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Best Gluten Free Brownie Mix- Taste Test Update

Gluten Free Brownie Mix Taste Test - The Winner


And the winner is...

Steve and I decided to do a taste test. Our goal? Finding the best tasting gluten-free brownie from a mix. Our criteria? A brownie so abundant in chocolaty goodness it would fool a gluten eater. Steve is the brownie baker in the family, so he was in on this project from the start. 

I had him at, What if...

For the sake of simplicity we chose to compare the three gluten-free mixes readily available at our local markets: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix, Pamela's Irresistible Chocolate Brownie Mix, and The Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix.

We were most familiar with The Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix as it was the first gluten-free mix we tried when we gave up gluten five years ago. It gave us hope. The will to live. Gooey, chocolate goodness.

I suppose I should mention here, in the spirit of full disclosure, we always add extra semi-sweet chocolate chips into our bar and cookie recipes; even if the recipe or mix might not call for chips; and if a recipe or mix does call for chips, we double it. We like our brownies decadent. Life is short.
So, let's get to it.

We began this experiment with Pamela's. Here are our notes.


Pamela's Irresistible Chocolate Brownie Mix

Pros::

Honey and molasses for sweetening - a plus for those limiting sugar intake.

I used cold coffee for the liquid (as directed on the package for a mocha flavor - nice option!) and I thought the balance of chocolate to coffee flavor was perfect, and overall, not too sweet.

The brownies rose high, and had more of a cake-like texture than I expect in a brownie, but I didn't hold that against them. They looked like a true brownie when I took them out of the oven.

Cons::

The mix (as is) needs a smaller pan than my favorite large Chicago Metallic pan.

Baked at sea level [read: humid] the texture was more cakey than chewy-gooey. Because of this, Steve voted these down.

Update note: For some reason, these brownies seem to bake even better in a drier climate. Because we are at high altitude now, I upped the oven temperature to 375 degrees F- as Pamela's suggests for high altitude- and they came out perfect.



Pros::

The Bob's Red Mill mix has a nice look to the packaging; very appealing.

I liked the use of turbinado sugar in the mix, and the Ghiardelli cocoa.

Cons::

An in-between amount of batter and I had to choose between my favorite large brownie pan and the smaller Pyrex; I chose to stretch it and used the big pan, so the brownies were thin. If I were to do it again, I'd try a muffin tin.

The texture was good and slightly chewy, not gooey, but passable.

The flavor was just okay. I'm not a fan of bean flours. There was something missing.

Our overall impression was, well. These taste a tad "gluten-free" and we would not bother making them as a real treat. We doubted a gluten-eater would be enamored.



Pros::

Lots of batter for the buck- enough so that I could use my favorite large brownie pan.

I also appreciate the preparation tip on the bag to line the pan with foil and grease it. This makes clean-up: done.

Hands down the best texture and mouth feel. A perfect balance of chewy and gooey.

We both believe even gluten-eaters would be impressed with these brownies. They look, feel, and taste like a normal brownie living in a gluten filled world.

Steve's number one choice, no contest.

Cons::

No real complaints from me. Pretty darn good. Fudgy.

The winner?

The original winner from December 2005 is pictured above in all its glorious chocolate radiance. It's The Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Truffle Brownie Mix.


Update 2008:

We now have a two new faves, Dear Gluten-Free Reader. Pamela's Irresistible Chocolate Brownie Mix and Namaste Brownie Mix. We kick 'em up with extras.


Kick Up Your Mix::
  • Substitute the water with coffee, coconut milk, or a safe vanilla non-dairy milk
  • Add a cup of shredded sweetened coconut
  • Add more chips- we add a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or try a cup of gluten-free white chocolate chips or even peanut butter chips
  • Add a half cup peanuts, macadamia nuts, pecans or walnuts
  • Go Chunky style- add raisins and chips and peanuts, or Almond Joy style with coconut and toasted almonds
  • With the additions above, you may need to use a larger brownie pan


And if, by any chance, you're feeling up to baking a brownie from scratch...see my divinely delicious dark chocolate brownie recipe.

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