicious, good for you and just happens to be gluten free. If you like chocolate, prepare to be amazed!
Too bad! Have you tried the Bob’s Red Mill brownie mix? I just did and my friends and I liked it…though I imagine a scratch version would still be better!
Thanks for the review. I make my own with black beans, stevia, cocoa powder, oil and eggs. Even my very picky fiance’ loves them. (and they’re easy to make)
Looks amazing! Sadly we don’t have TJ here, I have seen pictures of the great stuff they carry.
Thank you for following my new blog! Saw this today and they truly look amazing! I wish I had smell-a-vision! Thankfully I have a TJ’s literally around the corner from me.
I used Bob’s Red Mill before and they were a little oily as well. The taste was pretty good, but a little too chocolatey. The second time I made them, I added peanut butter cups so it would break up the extreme chocolatiness (if that’s a word). I like making the scratch kind because they’re pretty easy.
Hmmm… Peanut Butter Cups – dangerously good idea. Just double checked Hershey’s site to confirm theirs are gluten free (http://www.thehersheycompany.com/brands/reeses-peanut-butter-cups/milk-chocolate.aspx?cat=cat.) I can’t imagine putting the ones Nick makes from scratch in to prepackaged brownie mix. And I’m with you: make your GF brownies from scratch!
Yes, they’re gluten free (yay!).
i actually made this a few days ago, before checking out your blog. i added chocolate chips to this mix, and they turned out great. the people that i made them for couldn’t believe they were gluten-free, so i am bummed that you didn’t like it.
i think i’m going to try the other mixes you recommended too. tj’s was the first gluten-free mix i’ve tried, so maybe it’s also because i haven’t had better!
can’t wait to see you make one from scratch, so i can try it out.
I reverse the oil/water ratio, add gf flour (or almond meal), a little extra baking powder and chile and it turns out really good. I guess that’s only a little easier than doing it from scratch.