Monday, April 8, 2013

Cubicle kitchen: Trader Joe's Brownie Bites

I am counting down the days until Trader Joe's comes to Austin, although I know that even when they open, I will probably need to give it a wide berth in order to avoid getting trampled by other ravenous TJ fans.  In the meantime, I have some Trader's booty from the Houston and San Antonio locations I have visited in the recent months.

I always hear about how great the store brand is in particular, for quality and value.  That's why I wanted to try out this brownie mix just as it was, but I couldn't ignore my primal instinct to mix things together and try something new.  So I went for brownie bites rather than a pan cut into squares, which allowed me to break my batter into a few categories.  There were countless possibilities, but I restricted myself to just four:

  • Original: I had to leave some as just plain old truffle brownies.  Which sounds like an oxymoron to me, but there ya go.
  • Chocolate chip: A few 'spare' milk chocolate chips sprinkled on top, because more chocolate is rarely wrong.
  • Caramel center: Again, 'spare' soft caramel candies, submerged in brownie goodness.  And again, because adding caramel can't really be wrong either.
  • Cookie butter: Also of the TJ brand, I thought it only appropriate to swirl some of this on top of a few.
Aside from getting to mix things up, I feel like I was able to do a little informal anthropologizing based on which flavor brownie bite disappeared faster.  Turns out, cookie butter is too intriguing to pass up, so that came in first place.  Caramel was a close second, though, and extra chocolate chips perhaps an expected third.  Coming in last were the demure originals, but they still made a good showing.  Or rather, tasting.  it all served to only heighten my cravings for the Austin location...this fall in Rollingwood!

Trader Joe's Brownie Bites
makes 36 brownie bites

  • box of Trader Joe's Brownie Truffle Baking Mix (or other brownie mix)
  • eggs and butter/oil as directed by the mix
  • additional mix-ins: chocolate chips, Speculoos cookie butter, soft caramel candies, nuts, M&Ms, etc.
  1. Take a clean mini-muffin pan and spray generously with non-stick spray.  Then spray some more.
  2. Follow the directions for the mix to create the batter, including preheating the oven to the correct temperature.
  3. Scoop the batter into the tins, until they are only about half to two-thirds full.  Add in whatever mix-ins you'd like.  
    • For soft caramels: cut in half first, then press into the batter until mostly submerged.
    • For cookie butter: Take a small dollop of cookie butter and swirl it onto the top of the batter with a knife.
    • For chocolate chips, nuts, or other candies: you can either sprinkle them on top (if you want them in the batter itself, you'll need to combine before scooping into the tins).
  4. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool in the pan a few minutes before popping out of the pan and cooling on wire rack.


  1. Oh my! Suddenly, the chocolate chip cookies I baked this afternoon aren't enough - must bake brownies! Thanks for reading and commenting.