My spending patterns when it comes to food are consistently inconsistent. I find unparalleled joy in ravaging the discount aisle in Kroger for marked-down cereal and canned goods and will purchase that 50-percent-off package of tilapia due to expire in two days even if it looks a wee bit gray. On the flip side, I also don’t blink twice when handing over mucho moolah for the decadent dainties I love, such as foie gras pȃté, lobster and caviar (though don’t underestimate the cheap varieties). I guess my fiscal motto is “Go Big or Go Home But Never Pay Full Price Except Sometimes.”
And while it’s clear I like to satisfy my sweet tooth on the cheap via Shipley Do-Nuts and soft-serve cones from James Coney Island, I always find myself at an impasse when I encounter hyper-expensive baked goods, such as Williams-Sonoma’s $35 Double Dark Chocolate brownies. What if, just what if, they are really, really, really good?, I wonder.
Yes, you read correctly: in order to enjoy “Blissful Brownies” (created by Ambler FitzSimons and sold through Williams-Sonoma), you must fork over three 10s and a five plus shipping and handling. But after one forkful of the double dark chocolate brownies made with premium Guittard chocolate chunks, resulting in “a rich, velvety confection that's pure chocolate heaven,” would such a high price seem justified?
For those of you who would immediately reply, “No, never, on no uncertain terms,” this is where I leave you.
Armed with a 20-percent-off coupon and a gift card, I decided to find out. Upon placing my order, I was warned several times that I couldn’t return this item, which was a-okay with me because I have better things to do than ship lackluster brownies back to a luxury food products company with the vague hope of a refund. I would rather just engage in a prolonged Twitter rant, thank you.
Within two days I received notification of exactly when my Blissful Brownies would arrive at my house, and by noon on the designated date, I had a neat little parcel on my doorstep. After the kitties completed their inspection for bombs and other devices that might cause me harm and prevent me from feeding them cheese puffs, I was allowed to open the package. As promised, the brownies were encased in plastic wrap inside an attractive “ribbon-tied kraft paper box.” FYI, I don’t exactly understand the meaning of kraft in that description, for I thought we going with the small “c” when referring to artisanal food made in small batches, and the food processing conglomerate is all about the big “K.” But no matter.
I eagerly cut a square from my hefty 7 1/2 x 5" x 1 ½ brownie brick (weighing in at 1 pound, 8 ounces) and took a bite. Well, they weren’t lying when they wrote the first two ingredients were chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate, respectively, because I was hit with a tsunami of cocoa flavor. A second bite was equally intense and punctuated by over-sized, tooth-tingly sweet chocolate chunks. Such richness necessitated a few recovery sips of milk to cleanse the palate. As I ate more, I concluded that while the taste was absolutely superb, the consistency was slightly lacking in moisture, which made for a brownie that verged too far on the fudgy side.
And, unfortunately, when you’re paying $35 for brownies, they better be damn near perfect. These weren’t, but they were, as I had hoped, really, really, really good.