Hey everyone! It’s been a little while since my last review, so I thought I would do one to start off the new year.
Last fall, as you may remember, my partner and I went up north and spent a few days in the Petoskey area, visiting the Tunnel of Trees and some other local attractions. One of those locations was the Pond Hill Farm, a cool farm and vineyard with a ton of pumpkins and a gift shop that, of course, we had to stop in and see.
At the time, we left with a small haul of tasty treats. We got some lime tortilla chips, some chocolate/strawberry muddy buddies, some chocolate covered cherries and, of course, the star of today’s post: the Ultimate Cherry Chocolate Brownies from Creekside Grains.
Creekside Grains was started by Michael and Loretta as a result of a photographer who loved to bake and a Miss America Scholarship Program preliminary competition that needed a fundraiser. Their mixes are made in Michigan with all natural ingredients. They have mixes for everything from pancakes to brownies to cookies and more.
Michael was Executive Director of Miss Heart of Michigan, which was a Miss America Scholarship Program preliminary competition. Miss Heart needed a fundraiser for the program, so Michael invented “Princess Pancakes” and “Royalty Root Beer Cookie Baking Mix.” Not only did they raise funds for Miss Heart, the idea took off like wildfire. Michael and Loretta knew it was time to start a business!Creekside Grains About Us
The box itself contains the brownie mix and a bag of dried cherries, with instructions on the back. I provide the butter, egg, and almond extract. Simple and easy.
The first step is to revive the cherries a bit by putting them in a mug with some water, then microwaving them to soften them up and let them absorb the moisture. Once they’re left to sit and rehydrate, I greased the baking pan. The recipe calls for explicitly a metal baking pan, which I don’t actually own (yet), so I had to use my springform pan. That thing has been getting a lot of use lately, so I highly recommend having one if you don’t already. Check out my gear page up top to see the one I have.
The next step is to cut and mix up the softened butter into the brownie mix. Now, I always hate this part in recipes that call for it. It’s not hard, it’s just tedious, and my arm gets tired well before I’m done. It took me a good five minutes to mix up until it was properly sandy.
That’s the hardest part of the mix, luckily. Add the egg, cherries, and almond extract to this, mix it up, and you’ve got a batter. I always love watching a batter come together.
Spread it out in your baking dish, toss them in the oven, and bake for 25 minutes. All pretty standard stuff. I do like the additional touches here and there, though. This isn’t a simple “mix in an egg, oil, and water” mix. The inclusion of rehydrating the cherries, the addition of almond extract, it all shows just that little extra care put into the product.
Overall, I would call this an excellent brownie mix. It’s very slightly more complicated to make than your usual boxed brownie mix, but the end result is worth it. It’s fudgy, soft, and has a nice texture. The combination of chocolate chips and cherries gives every bite something to look forward to.
My partner was a bit disappointed with the edges — he’s an edge piece guy through and through — but that’s as much my fault for using the wrong pan as anything. Personally, I like the middle pieces (it’s why we work so well together) and I found this mix to be exactly what I wanted.
One of the biggest risks with a mix like this is that the fruit won’t work. Sometimes it sinks to the bottom and gets burned or leaks, sometimes it doesn’t spread out, sometimes you can’t taste it. In the Creekside Grains mix, none of those happened. The cherries are nicely spread out, the chocolate chips give it a variety in texture, and it’s not overly rich.
I have no regrets with my purchase, and I’m sure you won’t either, if you try them yourself. Go on; have a piece!