What a treat, my lovely aunt Sarah bought me a pack of Montezuma’s ‘Bake Craft’ dark chocolate and salted peanut brownie mix for Easter. I can’t recall using a baking ready-mix since I was a kid, but thankfully new products like this one from Montezuma’s are a million miles away from the weird-tasting cartoon cupcakes that I vaguely remember pouring out of a box.
However tasty these Montezuma’s brownies are, there is one negative mental association with packet baking mixes that I can’t shake. It’s from the compelling Adam Curtis documentary series The Century of the Self (2002), about how Freud’s theory of subconscious has been used by people in power to manipulate the public. The story that sticks in my head is about how Betty Crocker cake mixes were initially massively unpopular with consumers. The products weren’t selling because housewives felt guilty about the ease of making pre-mixed cake, so, advertisers came up with ‘just add an egg’. The campaign idea was based on Freudian logic that women would subconsciously associate this gesture with symbols of fertility and self-sacrifice, and it worked. Betty Crocker cake mixes became a total hit.
This Montezuma’s brownie mix requires not just one egg but two, and half a bar of butter as well, so I feel like I’m really doing my bit. The way the resealable sachet opens to reveal a packet of chocolate couverture on top of the dry brownie mix is also pleasingly feminine.
The brownies don’t jump out of the pack and into the oven by their own accord, but preparing the mix is pretty foolproof: melt the chocolate over a pan of hot water, whisk in 125g of softened butter and two beaten eggs. Shake up the dry brownie mixture then pour onto the wet ingredients and fold until just combined. Plop the brownie mix into a greased cake tin and bake at 170c for 25 minutes. The resulting brownies are truly scrumptious, and totally on-trend with their salty sweetness. I’ve eaten two Montezuma’s brownies tonight with extra thick double cream and I feel like an utter pig. I wonder what Freud would say to that?
Sadly, Montezuma’s dark chocolate and salted peanut brownie mix is a seasonal product that is discontinued at Easter. The Bake Craft mixes currently available on the Montezuma’s website include a white chocolate and butterscotch blondie kit and a milk chocolate and hazelnut cookie kit, both at £9.99.
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About Chloe King
I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.
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