Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trader Joe's Sea Salt Brownie Petites

CHOCOLATE WEEK soldiers on with Day 5: 

In my on-and-off monitoring of Twitter for posts with the #TraderJoes hashtag the other day, somebody piped up about these morsels, which I had not heard of or noticed in the store previously. (I usually don't even look at the fresh-baked table.)

Now, some random person saying on Twitter that he or she loves a TJ's item is not enough, by itself, to get said item on my shopping list, because people love all sorts of revolting things. But take that recommendation, combine it with a category of product that I have loved all my life (brownies), and add a pinch of interesting variation to it--see what I did there?--and I'll be on the lookout for it on my next grocery run.

I broke open the tub after a dinner with Nina. We each munched on one. I detected no saltiness whatsoever. Fearing that I had either grabbed an anomalous one or that my taste buds were out of whack, I went for a second. Still nothing. So I spoke up: "I taste no salt." Her reply: "Me either."

Granted, TJ's claims only that these are "sprinkled" with salt, and that the salt is "a subtle twist." But it's so subtle that two first-time tasters independently noticed zero saltiness, despite trying to find it. You could call that "subtle." I call it "absent."

Nevertheless, I liked these brownies just fine. Of course they're institutional, rather than hot out of the oven. But given that inherent limitation, I liked their flavor, their texture, and their moistness. I especially appreciated that they were not ruined by the addition of nuts, as so many commercial brownies are.

Will I buy it again? 

Probably not. This isn't because they're not good, but because brownies are one of the few items on which I long ago decided that making my own was worth the trouble. Mind you, we're talking from a mix, but a very good mix--specifically, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate. (Ghirardelli rather ridiculously makes eight different brownie mixes. This one is the best of the bunch. Just trust me on that.) Nina is the one who turned me on to the superiority of Ghirardelli over its competitors.The minor work involved in adding oil and eggs pays off royally in how they fill the house with chocolaty aromas for half an hour before you get to eat them all hot and gooey and wonderful. There just isn't much opening for any pre-made brownies to elbow in on that work:reward ratio.


  1. Try making your Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownies in a muffin tin. I think they take about 10 minutes less (Google it), and you get the crispiness with every one. That's the way we make them every time, now. Plus: They're the right size for a snack.

  2. Agreed. Ghirardelli is the only way to go. TJs brownie mix kinda sucks FYI.
    I tried these brownie bites at a work lunch potluck and they were meh, no distinguishable salt and not satisfying as a brownie.