Not all brownies are created equal – it’s a sad, sad reality that everyone faces at some point. You finally convince yourself that you deserve this calorie splurge, maybe even spend a couple bucks that you hadn’t intended to, only to take a huge bite of a dry, crumbly, is-this-even-chocolate disappointment. To be fair, not everyone looks for the same thing in a brownie: fudgyness, fluffiness, density, chewiness, darkness of chocolate and frosting are just a few variables that people seek to different degrees. Still, some brownies are just undeniably better than others.


Photo by Hayden Carder

So, where on this icy tundra of a campus should a student go to satisfy their sweet tooth? We assembled five brave souls to blindly sample and rank the six chocolate brownies (we left out the Pura Vida mint brownies for fairness’ sake) readily available at UR. We were shocked by our own results.

#6. Fudge Brownie (The Pit)


Photo by Hayden Carder

Pale, dry-looking and frosted with what appeared to be cardboard, these brownies put many of us off before the first bite. Their taste wasn’t bad, per se, but it was not very brownie-like. Lacking sweetness and chocolateyness, this sad excuse for a brownie should be a last-resort.

“These look weird. I’m guessing this is gluten-free…Yeah, this must be gluten-free.”
“It’s kinda dry.”
“There’s a nice hint of cinnamon, but it doesn’t really taste like a brownie.”
“There’s something in there – almond? I don’t know. I like it!”

#5. Double Chocolate Chunk Brownie (Starbucks)


Photo by Hayden Carder

Although many Starbucks pastries are actually quite delectable, this one doesn’t live up to its exciting name. Everyone agreed that it was mediocre, and some even complained of a strange aftertaste.

“This is pretty standard, not too exciting…Woah, weird aftertaste.”
“It’s basic.”
“Mid-range brownie at best.”

#4. Kosher brownie (Douglass)


Photo by Hayden Carder

Contrary to my previous post, the famous kosher brownie does not reign supreme on River Campus. It didn’t get any negative comments, unlike the bottom two, but it simply wasn’t impressive enough to rank among the top three. It’s undoubtedly the smallest option, though, so it’s perfect for those not looking to indulge in the 400+ calories of the best brownies. Also, some might say that, being in Douglass, it is “free.”

“So fudgy!”
“Lots of fudge.”
“Very dense.”

#3. Chocolate brownie (Pura Vida)


Photo by Hayden Carder

Connections has a brownie-esque confection called a “fudge bomb,” but this Pura Vida brownie could easily take that title. Over an inch thick, roughly 9 square inches and coated in rich, velvety frosting, these fudgy treats are not for the faint-hearted. Just a quarter of one was enough to wow most of us, although even that was too overwhelming for one taster.

“It tastes more like fudge than a brownie to me.”
“Wow, that’s really good.”
“This is a winner.”
“No. Too sweet for me.”

#2. Gluten-Free Fudge Chunk Brownie (Au Bon Pain)


Photo by Hayden Carder

This was the big shocker. Many of the tasters were expecting the gluten-free option to be the worst and were astonished when it ultimately turned out to be  among their favorites. The lack of flour gave it a nice chewy density, and its melt-in-your-mouth, caramel flavor probably came from browned butter. In terms of averaging the rankings (1-6), this one actually tied with our #1, and received two #1 scorings from tasters; but, since one person spoke ill of it, it didn’t seem right to give it the top spot.

That’s good. It tastes like there’s caramel! And there’s chocolate chips! It’s got everything!”
“I’m getting a caramel vibe. It’s nice and moist, not in an overwhelming way.”
“I don’t like this one at all…Nope, not feeling it.”

#1. Chocolate Chip Brownie (Au Bon Pain)


Photo by Hayden Carder

Maybe there was some subconscious first-sample bias, but this was the one brownie that yielded no complaints and was ranked somewhere in the top three by all tasters.  Its unassumingness is what made it shine, as it just perfected the key elements of texture, chewiness and not being too sweet. This brownie proves that the simple things in life win out over the over-ambitious.

“Solid brownie, I like the texture with the chocolate chips.”
“It’s simple but good.”
“I like it, it tastes pretty homemade.”

If you don’t feel like buying brownies: