Mixed Review: Barefoot Contessa Outrageous Mint Chocolate Brownies
It's been quite a while since I last reviewed one of Ina Garten's baking mixes, and her line keeps expanding. Pudding! Coffee cake! German chocolate cupcakes! I thought it was high time I saw what the Barefoot Contessa has been up to.
Since it's July, and scorching hot, I couldn't resist the Outrageous Mint Chocolate Brownie Mix ($10.95). There was something so temping about the promise of cool, refreshing mint—especially when paired with dense fudgy chocolate. I've made Ina's brownies from scratch before, and was impressed with how gooey and moist they were. I hoped the mix would yield similar results.
Preparing the mix was simple. Step one: butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Step two: combine the mix with two beaten eggs and one stick of melted butter. The instructions directed me—quite forcefully—to bake the brownies for 35 minutes "exactly." But after 35 minutes, my brownies were still jiggly in the center and a toothpick came out covered in raw batter. I ended up leaving them in for an extra five minutes.
After allowing my brownies to cool for several hours I cut them into squares. (Ina suggests nine, but I cut mine into twelve since I like bite-sized desserts.) Then I ran into some trouble. Even though I was using a brand-new nonstick baking pan, it was really hard to pry the brownies loose. The first one completely crumbled, and the bottoms of several others stayed glued to the pan. The instructions should have called for lining the pan with parchment.
Despite the fact that my brownies looked a little rough around the edges, they still tasted pretty outrageous. Sticky and gooey, the centers resembled a fudgy ganache. The tiny mint chips imparted a bright, invigorating flavor without overpowering the chocolate. Biting into one was a bit like eating an Andes thin mint (one of my favorite candies growing up) in brownie form. To quoth Ina, "What could be better than that?"