Today’s brownies have actually been given to me by a brownie fan who brought them from Chicago, so for once, rather than go on a brownie hunt I can sit back and let the brownies come to me!
Since these brownies were supplied to me, I don’t know as much about them or where they came from as I usually do. Googling a bit shows that Costco stocks this brand, and that’s about all I can tell you.
I am aware, of course, that the brownie (and lots of related desserts) are American inventions, but I nonetheless had a certain amount of trepidation about these. American desserts, chocolate, sweets and the like trend in a direction away from my tastes: overly sweet, cheap, mass-produced, etc etc. I’ve been to the States a few times and have generally found that while you can get delicious desserts and sweet treats at restaurants, coffee shops, etc., the sort of things you get in supermarkets (and in particular their chocolate bars) are, at least to European tastes, bloody awful. A packet of ‘two-bite’ brownies, air-sealed for ‘freshness’… didn’t exactly inspire confidence.
That’s okay, though. Firstly, it’s important to keep an open mind and try things sometimes even when you don’t get a good feeling about them, otherwise how can you trust your assumptions about the world if you’re not continually re-validating them? Secondly, I might wish it, but this isn’t a blog solely for seeking out the best brownies and exclusively eating them: that’s a perk, for sure, but it isn’t the purpose. This blog becomes greater as the variety and range of brownie posts increases, and if that includes eating a crappy foil packet of four small brownie bites from Chicago, it is worth it so that in thirty years time I will be finally recognised as the greatest brownie sage of all time. So that I can one day stand in a mountain monastery, take a bite of a brownie made with cocoa beans picked by the light of a blood moon, butter from cows that themselves have been fed only with butter, flour from crushed, dried and ground weevils, baked in a volcanic caldera and served upon banana leaves by forty-four monks who each took a vow of silence exactly forty-four years ago, and say “This is the best brownie in the world”, and people will trust me because I have eaten enough brownies to know what I’m talking about.
It seems I’ve become slightly sidetracked from my original train of thought. Let’s eat some two-bite brownies.
Taste: As I feared, these are really too sweet. They’re not awful, and the fact that there’s only four brownies means there’s only eight bites and so I can cope with the sweetness. Also, not much chocolate in evidence. 4/10
Texture: “Sealed for freshness” doesn’t really seem to have worked, as they’re quite dry and cake-like. The middle of each bite is surprisingly soft, but the texture is overall poor. 3/10
Presentation: They don’t look amazing or anything. I guess you can’t expect much from a packet of brownies like this, and I suppose they will have had an entire trans-Atlantic flight in which to get bashed up. 2/5
Value: I have no idea. I don’t know how much these cost, and if I did, the fact of a different currency and different country means I wouldn’t really have a benchmark to compare them to. I reckon the safest option is to assume that they get the exact midpoint of value at 5/10
Fudge Factor: I was skeptical, but each of the two-bite brownies was indeed exactly two bites, so that’s… impressive? 1/5
Overall Total: 15
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
I have to believe that there are better options available in the States. On that basis, I would say: no. Hold out for better quality, and brownie providers will be forced to cater to your wishes. Don’t settle for something vaguely chocolatey just because it contains a bunch of refined sugar.
It might seem that I’m overly critical of American cuisine in this post, but in actual fact I’m relatively supportive of it. (I almost have to be: I’m British, which is the other Western nation that everyone claims to have no real culinary interest.) I don’t think statements such as “America has no cuisine!” are helpful, and America’s historical position as a melting pot of immigration has led to a number of interesting and delicious dishes. Unfortunately, there is also a tendency towards American food that’s designed to be cheap and mass-produceable, which is then balanced by vast amounts of refined sugar, trans fats, and other additives. Not everyone in America seems to realise the distinction, which contributes to the problem!