Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix (Review)
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Gluten Free Goodies are so Hard to Find
One of the biggest laments from those with wheat and gluten dietary restrictions, is how hard it is to find dessert foods that are tasty and affordable. I've noticed that if it's affordable, it probably tastes like the box it came in and if it tastes great, it's out of my budget range.
But, sometimes the need for a chocolately-good brownie overpowers the need to save pennies, which is exactly what happened when we came across a gluten free brownie mix at a local shop. I had to have some P.D.Q. (Pretty Darn Quick) ... Maybe it had something to do with being 5 months pregnant ...?
I looked at the powder mix and visualized simply adding a little water, mixing, baking and YUMM-O!! ...
Turns out, this wasn't that simple, because this was Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix.
What's in the Mix
My big problem with gluten free flour mixtures and "instant" mixes is that they often use garbanzo bean flour, also known as chickpeas. Don't get me wrong - I love chickpeas and even add them to recipes you wouldn't expect to find them in, such as my tomato soup. What I don't like is the horrible aftertaste that garbanzo bean flour leaves in the back of your tongue.
So, the first thing we did when we discovered this package of gluten free brownie mix was do a quick scan to make sure the detestable wheat substitute wasn't among the listed.
The ingredients for this mix are:
- evaporated cane juice
- Ghirardelli cocoa
- potato starch
- white sorghum flour
- tapioca flour
- whole corn flour
- sea salt
- baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate)
- xanthan gum
YAY!! No garbanzo bean flour!!
The Missing Ingredient(s)
Unfortunately, some key ingredients needed to make it an "instant" mix aren't present. According to the recipe instructions, we needed to add butter, egg, vanilla and water to make these brownies. Ouch! That's half the ingredients required for make-from-scratch brownies!
How yummy are they?
The Proof is in the Brownie
So, how did it turn out?
The Good: These brownies are, in a word: Amazing!
The flavour is rich; a little bite goes a looooong way. I found that a small square of this brownie (enjoyed with a cold glass of milk) maxed me out on my chocolate intake for the day. Unlike other brands, Bob's Red Mill brownies are moist, even after sitting in the refrigerator for several days. The texture is smooth and although it does crumble when you put a fork to it, you get big fluffy chunks of "crumble". Easily the best gluten free brownies I've ever had.
The Bad: The instructions also includes a recipe for a fudge topping (Yay!), but of course, the ingredients for this are not part of the package (Boo!). If you want to make this topping, it'll cost another $4 or so, depending on how much the ingredients cost in your area. (Note: The frosting in the above photo is a little something my husband whipped up himself and not the fudge topping from the instructions.)
The Ugly: The major down-side is that these brownies are so expensive to make! Gluten free products are dramatically marked up in our area. One 21 oz bag of Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix costs $6.99 CAD ($8.04 after taxes). If we decide to buy this product again, that is the cheapest I'd be able to get it. Amazon.com has this product for a decent price, however the shipping costs to Canada doubles the price! ... Oddly enough, that is still cheaper than ordering directly from Bob's Red Mill's website which charges $5.19 CAD per 21 oz package plus shipping.
Butter and eggs are expensive in my area. A pound of butter averages about $4.49 CAD and a dozen large eggs is $3.79. Using one egg won't break the bank, but this recipe calls for approximately half a pound of butter. That's about $2.57 on top of the cost of the mix, which brings the total cost to $10.61 CAD for one tray of brownies!
No doubt about it, Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Brownie Mix delivers on its promise of an "intense dark chocolate flavor combined with a wonderfully moist cake texture" as you can see from the photo above. These brownies are the most delicious gluten free dessert I've had so far.
We love them.
The reason this product only gets 4 out of 5 stars is the cost to buy a package of Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix and the cost of the ingredients needed to actually make the brownies using this mix. These brownies are "very special occasion" treat only.
© 2012 Rosa Marchisella