Frugal Friday

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For chocolate lovers, one of the best treats has to be the rich and delicious brownie, but can you get a good brownie from a prepackaged mix?

Attention brownie fans. Could it be true? A delicious batch of "homemade" brownies made fresh from a box?

We wanted to find out which brownie mix was best and also to see if a classic from scratch brownie would beat out one from a box. Good Housekeeping chose five brands of brownie mix with chocolate chip or chunks.

The homemade version was made by following the "one bowl brownie recipe" found on baker's chocolate wrapper and by adding baker's chocolate chunks.

Surprisingly, the winner of the brownie bake-off was not one baked from scratch, but the Pillsbury fudge supreme chocolate extreme.

Tester: “I thought it had the right amount of gooey, cakey consistency and I thought the chocolate flavor was right on.”

Runner-up: another brownie mix, Ghirardelli premium double chocolate brownie mix.

Tester: “It was a little heavy, but very rich, wonderful chocolate taste.”

Testers also tried a lo-carb brownie by Betty Crocker. The consensus verdict was a thumbs down. The homemade brownie finished up in the middle of the pack third place.

Tester: “Great for a very rich dessert if that's what you're looking for.”

So this is one case where homemade loses out to a convenient ready mix.

Frugal Friday tip:
The low-carb brownie mixes tend to be more expensive than standard brownies, so you may pay a little more to eat healthier.

Manufacturers' Contacts:

Pillsbury Fudge Supreme Chocolate Extreme
952-594-3398 (Jim Seitz)

Ghirardelli Premium Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
253-395-7640 (Dana Ross)

Baker's Chocolate
914-335-2500 (Joan)