Saturday, 23 January 2010

The $70 brownie

Would you pay $70 for a brownie?

I love love love a good brownie but that's too much for me!

From today's Toronto Star ...

I recently paid $70 for a brownie that didn't even have hash in it.

And it was from a mix.

The mix came from Williams-Sonoma and promised to replicate the signature "bouchons" or chocolate "corks" at celebrity chef Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. A saleswoman promised it would make "the best brownies you've ever had." A one-pound tin cost $26.50.

The necessary bakeware – a black silicone pan not very different from a mini-muffin tin – cost another $45. By buying them together, I saved $8, money I then spent on the required half-pound of butter, eggs and icing sugar.

How good could $70 brownies from a mix be? To find out, I rounded up three other boxed mixes at the grocery store for a comparison in the Star's test kitchen. I also made a batch of my family's favourite recipe, as quick as a mix.

The Bouchon Bakery mix was by far the best, intensely chocolaty and buttery, with none of the chemical flavours of the Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker mixes. It was infinitely superior in texture to the gluten-free Arrowhead Mills mix. It even beat the homemade brownies, which proved too sweet in comparison, although the walnuts were nice.

But the finished product didn't look like the photo and was a pain to make. Plus, it took three squirts of Windex to clean the grease spot from the photographer's table.

It certainly wasn't worth the money, but the $2.69 supermarket mix were a waste as well since those brownies went straight to the garbage.

Next time, I'll take the $70 and apply it toward a trip to New York, where Bouchon Bakery can do the baking and I can do the sightseeing.

Star tested by Amy Pataki


Alice Audrey said...

No way you'd have gotten $70 out of me for brownies in the first place. I'm even too cheep for Duncan Hines.

Lady Banana said...

No way!!

Isabel said...

I just realized i wasn't getting your posts in my good reader and that you changed your url. I'm a dork.

WaistingTime said...

We love the triple chocolate brownies by Ghiradelli. DH buys then at Costco. Yummmmmmy. Now enough of this brownie talk - the only ones in my near future are the black bean variety.

Teresa said...

No way.....