Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Review of Krusteaz Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

The cost of gluten free mixes for baked goods is higher than that of their wheat-based counterparts. This irks me, because for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, opting for the less expensive item isn't an option.

So when I saw this 3-pack of Krusteaz Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Mix for $7.99 at Costco, I bought it. The video is a review of this product.

Mixes versus Made from Scratch
The advantage of mixes is that most of the prep work is already done. All the dry ingredients plus the sugar are in the pouch. You add an egg, some oil or butter, maybe a little water and stir it all together. Bake. Cool. Eat.

Making brownies, or any baked good, from scratch is more work. There are more ingredients, more steps. Less uniformity of measurement and technique.

But you are also familiar with every ingredient in your homemade goods. There is no unpronounceable element, such as those listed on the side of the box of the oh-so-easy-to-use mix.

Is one better than the other? If I had the time, I would bake from scratch more often. But the mixes give me a way of making a dessert without too much fuss when I just don't have the time or energy to bake.

But What I've Noticed About Mixes
The cooking time for mixes is a real variable. The directions usually give you a 5-minute spread, and that should be about right. But too often, to get the middle cooked through, I find I need to cook it a little longer. My neighbor says the same thing.

This results in crunchy sides, such as those seen in the video. Cooling time, to, is a variable. As is the type of pan you use, and what altitude you live at. Maybe mixes aren't less fussy; they're just fussy in a different way.

It's All About Results
In the video, I make two batches of brownies using the Krusteaz brownie mix. The first was too gooey, and the second was better, but the longer cook time meant a hardened crust. Everyone cuts the brownies out from the middle and leaves a ring of brownie crust around the sides.

At the cost of gluten free pre-packaged foods and mixes, I get choosy about which company gets my dollars. The results I got from this mix aren't great, but I have one more pouch to go. Maybe, I'll try something different. Maybe, third's the charm.


Momof4 said...

I am sorry, but those Krusteaz GF Brownies were the ABSOLUTE BEST BROWNIES I have ever had! I am shocked that you would give them a low rating! I have tried many GF mixes and have never fund anything that I actually even liked, but these were fabulous. Made them for guest for a football game and everyone raved about them...all my NON GF friends!:) You so need to change the pan you are using to bake brownies in! Metal pans are a very poor choice for brownies because they do not conduct heat evenly so the outside will always be hard and overcooked. Stoneware or Glass baking pans will totally solve that problem. With the difficulty we all have with finding EASY to make baked goods that actually taste good, I am so disappointed that you would be negative about such a great product!

Edward Schlichting said...

I agree with Momof4 about Krusteaz being the best GF brownies. I replaced the vegetable oil with coconut oil, and I got a very addictive batch of brownies. A nice thing about using coconut oil is that the edges won't crust up like it will with other oils. I use glass...please don't use a metal baking pan.

Shelly McRae said...

Thanks for commenting, Edward Schlichting and Momof4. I'm happy to hear you both had better luck with this product. Though I'm not crazy about glass baking dishes (long story, don't ask) I may give it a try once again. I'll report back on that, and again, thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

I also rate these brownies as excellent, and a good value. Like Edward I also replaced the oil with coconut oil - and they always come out perfectly, even using metal pans. they stay moist.