September 17th: GU Brownies

Kcal 178 Fat 10.7g Fat(sats) 5.7g Carbs 20.0g (per brownie)

After receiving dozens of reader requests asking me to look at GU's desserts range I finally decided to oblige, and I today bring you my review of these GU Brownies. I found these brownies in the unusual location of the fresh desserts chiller cabinet during my weekly shopping trip to Sainsbury's. I don't know if GU have come to some corporate arrangement with Sainsbury's, but the entire contents of these shelves were dominated by GU products apart from the Sainsbury's own brand fresh cakes - before anyone asks I'm pretty sure these can also be bought in the likes of Tesco etc. On the box these came described as 'chocolate brownies made with 50% cocoa chocolate and pecan nuts'.

I'm not altogether sure of the weight of the box, but inside there were 8 individually wrapped brownies. In terms of price, I have to admit that the £4 I payed for these did seem pretty hefty at the time - suffice to say it noticeably added a fair wedge on my final store receipt. Presentation wise I was altogether pretty impressed. The dome shaped box was no doubt a pain in the backside to photograph :D , but I thought it looked cool nonetheless and it was very easy to store in my fridge. The brownies themselves also looked appetising on the eye, though I wasn't particularly impressed by the aromas that were released from their plastic packets. The chocolate cake smells on offer weren't at all unappealing (far from it!), but I was expecting them to be far stronger for products that were supposedly 'fresh'.

What with these brownies being 'freshly made' they had a relatively short 'best before' date of one week, so I took these into work to share with my ever grateful work colleagues. To make sure we had all bases covered we of course tried these brownies in a number of different ways - straight from the fridge, heated, and lastly, and most indulgently, with some Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream. Despite trying them all these different ways the experience they delivered was pretty similar each time, and there were obvious positives and negatives. Speaking about the good stuff first, these brownies were more than adequately satisfying and they established a rich chocolate experience from the very first bite. The taste was laden with unsweetened cocoa flavours that built with every chew, and additionally there were minor nutty offerings from the pecans. Moving on to the not so positive feedback from some of my colleagues, they felt that the brownies were a little one dimensional with their dense, viscous texture. A lot of them remarked that good brownies have crisp, light outer portions and then soft gooey centres - these were simply just slabs of dense brownie cake. A more personal gripe of my own was that the pecans could have been better implemented had they been larger in size. I think the flavour impact would have greater had they been bigger, and they would have brought a crunchy element to the one dimensional texture problem. Out of all these methods the situation where these brownies shone were when they were heated with the ice cream - believe me this made for one devilishly rich dessert.

Overall these were some very tasty brownies but there are some glaring areas where I think they could be fractionally improved. One thing that I can have no complaints about whatsoever was the quality of the dark chocolate used, it was exceedingly rich tasting and flavoursome for just a 50% cocoa recipe. People who suffer from nut allergies obviously wont agree with me here, but the pecan nuts were also a fantastic inclusion, though as I mentioned above they could have been even more genius had they been larger in size and not chopped so finely. It may sound like I am being overly critical here but you have to remember I am always comparing these to the truly superb Heavenly Cakes Milk Chocolate Brownie which I once described as "the best plain brownie I think I have ever had the delight of eating". If we put Heavenly Cakes aside for just being in a class of their own, these GU Brownies are at least worth taking a look at if brownies are your thing. They are a little expensive and by no means perfect, but they are still some very tasty cakes indeed - more GU cakes coming soon.

7.6 out of 10