I'm a sucker for a good Sunday night sweet, so this weekend, when I was craving chocolate, I decided to break out of the chocolate chip mold and actually bake. Take that, August heat! I turned my oven on for the first time in a month because, unlike pot roast, soup, collards, burgers, and veggies, brownies in my glass pan were not welcome on the gas grill.

I got inspired by Cooking Light's Mocha Cream Brownie Wedges and noticed that it called for gluten-free brownie mix, which I happened to have in my pantry.


How could you not be inspired? Yum!

I've made a brownie or two in my day. In sixth grade, I begged for a brownie sundae bar birthday party instead of a traditional cake-and-ice-cream soiree. My first attempt at making the gooey goodness on my own resulted in my best friend's mom cleaning batter off the ceiling, something we still don't fully understand. I even made them from scratch every other day for a year while working at a local bakery. However, I'd never made gluten-free brownies before.

I didn't know what to expect. Would they be chewy? Dry? Cake-like? I dove in using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Brownie Mix, which makes one 9X13 pan. Normally I have a mix featuring chocolate chips or fudge sauce, one that calls for water, oil, and two or three eggs, depending on if I want fudge- or cake-like brownies. This mix surprised me, calling for one egg, water, melted butter, gluten-free vanilla, and gluten-free chocolate chips, but I did love that the recipe maker had my number. Instead of saying the 9X13 pan would make 48 brownies (who does that?), it said it served 16, so when I had a serving smaller than 2X3, I was actually only having half a portion, which was more than enough due to how rich they were, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I baked the gluten-free brownies and they smelled amazing. I let them cool (while eyeing them over my bowl of soup), then cut into them. They were darker in color and seemed more chocolaty than traditional mixes.

My husband and I tasted them. "What's that flavor?" I asked him. "I think it's real chocolate," he replied. Score! We each had a full serving, but not a bite more, also not our typical brownie M.O. These brownies were rich, filling, and full of dark chocolate flavor. I'm not sure what I thought gluten-free brownies would be missing, but I'd serve these to gluten-free friends and those not on special diets as well. If only we'd remembered the ice cream...

I brought the rest into work today and within 20 minutes all that was left was the chocolaty residue on the bottom of the pan. For me, these brownies were richer and more satisfying than traditional boxed-mix brownies, but maybe not quite as ooey-gooey as fresh-from-the-bakery brownies. As a former bakery worker, I can also tell you there's significantly less butter in these, so remind yourself of that when you're going back for a second helping.

Have you tried any gluten-free baking mixes? Which ones are your favorites?

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel