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Thread: Are there any good boxed brownie mixes out there?

  1. #1

    Are there any good boxed brownie mixes out there?

    I have tried the Dassant (sp?) brownie truffle mix and the No Pudge mix. They were ok, but didn't blow me away. The best brownie recipe I have calls for 3 kinds of chocolate and raspberry liqueur, and is really delicious. The second best was a simple recipe from Katharine Hepburn, which was very moist, with lots of walnuts. However, it is so much trouble to chop up chocolate and melt it, or to cook cocoa and butter on the stovetop, so I am looking for a good mix, preferably one without hydrogenated vegetable oil, if possible. I like my brownies chewy and moist (not cake-like) but not as dense as the Dassant mix. I prefer a stronger, less sweet chocolate flavor than the Dassant mix has (more of a bittersweet or dark chocolate element). Does there exist such a mix?

  2. #2
    The Ghiradelli brownie mixes are very good - they're the only mixes I buy when I want a fast mix to have on hand. I'm still partial to the Baker's one bowl brownie recipe.

    The Ghiradelli ones are mighty fine, though - and I've seen them at Costco for a decent price.

    Laurie

  3. #3
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    I usually make brownies from scratch, but I will say this: putting semi-sweet chocolate chips in, whether from a mix or from scratch, ALWAYS makes them better.

    Laura
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

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  4. #4
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    Betty Croker Mixers with extra Hershe's choc. packets are good.
    Leisa

  5. #5
    Originally posted by breadmama
    The Ghiradelli brownie mixes are very good
    I second this one! It is the ONLY kind I will buy now...they come with chocolate chips in them:-). I usually add heath bar bites (the little round things..) or huge chunks of walnuts on top or something else.

    Sheila in MD

  6. #6
    Originally posted by Sheila in MD


    I second this one! It is the ONLY kind I will buy now...they come with chocolate chips in them:-). I usually add heath bar bites (the little round things..) or huge chunks of walnuts on top or something else.

    Sheila in MD
    I don't use brownie mixes, but a friend of mine uses the Ghiradelli mix and her brownies taste great. So I guess I third this one!

  7. #7
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    My mom buys the Ghiradelli mixes at Sam's now. I still make mine from scratch and prefer them, but the Ghiradelli are an edible alternative (sorry, but I am one of those who has never met a mix that I liked). I think the recipe I use is the same as the Baker's, but I buy Ghradelli unsweetend chocolate for the brownies and it makes a difference. They are as easy as a mix for me.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by breadmama
    The Ghiradelli brownie mixes are very good - they're the only mixes I buy when I want a fast mix to have on hand. I'm still partial to the Baker's one bowl brownie recipe.

    The Ghiradelli ones are mighty fine, though - and I've seen them at Costco for a decent price.

    Laurie
    1 bowl, really? Would you mind posting that recipe? Does it contain cocoa or chocolate?

  9. #9
    It looks like everyone likes the Ghiradelli mixes...I will have to try them sometime!

  10. #10
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    Betty Crocker brownies are the only kind of brownies I'm allowed to make at my house.

    I made Ghirardelli brownies once and DH gagged -- he's a huge brownie freak, but he said they were too strong?!? I liked them fine, but they didn't have the gooey texture we love in BC.
    People are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

    -- Abraham Lincoln

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Jill123
    Betty Crocker brownies are the only kind of brownies I'm allowed to make at my house.

    I made Ghirardelli brownies once and DH gagged -- he's a huge brownie freak, but he said they were too strong?!? I liked them fine, but they didn't have the gooey texture we love in BC.
    I'm glad I'm not the only BC fan
    Leisa

  12. #12
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    Our very favorite brownies are Cook's Illustrated's Chewy Fudgy Triple Chocolate Brownies but they take a while to make. Ghiradelli boxed mixes are something we can eat. I made some the other night and they were good, not great.
    I used to only make the one bowl brownies and they are very good. You can make them either cake-like or fudgy. Here's the recipe.

    One Bowl Brownies

    4 squares unsweetened chocolate
    ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
    2 cups sugar
    3 eggs
    ½ cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 ½ cups flour
    1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

    Heat oven to 350 degrees.

    Melt chocolate and butter together in heavy saucepan, stirring constantly over low heat. Cool slightly. Stir sugar into chocolate and butter until well blended. Mix in eggs, vanilla and milk. Stir in flour and nuts. Spread in greased 13x9” baking pan. Bake 30-35 minutes until done and pulled away from sides. Do Not Overbake! Cool in pan. Cut into squares to serve.wirl


    Microwave instructions: Place chocolate and butter in large mircowavable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

    For Fudge-Like Brownies: Decrease flour to 1 cup and omit the ½ cups milk.


    Cream Cheese Brownies: Prepare Brownies as directed fudgy recipe, using 4 eggs. Spread in prepared pan. Beat 1 package (8 oz) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg and 2 tablespoons flour. Spoon mixture over brownie batter. Swirl with knife to marbelize. Bake 40 minutes.

    Rocky Road Brownies: Prepare Fudge Brownies as directed. Bake 30 minutes. Immediately sprinkle 2 cups miniature marshmallows, 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped nuts over brownies. Bake 3 minutes or until topping begins to melt together.


    Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies: Prepare Fudge Brownies as directed, reserving 1 tablespoon of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Spread brownie batter in prepared pan. Mix reserved ingredients and 2/3 cup peanut butter. Spoon mixture over brownie batter. Swirl with knife to marbleize. Bake as directed.


    Chocolate Substitutions


    If a recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa, use 1 square Unsweetened chocolate for every 3 tablespoons cocoa asked for plus 1tablespoon shortening.

    If a recipe calls for 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, use 1 square Unsweetened chocolate and 3 squares semi-sweet chocolate.

    Here are the Cook's Illustrated Brownies if anyone's interested in those.


    Chewy, Fudgy Triple Chocolate Brownies
    Makes sixty-four 1” brownies



    Either Dutch process or natural cocoa works well in this recipe. These brownies are very rich, so we prefer to cut them into mall squares for serving. Note: the recipe calls for chopped chocolate but I just cut into squares and the chocolate melted just fine.


    5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
    3 tablespoons cocoa powder
    3 large eggs
    1 ¼ cups sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 cup all purpose flour

    1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Fold two 12-inch pieces of foil, lengthwise, so they measure 7 inches wide (turn under 2 ½ inches on each short side). Fit one sheet in bottom of greased pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; overhang will help in removal of baked brownies. Fit second sheet over first on the unfoiled sides in the same manner (all of the pan should be covered with foil with ends hanging over sides) Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. In medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost simmering water, melt chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

    3. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with wooden spoon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners and level surface with rubber spatula; bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted into center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan using the foil “handles”. Cut into 1-inch squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve; brownies can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 5 days.


    Cook’s Illustrated June 2000

  13. #13
    I have to admit, after finding the Outrageous Brownie recipe, I stopped looking. There's no turning back .

    Outrageous Brownies
    Makes 20 Large Brownies

    Inspiration for this recipe came frm the Chocolate Glob in the SOHO Charcuterie Cookbook published by William Morrow in 1983. In its heyday, the SoHo Charcuterie was the cutting edge of New York restaurants. The giant confection was a blob of chocolate dough filled with chocolate chips and nuts. I thought I could make a brownie with almost the same formula. They've been flying out the door for fiteen years!

    1 Pound unsalted butter
    1 Pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
    6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    6 extra-large eggs
    3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
    2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
    2 1/4 cups sugar
    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 cups chopped walnuts

    Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet. Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

    In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

    Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Leisa M
    Betty Croker Mixers with extra Hershe's choc. packets are good.
    I second this recommendation. Particularly the "Special Dark" mix... I don't make brownies often, but these are great.
    We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.

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  15. #15
    Thanks for the recipes, they look yummy and I will try them when I get a chance! Unfortunately, though, none of them gets around the problem of having to chop and melt the chocolate. I know, I know, I sound really lazy. The thing is, I have several good brownie recipes that I already like to make, but I'm looking for something really quick that I could throw together with no fuss or mess (not many dishes to wash) in case I'm really busy and am going to a potluck or I invite someone over at the last minute. With some vanilla ice cream stocked in the freezer, some sugar in the pantry to make a quick caramel sauce, and some bananas, I could whip together a delicious dessert in no time at all! But alas, the brownie problem...

    So I don't really like the taste of brownies made with semisweet chocolate chips as much as the ones with either bittersweet/dark chocolate or with cocoa powder alone. But the only recipe I have with cocoa powder alone requires you to cook it with the butter on the stove first. What could really solve my problem, if a mix doesn't do the trick, is chocolate chips made of bittersweet or dark chocolate, that I would not have to chop and I could just melt in the microwave instead of over a double boiler, so that I could use the one bowl recipe or some variation thereof. Does anyone know if these are for sale anywhere? For not too expensive?

  16. #16
    Originally posted by RebeccaT


    I second this recommendation. Particularly the "Special Dark" mix... I don't make brownies often, but these are great.
    Oooh, I just saw this...do you know off the top of your head if these mixes have hydrogenated vegetable oil?

  17. #17
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    I don't know, and I checked the BC website and couldn't find any ingredient information.

    If you find out, let us know!
    We figured there was too much happiness here for just the two of us, so we figured the next logical step was to have us a critter.

    - H.I. McDunnough, "Raising Arizona"
    --------------------------------------------------
    Ask me about Kelly's Kids children's clothes!

  18. #18
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    After trying every boxed mix available and tons of homemade recipes, I still LOVE Betty Crocker's "Fudge Brownie Mix". It is the one in the plain box. It is easy to miss because the packaging is so plain compared to the others. It just makes the best brownies!

  19. #19
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    I have no clue if this helps, but I always melt the chocolate in whole bars in a steamer that does not have to be stirred or watched because of all the moisture. So the only thing to clean is the bowl inside the steamer. I am pretty lazy myself, but I always make brownies from scratch because it is so easy with my steamer.

    Laura
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  20. #20
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    Cindylu--my standard quickie house brownie recipe (because I have about 7 or 8 "standard" recipes) uses cocoa powder and melted butter, but you don't have to do them together--I usually melt the butter in the micro while I'm stirring together the dry ingredients, mix it all up, throw in chips or nuts if I want, and bang into the oven. I don't hvae the recipe here (and haven't made it recently enough to cough up from memory) but will try to remember to post tonight. It literally goes together in less than 5 minutes, then 30 in the oven, and it's all stuff I always have on hand anyway. Since I always have double dutch dark cocoa (from KA) they come out nice and dark.

  21. #21
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    The brownies of choice in our house are the ones you make following the directions right on the can of Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate. Delicious! (But I leave out the nuts and/or chocolate chips, they aren't essential.)
    Anna
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.
    Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine,
    something Brussels sprouts never do.
    P. J. O'Rourke, humorist
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  22. #22
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    With some vanilla ice cream stocked in the freezer, some sugar in the pantry to make a quick caramel sauce, and some bananas, I could whip together a delicious dessert in no time at all! But alas, the brownie problem...
    An easy fix for this problem is to make sure you always have some of your favorite brownies in the freezer (with your ice cream). Of course if you don't entertain for a while you might have to go ahead and eat them... . I have found them to freeze well, and they thaw pretty quickly. (They are even good straight from the freezer!)
    kathyb


    Less rhetoric, more cowbell!

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by cindyluwho
    What could really solve my problem, if a mix doesn't do the trick, is chocolate chips made of bittersweet or dark chocolate, that I would not have to chop and I could just melt in the microwave instead of over a double boiler, so that I could use the one bowl recipe or some variation thereof. Does anyone know if these are for sale anywhere? For not too expensive?
    I just bought a bag of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips at HEB (local grocery) Same price as the other hershey's chips. But I haven't tried them yet...

    Your actions speak so loudly I can hardly hear you - Henry David Thoreau

  24. #24
    I think you can get dark chips from King Arthur, too - they certainly have a lot of other flavors to choose from.

    How about cappuccino chips in a brownie mix? MMMMMMM.....


    Laurie

  25. #25
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    Stephie's Amazing Brownies

    1 cup sugar
    3/4 cup flour
    1 stick butter, melted
    5 Tbs cocoa
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 eggs
    1 Tbl vanilla
    1/2 cup nuts and/or chocolate chips

    Combine ingredients until well mixed. Pour into greased 8x8" pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes (depending on how gooey you want them in the center). For a 13x9" pan, double everything.

  26. #26
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    Originally posted by Leonard
    After trying every boxed mix available and tons of homemade recipes, I still LOVE Betty Crocker's "Fudge Brownie Mix". It is the one in the plain box. It is easy to miss because the packaging is so plain compared to the others. It just makes the best brownies!
    Leonard,
    I really like these too. I also like the Special Dark ones that were mentioned. The last time I made the BC plain Fudge Brownie Mix I used some tips that our local newspaper had given on making brownies. Right after I took them out of the oven, I set the pan into another pan that was filled with ice-cold water. I let them cool in that for about 15 minutes. The brownies were BEAUTIFUL and delicious. Best I had ever made out of a box.
    Christine

  27. #27
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    Originally posted by ChristineVA


    Leonard,
    I really like these too. I also like the Special Dark ones that were mentioned. The last time I made the BC plain Fudge Brownie Mix I used some tips that our local newspaper had given on making brownies. Right after I took them out of the oven, I set the pan into another pan that was filled with ice-cold water. I let them cool in that for about 15 minutes. The brownies were BEAUTIFUL and delicious. Best I had ever made out of a box.
    Christine
    What was the meaning for the ice water?
    Leisa

  28. #28
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    Originally posted by breadmama
    The Ghiradelli brownie mixes are very good - they're the only mixes I buy when I want a fast mix to have on hand. I'm still partial to the Baker's one bowl brownie recipe.

    The Ghiradelli ones are mighty fine, though - and I've seen them at Costco for a decent price.

    Laurie

    I agree. I have never like boxed brownies until I tried the Ghiradelli.
    So many recipies, so little time....

  29. #29
    Originally posted by Leisa M


    What was the meaning for the ice water?
    Hey Leisa,

    I think it's because some baked goods tend to cook a little more as they cool. The ice water stops the cooking process and starts the cooling process. It's the same reason you throw blanched vegetables in ice water.

    At any rate, that tip on cooling brownies in ice water sounds like a good one. I've never heard that before.

  30. #30
    Wow, so many good suggestions!

    Gilgamesh37 (Stephie?), thanks for the recipe, I will definitely try it next chance I get!
    Thank you to everyone else...I will have to try the Betty Crocker Special Dark mix, the Ghiradelli mix, the dark chocolate chips and Ghiradelli powdered chocolate, and perhaps freezing my next batch of ultra yummy three-chocolate raspberry liqueur brownies and see how they hold up. The problem is getting them to the freezer before eating them...

    It will take me awhile to try all these since I'm short on time these days, but I will report back to you all with my results later.

    Thanks again!

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