We’ve been fans of Trader Joe’s Brownie Truffle Baking Mix for a few years now. When he was quite a bit younger, I once handed Matthew a plate of brownies and he remarked “you just can’t beat a good brownie.” No, no you can’t.

I have had a few tragic experiences where TJ’s have discontinued a favorite product, so I started some time ago to be concerned that this product might vanish. I started to think about how I could duplicate the recipe, but it was just so easy picking up a box now and then that I never actually tried it.

Then the COVID hit the fan. TJ’s is basically inaccessible. There is a line to get in, and I am too busy with pandemic-related issues to spend time waiting in line. Further, standing in a line (even with social distancing) is a questionable thing to do for someone in my position (most carriers are asymptomatic—consider the implications).

I started with little information, but I’m on the third generation now and I think they’re pretty close. The chocolate seems to have the most impact. I first used Lindt 85%, and ended up with brownies that have a lot more bite than TJ’s. I backed off to a generic 56% cocoa solids chocolate and the result was much closer, but perhaps a bit too light. Then again, my tastes tend toward more cocoa and less sugar; I suspect Joshua and Matthew like the lighter taste.


  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup (28 gm) chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder


Preheat oven to 350° F. Melt butter and chopped chocolate; whisk. Whisk in eggs. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder and beat. Spread batter into lightly greased 8×8″ pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting.