This is round 2 for the Head to Head Brownie Challenge. The first batch of box mix and home made were taken to my sewing class, but both were bad. Really bad. I ended up throwing them away, and I’m a tightwad; I hate throwing stuff away! (I must tell you to avoid the Target brand brownie mix at all cost. They were terrible!)
Here’s my second attempt at home made brownies, compared to a Chocolate Walnut Brownie mix by Pillsbury.
Chocolate Walnut Brownies
- 1 cup white sugar ($.16)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil ($.12)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder ($.55)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract ($.10)
- 2 eggs ($.34)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour ($.06)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup walnut halves (optional, $.33)
Combine all ingredients and stir until well combined. Bake at 350 degrees F in a greased 8″x8″ pan for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
The Cost Breakdown:
The Pillsbury mix cost $2.89, plus 1/3 c. oil ($.08) and 1 egg ($.17), for a total cost $3.14 for 12 brownies, or $.26 per brownie.
The home made version costs $1.66 if made with walnuts, or $.14 per brownie. Without the walnuts, they’re just $.11 per brownie. That’s 45% less than the mix!
The Taste Test:
I had to redeem myself with my sewing class, so I took in both batches and they got to taste test for me again. The general consensus: store bought wins. I think it may be my recipe, or my lack of baking prowess, but my home made ones just didn’t have the chewy texture that you want in a brownie. The box mix had a more intense chocolate flavor and was sweeter; walnuts were plentiful in the box mix, but I thought they tasted a little off.
The home made version has a mellower flavor altogether. It is less sweet, but I found the box mix to be too sweet for my taste. Its chocolate flavor isn’t quite as strong. There is a nice chewiness, but the box mix wins on the chewy factor. The home made recipe would likely make really good cookies.
Peanut the 4 year old liked both of them. (You’re not surprised, are you?)
The Time Factor:
The box mix took 5 minutes to prepare, from opening the box to putting the pan in the oven.
The home made version took 8 minutes to prepare, including gathering ingredients.
Both times include the help of a four year old in measuring, mixing, and pouring; your times may be faster if only grown ups are doing to the prep work, or if you use an electric mixer.
Ingredients in brownie mix: sugar, enriched bleached flower (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavin, floic acid), walnuts with BHT added to protect flavor, cocoa processed with alkali and cocoa, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, corn starch, salt, natural and artificial flavor, baking soda, corn oil, soy lecithin
Nutrition facts (as prepared):
Fat: 11 grams
Sodium: 90 mg
Carbohydrates: 24 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Protein: 2.5 grams
Ingredients in home made brownies: sugar, white whole wheat flour, canola oil, eggs, cocoa powder, walnuts, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt
Fat: 12 grams
Sodium: 61 mg
Carbohydrates: 23.5 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 2.5 grams
The nutrition is surprisingly similar. I don’t like the partially hydrogenated oil in the box mix, and the home made version is made with white whole wheat flour, so there is a slight nutritional advantage to home made, but I don’t think one has the edge over the other. Both are occasional treats, or as Cookie Monster says, “sometimes foods”.
The box mix is convenient, since you don’t have to have as many ingredients on hand. You’re likely to find sale and coupon combos that make it cheaper than home-made as well.
Scratch vs. Storebought winner:
Although it costs more, I’m calling it for the box mix, with comparison to this brownie recipe. I will still be searching for a tastier, chewier home made version, because of that 45% difference in cost and the added ingredients that I don’t want to feed my family, but for this comparison, Pillsbury beats the home made recipe.
Do you have an excellent, chewy, chocolate fudgy brownie recipe that is foolproof? Leave it in the comments and I’ll try them to compare with the leftover Pillsbury brownies!
After a bit of re-tooling my blogging schedule, Scratch vs. Store Bought will has found its regular home on Thursdays. I’m always open to suggestions of what to test!
Next week: Microwave popcorn vs. stove top kernels.
(I accidentally posted an incomplete version of the SvSB: Brownies post last week for about an hour, so if you’re subscribed, you saw a post in progress. I didn’t realize that I’d scheduled it to post and learned how not to draft posts!)