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Allen Pierleoni /

A plate of rich brownies from a new mix made by Lindt, with walnuts added.

Lindt takes brownies to a higher level

Published: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 - 10:53 am

The folks at Lindt know that chocolate is tempting and resistance is futile. After all, the Swiss chocolatier has been making fine chocolates since 1845.

Recently, we taste-tested the company’s new “classic chocolate brownie mix,” the first baking mix ever released by Lindt. We came away very impressed. The mix comes in two flavors — chocolate and white chocolate-coconut, and retails for $12 at

I’ve eaten my share of brownies, but had never baked any, so this would be a kitchen adventure. Wouldn’t it?

The classy-looking cardboard box has a photo of four brownies on the front, stacked up and looking perfect. Inside the box were two 3.5-ounce bars of Lindt Excellence “smooth dark” chocolate (70 percent cocoa), and a bag of brownie mix. I needed to supply 5 tablespoons of butter, 3 eggs, parchment paper and a baking pan.

“Makes 16 2-by2-inch brownies,” said the directions. OK, then, let’s rock.

First, the chocolate bars needed to be broken into pieces, mixed with the butter and melted together, either by microwave oven or double boiler. I broke up the chocolate, which smelled so good I ate a few pieces (that won’t matter, right?), threw in the butter and stuck the bowl into the microwave.

Next came the eggs. Hmm. I had jumbo-size, so used two instead of three. That shouldn’t matter too much, right? I whisked the eggs, added the brownie mix and stirred for 15 seconds.

Uh-oh, was that the microwave oven timer? Yep. I had to stir and melt the chocolate-butter mixture a few times to get it right — in and out of the microwave — then whisked it into the eggs-brownie mix batter.

Uh-oh, I’d forgotten to preheat the oven to 325 degrees. But it won’t matter if the batter has to sit out for 9 minutes, will it?

For the heck of it, I tossed in a big handful of chopped walnuts and stirred them around. Really, that shouldn’t affect the recipe, should it?

Now I was ready to pour the brownie mixture into a parchment paper-lined baking pan. Uh, sorry, but I don’t have a baking pan and really wasn’t positioned to dash to the supermarket for parchment paper. So I lightly sprayed a metal pie tin with Pam, poured in the mix and stuck the pan in the oven. “Bake 35 to 40 minutes,” the directions said.

I surveyed the damage. Chocolate batter was on my hands, smeared on my face, and streaked on the kitchen counter and the handles of the microwave oven and the gas-fueled oven. How did that happen?

As I finished cleaning up, it occurrred that I should have set the timer to 35 minutes, but it was too late — the brownies had cooked for 45 minutes. Which really wouldn’t matter too much, would it?

After the brownies had cooled, I cut them up and passed them around. We agreed: The recipe was forgiving and the brownies were moist, rich and, really, some of the best we’ve had. Give ‘em four stars.

Next time, I’ll throw in some raisins or dried cherries along with some pecans. Lindt won’t mind, will it?

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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