just a smidgen

Gluten-Free Brownie Smack-Down {and a WordPress Announcement }

{  i think there are as many variations for the Brownie…
as there are stars in the night sky.  }

There are myriads of recipes and an infinite number of modifications out there for any given recipe. Isn’t it funny, though, how some recipes just seem to hit a sentimental “soft-spot” and make people want to rave as having the “only” or “proper” way for that beloved recipe to be done up “right”?

{  i wonder… shouldn’t baking and cooking be as diverse as the over 7 billion people that co-exist on our planet?  }

On occasion I am asked what my goals are.. what I hope to accomplish with my blog.. in fact,

{  why do i blog?  }

well, because..

{  i love to:  create . decorate . photograph . write . play . read  }


mostly because

{  I can’t NOT write  }

Imagine living in a place where this freedom to express oneself wasn’t permitted. Where, perhaps, we couldn’t afford the luxury to create and share.
What must it be like to live in a place where every word said and written was scrutinized.

{  how blessed are we to be here together today, sharing our passion, our ideas and celebrating creativity and the brilliant achievement of others  }

We interrupt this post with a Public Service Announcement:

Check it out, Bloggers!! WordPress has a few new Widgets! My new favorite is “Community” where top Commenters can have their images displayed on your blog.  “Top Posts & Pages” now display images of your best work. My format only shows these on my “About/Subscribe” page.. have a look and see what you think.

Now.. back to your regular programming.

Back in the kitchen…  I wanted to make GF Brownies (Gluten-Free) for my friends at the hospice.. “Chocolate.. anything chocolate!” I was told. So Chocolate Brownies it would be this week, but I thought Gluten-Free might be a nice change. My grocers has an aisle dedicated to this fast growing trend and as I was scanning for Brown Rice Flour, my eyes alighted on two packages of Gluten-free Brownies.

I never buy pre-mixed, well… anything! But, this time my curiosity was piqued. “How bad could these be?” I contemplated, given I had had many successful cakes straight out of a box over the years.

But how to select between the two.. there’s always room for another Brownie, right? And so it was decided, I would bring both the Namaste Foods Brownie Mix and the Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix home with me.

And despite their differences, both batches met with ample praise!

Namaste Foods Brownie Mix

Straight off.. you know I like anything pretty.

So I couldn’t resist the sweet little paper bag packaging. What a short and healthy list of ingredients as well.. always a huge bonus!

These were wheat/soy/corn/potato/peanuts/tree nuts/dairy/casein free
and had I substituted the eggs.. vegan as well!

Snip open the cellophane and your senses are assaulted with a heavenly chocolaty fragrance… but you must promise to resist the urge to stick your nose too deeply into the bag!!

These were just like my Easy Bake Oven days.. just mix together with an egg, some oil and water and scrape into the pan. Namaste has a dense, fudgy sugary batter that demanded some paddle licking at the end.

These baked up nicely but was like cement to cut out once it cooled. I was not pleased to have scratched up my pan with my knife trying to get these puppies out!  They had to be left to their own devices overnight and ta-da… the next day they were easy to slice (as long as I left those crusty “cookie” sides in the pan). This brownie came out with a shiny, crackly top… the way I think a great brownie should!

Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Mix

Well, Bob, no points for packaging here!

The cellophane bag was designed to “see” inside, but really? It’s just a bunch of brown powder!

Here’s the list of ingredients.. if I have difficulty with the pronunciation of some, it tends to make me wary of the product I’m ingesting.

Making this recipe was definitely more work because it required the addition of butter and GF vanilla as well. There was no heavenly chocolate assault to the senses when opening up the bag. No delightful batter temptation when scraping out the bowl. In fact, it was pretty “blase” at this point.

Once baked, though, this brownie really came to life!! It had a cake-like fine texture.. I know some of you love a cake-style brownie and if so, this one is for you! The resulting flavor was very surprisingly full of chocolate and not too sweet. In fact, I think I preferred the flavor of this one more.

So.. in the end, which one would I choose? That’s a tough decision.. really, I think Bob should go hang out over at Namaste. Together they would have made the perfect Brownie!

As for me.. I’m going to hang-out at some of my Gluten-Free Baker’s blogs and see if I can find a “From Scratch” GF Brown Recipe to borrow for next time!

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