I love trying new products, especially when it comes to new foods! On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s, it was so nice to see so many new products on the shelves. One that caught my eye was the “Ready to Bake Brownies“, which is basically pre-mixed brownie batter that you just pour into a pan and bake. I’m a huge fan of their Truffle Brownie Mix (which I think is the closest to homemade that you’ll get without it actually being from scratch), so I figured this was worth a try. Not that it is particularly difficult to mix up a batch of brownies, but particularly since I was just in a beach rental house for two weeks, I was thinking how convenient this would be to bring along to a place where you may not have eggs or vegetable oil readily available (this winter, think ski house apres-ski brownies!)
The verdict? Well, the brownies couldn’t have been easier. Just pour into a greased 8×8 pan and bake for 20-22 minutes. As for taste, well, I don’t like them as much as I like the TJ’s Truffle Brownies, but they weren’t bad at all, especially considering they took all of 30 seconds to prepare for the oven. I found them a little more cake-like than I prefer (I’m a chewy brownie fan), but based on how quickly my daughter’s group of girlfriends gobbled them up, they passed the taste-test.
The other new item I picked up was the “Sugar, Chocolate and Coffee Bean Grinder“. I had to look at it for a minute or two to even figure out what it was, but I liked the name! Basically, it’s a little pepper grinder filled with, no surprise, sugar, chocolate and coffee beans. The label suggests grinding it over “cupcakes, coffee, tea, buttered toast, or ice cream…”. Since I’d just picked up the brownie mix, I thought, “or brownies!”. I spread some white vanilla frosting on a few of the brownies and ground away, and not only did it make a pretty topping, but gave the brownies a tiny bit of crunch and extra sweetness I loved. I think it would also be great ground over a cappuccino or latte as an alternative to cinnamon. Okay, it’s a bit of an indulgence item, but what the heck. Live a little.
Testing these items certainly didn’t fit in with my post-vacation diet plan, but hey, it was ‘for work’! Enjoy!