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BROWNIE MIXES

We usually can't resist one more bite when it comes to brownies (why do you think we always volunteer to cut them?). Whether you prefer these treats buttery and cakelike or more on the gooey side, we found products to please. Warm brownie pieces with ice cream and a dollop of fudge sauce? Heaven.

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Product/Score HowÍd it Look? JudgesÍ comments would they buy? shopping info
Betty Crocker/83 Fudgy Buttery was the term most often used by our judges to describe these brownies. They loved the plumpness, the smooth texture and the sweet, creamy flavor. "They are rich and chewy," one judge said. "The only thing you would need with these is a second plate for an extra one!" Four of the five judges said yes. 75 cents for an 18.3-ounce box from Walmart.
Duncan Hines/74 Dense These were like soft cookies. Judges described them as chocolate cake tarts with a hint of almond. They were dark, smooth and intensely chocolate. "They would be great with ice cream and chocolate syrup," said one. Another compared them to "a sweet lyric from Beyoncé." Four of the five judges said yes. $1.99 for a 19.9-ounce box from Publix.
Pillsbury/71 Plump Judges enjoyed these for their moist and gooey texture. They were sweet and dense with a shiny top. "They sing like moonlight in the mouth," said one panelist. A couple complained they were too messy. Four of the five judges said yes. $1.99 for a 19.5-ounce box from Publix.

Also Sampled: Hannaford ($1.34 for a 19.8-ounce box from Sweetbay, 67 points); Ghirardelli ($2.79 for an 18.75-ounce box from Publix, 61 points); Betty Crocker Gluten Free ($3.99 for a 16-ounce box from Publix, 60 points); and Martha White ($1.79 for a 22.5-ounce pouch from Publix, 59 points).

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Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute in St. Petersburg; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past TasterÍs Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

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