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ERIN SZETO-CHAN is a Contributing Writer of THE NIBBLE.



April 2011

Product Reviews / Cookies, Cake & Pastry / Cookies & Brownies

Brownie Mixes From Baked Bakery

Moist, Buttery Brownies That Are Worth Every Calorie


CAPSULE REPORT: There’s nothing like homemade brownies. But when we lack the ingredients, time or inclination to whip up our own from scratch, Baked brownie mixes are our favorite alternative. The all-natural mixes are easy to use and filled with top-quality ingredients—such as Guittard cocoa and Callebaut chocolate—that you don’t generally get in boxed mixes. In fact, the Baked brownies don’t taste like they come from a brownie mix at all. We tried all three varieties—Deep Dark Chocolate, peanut butter and brown sugar blondie—and found each one to be incredibly moist, intensely chocolaty and actually better than many from-scratch brownies we’ve had. And they are irresistible even two days after they’ve been baked (and longer), when they’re still surprisingly moist and their rich flavors have had a chance to deepen. When we finally froze the remaining brownies, they were four days old, and just as tasty as on Day 1.

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When Matt Lewis and Renato Polifito left the advertising agency business to open Baked, their New York bakery, in 2005, they immediately garnered attention for their Deep Dark Chocolate Brownie. America’s Test Kitchen and the Today show both awarded the dense, fudgy treat with the title of “best brownie,” and Oprah featured it as a “favorite thing” in O magazine.

These days, Baked bakes as many as 800 brownies a day and attracts crowds of dessert lovers who make the journey to the bakery’s out-of-the-way Brooklyn location for a bite of brownie bliss.

When customers began requesting the recipe for the brownie, Lewis and Polifito obliged and included it in their first cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008).

Patrons then started asking for a mix to take home and Lewis and Polifito again obliged. Sold exclusively at Williams-Sonoma, the mixes, which debuted at the beginning of 2011, were an instant hit and had to be placed on back order twice within a month.

If you need a quick and easy yet, impressive, dessert, boxes of Baked brownie mixes are your new baking helpers. The mixes themselves also make nice gifts, thanks to the handsome packaging, which is meant to emulate the Brooklyn bakery’s ski-lodge aesthetic.


Brown Sugar Blondie: Satisfyingly chewy, buttery and sweet.

Some people may balk at the mixes’ hefty $16 price tags, but we think it’s a fair price given that they are made with premium Guittard cocoa and Callebaut chocolate. Each box also makes a generous 9x13-inch tray of brownies versus the typical 8x8, so there’s plenty to share with friends—or hoard in the freezer for yourself (which is what we did).

The Baked mixes are just slightly high maintenance.

Most boxed mixes generally instruct you to dump all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix them together. The Baked instructions are a bit more particular:

  • Melt the butter and chocolate and let them cool for five minutes.
  • Gently add room temperature eggs one at a time.
  • Sprinkle the dry mix over the butter-chocolate-egg mixture and carefully fold it in.
  • Spread the mixture in a pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking, for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Preparing each of the batters for the oven took about 20 minutes, but the steps are easy enough to follow and the extra effort is worth it to achieve the ultimate fudgy brownies.

But that’s the difference between good and great.


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