Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GlutenFree Double Chocolate Brownies - a Krusteaz mix

That brittle crunching noise you hear in the background, that's the sound of me eating my words... again... the ones proclaiming that I don't use boxed mixes... except for occasional bundt cakes. Sigh. Let's get the disclosure out of the way. While attending a food blogger event last month, #IFBC 2014I gathered up a box of this mix along with a ton of other samples from sponsoring vendors. Some products I shared with friends, several I have used at home, while others still languish in my too-full pantry. On Monday I was in a rush and grabbed the box of Krusteaz Gluten Free double chocolate brownie mix to bake a quick treat.

We have some house projects underway, providing an excuse to bake up some cookies or snack bars to feed the crew. The workers welcome any homemade treat, but I usually bake from scratch. Box mixes rarely make an appearance in my kitchen, but Krusteaz is a respected, local, family-owned company and the GF label piqued my curiosity: how would a GF version of brownies compare with the homemade variety? The short answer is "very well, indeed."

A 1-hour mix and bake
Adding one egg, 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup cooking oil to a box mix was an easy start. Stirring to mix and spooning into a lightly greased 8x8" glass baking dish required no effort. I couldn't resist temptation and sprinkled a small handful of chocolate chips over the top, just because an already-opened package caught my eye in the open cabinet. Why not up the chocolate chip ratio, just a little? The Krusteaz box listed a range of cooking times, 48-52 minutes for an oven preheated to 325 F, variable no doubt to account for temperature variance in ovens. There was a note to add an additional 5 minutes for glass pans. Krusteaz added a warning not to over bake, the brownies might look underdone but would firm up as they cooled. I did the math, crossed my fingers and set the timer for 55 minutes. The brownies pulled away from the edge of the pan, a cake tester emerged with no telltale crumbs, so 55 seemed like the magic number.

The results  
Anticipation grew as the enticing aroma of chocolate  wafted through the house... these had better not disappoint! Cooling seemed to take forever, but I fended off the taste testers until the pan approached room temperature. The outer crust, rimming the pan, was firm but not hard while the center remained soft and a bit gooey. Thus the 4 corners were finger friendly, 8 brownies had at least one firm, cleanly cut edge that was easy to handle, and the 4 squares in the middle were a moist and crumbly mess that required a fork. No one complained though, these brownies were the real deal with a deeply rich flavor. Notice I didn't say good for gluten free brownies. No, these were pronounced good brownies, period, end of statement. I prefer firm brownies, so I always reach for a corner piece. RL enjoyed a softer edge piece (or two), and the crew just smiled and said "thanks." The messy foursome in the middle of the pan disappeared, one bite at a time, as we cruised past.     

The brownies didn't need my extra handful of chocolate chips, but I might add some nuts or shredded coconut to the next batch - just because.

Would I use this product again? YES (notice the all caps for enthusiasm).
Would I recommend it to others? Again YES, to anyone, not just GF bakers.
Will I continue to make brownies from scratch? Probably yes in the house kitchen, unless I'm pressed for time or am missing some ingredients. But this mix will become a staple in the boat galley, replacing the current Ghiradelli mix, so I am prepared to bake brownies for anyone, any time and anywhere.
Will I stop dissing box mixes? Maybe, but some habits are hard to break. It might require a lot more brownies and bundt cake.

SugarBrown Rice Flour (Rice Flour, Rice Bran), Chocolate Chips (SugarChocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor), Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Soybean Oil. Contains 2% Or Less of The Following: Salt, Artificial Flavor, Sodium Bicarbonate.
Nutrition Facts from Shopwell
Serving Size 3 Tbsp Mix
Servings Per Container 16
Amount Per ServingCalories140
Calories from Fat 25
% Daily Value*Total Fat 3 g 5%
Saturated Fat 1 g 5%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 105 mg 4%
Potassium — —
Total Carbohydrate28 g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1 g 4%
Sugars 20 g
Protein 1 g


  1. Wow! Replacing the Ghirardelli mix - that says a lot. ;) I can tell I'll have to try these, because, chocolate - duh! - but also if they're as good or better than Ghirardelli ... well. 'Nuff said!

  2. I'm glad to hear that this is a good mix. I'm actually not adverse to boxed brownie mixes, but I just haven't gotten around to making mine yet. I'm thinking that's about to change. I mean, we do need some dessert for tonight anyway, so why not! :) I'm liking the thought of adding coconut, too.

  3. My first visit to your blog: how fun with the cruising and the galley kitchen! I'm glad you had good results with the Krusteaz mix, I didn't realize they were a local company.

  4. Can't figure out if the rice flour in it has folic acid. Bad allergy to FA... Wish labels were clearer.


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