Thursday, January 6, 2011

Product Review & Ode to the Ghiradelli's Brownie Mix

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

These brownies are 'slap-yo-mamma-good'. Really. Not that I condone familial violence. Or any violence for that matter....but why even make homemade brownies when these boxed ones are better than anything you could come up with in the kitchen?! They are the absolute best last-minute-keep-in-the-pantry-dessert you could serve company. Any company. All you need is water/milk, an egg, and vegetable oil. And an hour.

Ghiradelli brand is by far the ABSOLUTE best mix my family has ever tried. You can find the big box at Costco (has 4 mixes) store. Every time someone mentions Ghiradelli brownies, it makes me think of the deli scene in 'When Harry Met Sally' know the one. Enough said.

Anyway....after years of making these brownies, I've learned a few terrific things that can be done with this brownie mix and maybe you all might like to try these things too for a little variety--the possibilities seem endless and I know I will have remembered more after I post this entry:
  • I always make these brownies with coffee instead of water. Or, milk with espresso powder instead of water. Barefoot Contessa first said it and now I totally agree: Coffee brings out the natural flavor of chocolate.
  • To make peppermint brownies: add a teaspoon of peppermint extract to the batter. (BTW-AMAZING!!!!)
  • To make almond brownies: add a teaspoon of almond extract and a handful of slivered or sliced almonds.
  • To make hazelnut brownies: you can add Frangelico and a handful of chopped hazelnuts to the batter.
  • For banana nut brownies (totally delicious & gooey): add chopped bananas and walnuts on top of the batter in the baking pan.
  • For Mexican brownies, add a tsp. or so of cinnamon to the batter.
  • For chocolate cherry, nut brownies: add another handful of chocolate chips (white is a nice change), a handful of your choice of nuts (chopped pistachios are fun) and a handful of dried cherries.
  • Other mix-ins that are amazing: any liquers, shredded coconut, cut up snickers bars, Andes mint pieces or peppermint patties, Caramello pieces....etc.
  • Never tried this before-but read that for smores brownies: Once the brownies are baked, turn the oven to broil. Crumble graham crackers over the brownies and mini marshmallows on top of the crackers then place the pan under the broiler.  
  • For chocolate raspberry brownies: add raspberry preserves to the batter.
  • For cream cheese swirl brownies: combine 1 package of cream cheese, one egg, ½ cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. pour brownie batter into pan, drop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top, and use a knife to drag it through the batter, creating a swirl pattern. bake as usual.
  • For peanut butter brownies: drop slightly heated globs of peanut butter (to make it easier to spread) into the batter put in the pan and run your knife back and forth through peanut butter and brownie batter for peanut swirls. Or add peanut butter chips to the batter.
  • You can also frost them with a variety of frostings....I don't frost mine because I think they get too messy to store and I'm not a big fan of buttercream....but I'm sure they'd be great.
  • You can use brownie mix to make cookies like these that I posted recently. (Thanks for the feedback guys--I knew you'd love them! These cookies are our new family favorite.)
  • To make brownies 'healthier': I have heard that you can try applesauce or 1 can (~14 oz) of pureed pumpkin per one box of brownie mix. OR, you can use pureed black beans....Here's a good article on making brownies healthier. Some people even sneak spinach into their brownies for more nutritional value. If anyone has tried that, let me know.....
Try the Baker's Edge nonstick pan if you're a brownie fanatic like myself. This pan makes a unique present for a baker (with a good-sized amount of kitchen space). (Apparently you can make lasagna in this pan too.)

(Below is 3/4 of my husband's brownies, and 1/4 mine-with the bananas.)

And lastly, if you really want to up the decadence quotient of brownies, serve them with ice-cream. Any coffee or mint ice-cream flavor will really stand out with brownies.

Made you want brownies now, didn't I?

I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance? --Unknown

No comments:

Post a Comment