Sunday, June 08, 2008

Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix


Even though we bake nearly all our own Gluten-Free Desserts and publish a book on the subject, that doesn't mean we don't try new gluten-free dessert products when we find one. This week we came across this new Gluten-Free Brownie Mix at Trader Joe's and decided to bake it up to see what it was like.

The nice thing about this mix is how quickly you can create the brownies - simply add 1 Egg, 1/2Cup Vegetable Oil, and 1/4Cup water to the mixx and bake it. We also added some optional ingredients of our choosing - Walnuts and Chocolate Baking Chips. Then you bake it for 1/2 hour.

The Brownie mix itself simply contains the following ingredients: organic evaporated cane juice (sugar), sweet brown rice flour (which I have never seen before actually - anywhere), cocoa, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, sea salt, and xanthan gum. The mix is wheat-free, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and corn-free; all of which will make this a widely acceptable option.

The results: not too bad. As you can see from the ingredients, the recipe has absolutely no leavening agent. So, this is a dense, moist brownie. It's not really chewy per se, but definitely moist; and the texture is just OK for me, though at least I can report that it is not powdery or gritty, since the sweet brown rice flour and cocoa are fine-ground. It was definitely sweet, and quite rich (with a deep, dark chocolate color to match).

Bottom line is that the brownie tasted fine, and for something that can be thrown together very quickly for when you don't have time to bake your own gluten-free desserts from scratch, it is certainly acceptable. I have a feeling many kids would like it without question, though I didn't have any nearby to test it on. The mix was relatively affordable too - I believe the price was $2.99. So, if you have a Trader Joe's store nearby, it might be worth grabbing a brownie-mix bag for the pantry as a quick-bake gluten-free dessert option.

12 comments:

Gluten-Free Wikaduke said...

While I prefer to make baked goods from scratch sometimes a mix is needed in a pinch. I've made this mix a couple of times and have found the flavor to be significantly improved when subbing equal amounts of melted butter for the oil. I also add a handful of chocolate chips. As soon as the pan is cool enough I place them in the freezer for an hour or so before cutting

allison griffin said...

This mix gave my son diarrhea and me heart burn! And it didnt rise AT ALL. I'm wondering what was up with that?
Allison

Mike Eberhart said...

allison,
I don't know what the exact cause of your son's problem was, but I can't help suspecting the Xanthan gum perhaps. But, if he is normally OK with that, your guess is as good as mine. I was not overly impressed with the mix anyhow, and I will personally stick to baking our homemade brownies instead. Best wishes, and I hope you figure out the situation.

Anonymous said...

For a quick a delicious brownie mix my favorite is the gluten free pantry's chocolate truffle brownie mix...mmmm!!! I buy it in bulk on amazon too so the price isn't too bad.

Anonymous said...

Since being diagnosed with Celiac three years ago, I have searched far and wide and tried many GF products...breads, cookies, pastas, pastries, etc. VERY few of them I'd classify as 'delicious' and nearly all of them are expensive. Trader Joe's GF brownie mix is actually very good and it's reasonably priced. If you are comparing ANY GF food to its non GF counterpart, the non-product will win hands-down. To other Celiacs out there searching~ I would recommend TJ's GF Brownie Mix...moist and rich brownies made quickly and easily. (No, they don't compare to Mom's made-from-scratch brownies, but we can't have those, anyway!)

Mike Eberhart said...

Anonymous,
I just have to interject here... regarding your comment that "If you are comparing ANY GF food to its non GF counterpart, the non-product will win hands-down",... because, well, I do not agree given that we publish a desserts recipe book that has various brownie recipes in it that are quite close to the real thing. In fact, one of the chewy-chocolate-brownie recipes in our book is most certainly "just like the real thing" as observed by more than a few people that have taste-tested it for us. Either way, for pre-packaged mix, the TJ's version can certainly come in handy. Thanks for commenting. m

Anonymous said...

Trader Joe's "no gluten ingredients used" list that is posted on their web site contains items that list wheat on the product labels. I sent them an email regarding this and received a very cold form letter response. They make no apologies and did not offer to update their list. At minimum, be sure to read ALL product labels, don't just trust their "helpful information". As for myself, I am done shopping there.

Dazy said...

One of my colleagues is a celiac sufferer who gets celiac shock to even consuming small amount of gluten. He would be knowing this.

I. Vybot said...

Trader Joe's GF brownie mix is actually very good and it's reasonably priced. If you are comparing ANY GF food to its non GF counterpart, the non-product will win hands-down. To other Celiacs out there searching~ I would recommend TJ's GF Brownie Mix...moist and rich brownies made quickly and easily.

Robin said...

ok, so the "from scratch" ones are better. BUT, the flavor of these are ok, and they are speedy. I made a few quick changes and this last batch came out pretty delish. Used enerG egg replacer, subbed in half applesauce for half the oil, added a little vanilla (1 tsp?) and folded in one cube of shaved sharffen berger 70% baking bar. Also, I baked them in a 9" cake pan, and added 10 minutes to cook time. Less gooey this time around, and the sharffen choco adds a nice touch.

Earthy Chick6 said...

I substituted oil and water for a whole can of organic pumpkin, added finely chopped walnuts and bag of chocolate chips ... buttered the 8x8 pan and speed the batter evenly. Baked for 30 minutes. Good hot melt but even better when chilled with a consistency of fudge. I'm going to try it again with dried cherries, pecans and chocolate chips.

Anonymous said...

I found decreasing the oil to 1/4 cup of coconut oil and increasing the water to 1/3 cup made a huge difference.