My brother-in-law has a real sweet tooth. He lives rather far away, so I didn’t have a chance to make him a homemade box of chocolates like I did for many of my family members. Instead, I remembered some mail order cookies I’d gotten when I donated money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They were from Cheryl and Co. and were pretty tasty. Since it was simple and sweet, I sent him a box for Christmas.
Now, while I was picking out his cookies, I couldn’t help but glance at something sweet for myself. Although I do like cookies, brownies are where my heart lies. And Cheryl and Co. has brownies. So, since shipping was free, I found myself a sampler and ordered them post haste. I did have a slightly hard time choosing between two of the samplers. One had the toffee crunch brownie, and toffee is a real weakness of mine. The other one replaced the toffee crunch with a fudge caramel. Since I also have a weakness for caramel, it was a debate. In the end, toffee won out.
My sampler arrived with a ten brownies in it. Well, some of them were brownies. Some were technically “bars.” Let me explain, I got traditional chocolatey brownies like cashew chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate fudge, fudge, toffee crunch and zebra. Then I also got some non-traditional (and non-brown) bars like the apricot, raspberry, blondie and oatmeal scotchie. I actually got two of the regular fudge variety.
The actual brownies came in a lovely red box, tied with a white ribbon. Inside the box they were individually wrapped plastic packages. Each one had the company label, name and ingredients on it. They also arrived within two days after being ordered, which made me really happy since I didn’t pay extra shipping to have them arrive so fast.
The first brownie I tried was the cashew chocolate chip. It wasn’t a typical brownie since the only chocolate in it was in the chocolate chips scattered throughout. This one fell apart really easily. The cashews weren’t crunchy like I expected. In fact, they were a little waxy, which might have taken away from the flavor if there hadn’t been so much going on in this brownie. It was honestly a littl overwhelming. I couldn’t get one solid flavor or taste from it, and I think that had a lot to do with all the chunky aspects of it.
The next nibble I took was of the zebra brownie. This brownie obviously took it’s name from it’s chocolate top layer and vanilla bottom layer. The “stripes” were made up of the chocolate chips entrenched in the vanilla layer. Like all of the brownies from Cheryl and Co., this one was a little gritty, not entirely moist like a fresh pan of brownies is. It did have a solid chocolate flavor, even in the vanilla layer (thanks to the chocolate chips). I took a taste of the bottom layer by itself, and while it was cake-like in texture, there wasn’t much of a taste to it. Just sort of sugary.
I should pause here for just a second to explain my brownie philosophy. Iknow I’m a little biased. I don’t really like super chunky brownies. I like mine smoother and moister, so several of these brownies were not what I would choose.
The fudge brownie was more up my alley. It wasn’t quite the fudgy consistancy I was hoping for, but it was definitely chocolatey and very smooth in texture. It tasted more like what I bake at home. It was quite tasty, and so rich that it needed milk to wash it down with. The same was true for the chocolate, chocolate fudge brownie. The only difference here was that this one once again had chocolate chips in it, which I must admit, knocked it down a notch in my book.
I took a break from the actual brownies and tried the raspberry bar. This one was GREAT! It was sort of a cross between a crumble and a danish from Entemann’s. The bar was flatter than the brownies and had a river of raspberry filling running through it. There was a crispy, crumbly topping that reminded me of my homemade apple crisp. The raspberry wasn’t quite as tart as it could have been, but it was still quite tasty and without a doubt, my favorite “bar” in the box.
The oatmeal scotchie, another one of the “bars,” was also delicious! This was the first piece in the box that was really creamy and moist. There were butterscotch chips throughout, but they didn’t quite chunk up the brownie the way the chocolate ones did. This one also wasn’t in the least bit grainy. It was actually more flaky than anything, kind of like a fresh pastry. YUM!
I only had one real brownie left, and I was really craving chocolate, so my next sampling was the toffee crunch. This one was definitely misnamed. It was also a HUGE disappointment to me. It was a chocolate brownie loaded up with chocolate chips, and that’s where I guess the crunch part of the name came from. The toffee itself was a soft toffee. Now, I realize some people really like soft toffee, but I’m not one. I like my toffee crisp. When I was in England I noticed several soft toffee candies and desserts and while I liked them just fine, that’s the extend I could say about them…they were fine. To make matters worse, there didn’t appear to be toffee throughout this brownie, but just in a little sliver on the top, which was not at all satisfying. I wanted an actual toffee crunch and I did not get it.
The last one I tried was the blondie*. Blondies are the original brownie alternative. They are made sans a chocolate base for those who want the texture of a brownie without the taste of one (lame). The first thing I noticed about this one was that it was full of walnuts. Walnuts, I should add, are the most boring nuts in the world. They have little, to no flavor. There only contribution seems to be crunch, and these were not at all crunchy. Much like the cashews, they were waxy and blah. This one was also a bit dry and very crumbly. Just like the zebra base, the actual “cake” part was bland and just didn’t get me excited at all.
Now, considering I’d paid just under $30 for a box of 10 (that’s nearly $3 per brownie), I have to admit I was quite disappointed. They weren’t bad; they just weren’t anything exciting. With the exception of the oatmeal scotchie and the raspberry bar, I can’t really imagine myself eating them again. Well, unless they were free. While I really did like the fudge brownie, it was so similar to what I make at home for about .30 cents each, that it just isn’t worth it to me.
*I still have the apricot bar waiting for me. I’ll update when I try it.