Monday, November 15, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Brownie Mix

If you’ve been here before, you know that I am a chocoholic. My motto is: When in doubt, eat chocolate. If you’re going to have dessert, it may as well be chocolate – and, if it’s a breakfast muffin then obviously, chocolate is the right choice.

In my quest to try to adapt the variety of gluten-free baking mixes on the market to be allergen-free, I have found brownies to be a particular challenge. Specifically, those that are high in sugar content (or where sugar is the first ingredient listed on the package) tend to be the most problematic when you leave out the eggs.

This time I tried Namaste gluten-free brownie mix. I love the Namaste flour, muffin mix, and chocolate cake mix, so I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t make the brownie work. The only substitute required on this one was the eggs. I used Ener-G egg replacer to make the equivalent of three eggs, and I added the oil that the mix called for.

The result? A sugary brownie mess. I can now tell before time is up on the oven timer when a brownie mix isn’t going to work because I can hear the brownies sizzling in the pan. Brownies aren’t supposed to sizzle are they? No, I don’t think so.

And once again, I have concluded that some gluten-free mixes that require eggs, just can’t be adapted to be allergen-free.

Here’s the low-down on the brownies I have tried so far:

I recommend avoiding Namaste, King Arthur Flour, and Trader Joe’s gluten-free brownie mixes if you need to replace the eggs.

Brownie mixes that work with allergen-free substitutes include Bob’s Red Mill, and my favorite – Pamela’s Products.

Does anyone have a suggestion for other brownie mixes I should try?


Bethany Niazian said...

Have you tried other egg substitutes instead of Ener-G Egg Replacer? For example flax meal gel, a mashed banana, or my (almost failsafe) favorite: 2 Tbsp. water + 1 Tbsp. oil + 2 tsp. baking powder (though in recipes already using oil, this sometimes doesn't work). There are lots of options to replace eggs in ways that still get the desired effect...

Anonymous said...

I use Bob's Red Mill. The chocolate is Chiradelli and they are wonderful! But it is not cheap so I don't buy it often. And for the life of me I can't remember how I handle the eggs. I am not allergic to eggs, but eat very low fat, so sometimes I use EggBeaters. But I also use the EnerG product and flax see gel, so I really don't know. Wish I could remember. I have a bag of mix on hand so give me a few days and I'll let you know.

Colette said...

Bethany, yes! I love flax seed eggs (I even have a post on how to make them). Sometimes I use applesauce. Recently I've started trying using apple cider -- that seems to work well in muffins and cakes.

Gluten Free and Loving it - I've actually starting keeping notes on how I make things (so I can replicate success). I usually forget too it I don't take notes.

Anonymous said...

You had me curious Colette so I went ahead and made the Bob's Red Mill mix with the EnerG. I also use oil instead of melted butter or margarine. The Bob's Red Mill always makes a fudgy brownie. I think this time they were maybe even a bit more so which is fine with us. I did have to add a little baking time. Pkg. said 20-25 min. I baked them for 30 -- until they passed the knife test. They were a little more crumbly than normal but they tasted good as ever. Bob had to have a taste before he left for work so they were still hot. They might not crumble as much once they cool. This mix makes a 9x13 pan -- I have to double my from scratch recipe for that.

I know with the cost of gluten free mixes it's hard to want to experiment too much. However my suggestion would be try baking them a little longer.

Colette said...

Rogene, you were busy today! Fudgy is always good. I'll try that with Bob's Red Mill.

Anna (Green Talk) said...

You should check out Karina's blog She has a lot of allergies too. She is an amazing cook and has made a ton of brownies, etc. I follow her religiously since I know all of her recipes will be good.

Colette said...

Anna, thanks for the suggestion. Her recipes look fabulous!