I love brownies, but living in a single room in a college dorm generally prevents me from making and enjoying a good pan of double chocolate brownies. Thankfully, I am an impulsive shopper when I go to the grocery store alone, and I found that three different companies make mug brownie mixes. The logical thing to do when I saw them was to buy all three and make my friends try them while we watched the premiere of the Jonas Brothers' new music video. 

For a quick and easy treat on a school night, we were all excited to make them. I was worried that they were going to explode and make a mess in the microwave, but there were no disasters, and being at 6,000 feet above sea level did not seem to impact any of the brownies. 

Minerva Ho

Calling them brownies, however, is a bit of a stretch. When I think of a brownie, I think of a nice square bar that I can eat with my fingers. These three were definitely closer to cake than brownie because they were just one large lump, and we had to eat them with spoons. 

Duncan Hines 

Minerva Ho

The Duncan Hines brownie was the most brownie-looking one out of the three. It didn't collapse on itself as much as the others did, but it still had a more cakey consistency. It was nothing special, and I only learned afterwards that Dunacn Hines sells 1-serving frosting packages to go with the brownie. I don't know if having frosting would have made a difference, but I am annoyed that they aren't sold together (see: Betty Crocker). 

On another note, this one was particularly hard to wash out of the mug. None of the packages recommended greasing the container like you would do for a cake, so I didn't, but then I had to use some serious elbow grease to clean up. Not having a dishwasher certainly didn't help. 


Minerva Ho

The Ghiradelli brownie was much more pale than its counterparts. For a company that usually produces a solid chocolate flavor, I was a bit disappointed. The brownie was fluffier than expected, but it generally tasted okay. It was not as chewy as normal Ghiradelli brownies are. The best part was the real chocolate chips that were scattered throughout. The serving size was probably a bit bigger than a normal brownie, but it was still a good size. 

Betty Crocker

Minerva Ho

The best part of this brownie was the fudge topping. Although my friend complained that I was giving her a ketchup packet when I first took it out of the box, she stopped complaining when she ate it. It looks pretty thick, but when you put it on the warm brownie, it spreads well. It was almost impossible to spread it with the same pattern the box did, but we can get over that. 

The brownie was pretty good. It was chocolatey and had a decent consistency. it was less cake-like than the others, but the topping tasted more like frosting and put it back in the cake category. 

I will never say no to trying a brownie, but I don't think I want any of these three again. We had fun making and trying them again, but I am not craving them. Next time I need a single portion dessert in a pinch, I will just buy mug cake mix, and save the brownies for when I actually have time to bake them.