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Food & Entertaining

Brownie Points

Author: Susan Regan
Issue: November, 2009, Page 60
Photography by David B. Moore
IN A BLIND TASTE TEST, THE PHOENIX HOME & GARDEN STAFF TRIED BROWNIES BAKED FROM SIX DIFFERENT MIXES. THE RESULTS FOLLOW:


1.) TRADER JOE’S
These brownies were too dry for most tasters, who felt they had a chewy consistency and cakelike appearance.

2.) PILLSBURY
Many liked the sheen and crusty top of this brownie but found the taste average and the consistency too dense.

3.) STONEWALL KITCHEN
A chewy, gooey middle, fudgelike taste and cracked crust left several panelists wanting more. Others considered this option a bit too sweet. 

4.) BETTY CROCKER
This entry received low marks for its too-subtle chocolate flavor and dense consistency. Several thought that the brownies had a mushy texture.

5.) ARROWHEAD MILLS
This all-natural mix produced brownies with a cakelike texture and mellow chocolate taste. Some felt they were too dry and objected to the lack of a traditional crusty top.

6.) GHIRARDELLI CHOCOLATE
A crusty top and gooey inside put this entry high on many panelists’ lists. Bits of slightly melted chocolate chips gave it a rich flavor and appealing texture; one taster deemed it “delightfully moist.”


A WORD FROM CHEF ALLAN

An informal poll conducted on the Internet this past summer found that those who like to bake most enjoy making brownies. With a rich chocolate flavor, moist center and crisp edges, the irresistible dessert can be the cause of heated arguments in some households. The problem: who gets the chewy middle, and who gets the crunchy edges.

Baker’s Edge (bakersedge.com) has solved this dilemma with a new brownie pan that is shaped like a maze, giving each brownie a soft center and at least two crispy edges.

The dessert can be jazzed up easily with toppings, including frosting, pecans, walnuts, M&Ms, marshmallows and more. Also try baking them in mini-muffin tins to create quick-cooking, easy-to-serve treats for a party.

Chef Allan Schanbacher says that brownie mixes, which often are easy to prepare, are a good way to introduce children to baking.

Another tip: Substitute butter for the oil (use the same amount) to create richer flavor and to avoid hydrogenated oils.





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