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Dharma Kitchen


DK Taste Test: Choc. Brownies are Gluten-Free and Sustainable

Carrie H

Sometimes I receive offers to try products or services. Many times I turn those offers down because they don't connect with me personally and what the Dharma Kitchen is about. 

Hello, brownies! 

Hello, brownies! 

However, sometimes you get lucky and someone offers to send you a box of brownies. And those brownies happen to be made by Choc., a company with a select presence in both Los Angeles and Brooklyn. All of their brownies are gluten-free, made with Theo chocolate from Seattle along with local organic butter and organic, pastured eggs, along with sucanat, a minimally processed sugar. The flours are organic and non-GMO. The packaging is biodegradeable; in fact, one of the tags on the box apparently contains the ability to sprout herbs if you plant it in the ground just so. (I haven't tried this yet, but it's totally tempting, right?) If you don't live near a Stumptown Coffee in New York, which sells their brownies, or say, Broome Street in Los Angeles, never fear. The internet is your friend and you can order these treats online. They are best kept refrigerated and keep for up to three months in the freeze—or three weeks in the fridge. Or shorter, depending on your appetite for sweets. They have the consistency of fudge and smartly come with a knife, making it easy to cut a slice off, like you would with fudge, and put it in the freezer for the next craving. 

You can order these brownies in six or nine packs. Choose wisely. They keep for a while. 

You can order these brownies in six or nine packs. Choose wisely. They keep for a while. 

Neelie Hespen and Monika Gray started the company in 2011 in Los Angeles via Kickstarter and nabbed their first wholesale account with Broome Street General Store in Silverlake. You can thank the cupcake craze for the inspiration. "I was curious as to why people were so interested in an old classic cupcake and paying top dollar for something that costs 20 cents to make, since as far as I could tell from most of the cupcake makers, there was very little consideration as to the quality of ingredients," says Hespen. That's when she decided to perfect a brownie recipe, one that had to fit into her "diet profile" already. "We want people to enjoy a guilty pleasure, yet this is something your body understands how to metabolize." 

Now, onto the flavors. I was sent a smattering of choices. There's often a specialty flavor; when I last checked it was ginger. The flagship flavors are original, salted caramel and peanut butter and honey. Since then, you can see by what they've sent me that things have gotten more complicated—in a good way.