Kodiak Cakes Big Bear Brownie Mix, Double Chocolate Chunk, 18-Ounce Boxes

Although Big Bear Brownie Mix was introduced in 2006, company origins go back long before with the introduction of Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix. For many years, Penny Clark thought of packaging up her father’s pancake recipe and starting a business selling great tasting whole grain pancake mixes. One summer day in 1982, she decided she would mix up the dry ingredients of Grandpa’s “hot cakes” recipe and sell them to our neighborhood in brown paper lunch sacks. On the outside of each sack were the mixing and cooking instructions that she had carefully handwritten. Once the sacks were all filled with ingredients, Mom helped eight-year-old son Joel load up his Radio Flyer red wagon, and sent him off to sell them to the neighborhood. In no time, Joel returned home having sold each mix.After 10 years of success with Kodiak Cakes Frontier Flapjack and Waffle Mix, we at Kodiak Cakes decided to take on the challenge of creating a 100% whole grain brownie mix that actually tastes amazing. Introduced in 2006, Big Bear Brownie Mix is an incredible tasting double chocolate brownie mix that is known for its rich chocolate taste that brownie lovers crave. You won’t believe this mix is made from 100% whole wheat flour and all natural ingredients. A customer wrote: “We just tried your Big Bear Brownies and they are the richest, moistest, most decadent brownies we have ever tasted from a mix.”

Quick facts

  • All natural
  • Low in sugar
  • Kosher
  • 100% whole grain
  • Delicious

Top reviews

Overpriced and overrated

Not going to lie – I got these due to the packaging. Hey, I had money left over, so why not get a nice high quality brownie mix too?

For a little bit of background, I love to home-bake and I’m the kind of guy that enjoys waking up to a nice breakfast I prepare for myself. I have a deep respect and interest in appreciating quality over quanity. Granted I’ll get the cheapo brand for a lot of stuff, but when it comes to something I don’t regularly make (like Brownies or Pancakes) I’ll totally go up a notch and either buy the nicer brand or get good quality ingredients to scratch-cook it myself (with college and work though, I only do scratch cooking now if time and patience permits!).

However I was pretty disappointed by these. By far, at about $4.68 per box at my local store, this was the most expensive brownie mix you could get on the shelf (keep in mind you still need to have all the other ingredients including the oil, eggs, butter). I’m a huge fan of skipping fillers and keeping to the good stuff so I tried them out.

Unfortunatly, these brownies bake pretty dry. The moist fudgy/cake-like taste you expect from brownies was totally absent and their texture is closer to a thick gingerbread more than anything. They taste noticably worse than even the 99c brownies you can buy, and the wheat-nature of the brownies doesn’t seem to enough of a saving grace to warrant an insane $5 price tag per small box (I love whole wheat, I only buy whole wheat bread and enjoy wheat pancakes). Mind you they don’t taste bad, but they simply aren’t what you’d expect out of a $5 box of brownies.

As far as health goes, for a fraction of the price, you can easily scratch-cook your own brownies using coco and whole wheat flour for a fraction of the cost. As a matter of fact, that’s pretty much what the ingredients are for this – so if you are a fan of wholesome no-bull baked goods, you’re better off just making it yourself. And seeing how easy brownies are to make, its not a major inconvenience to do this either. If I am going all out on buying a dessert mix (what this brand is priced at), you might as well put the tiny amount of extra effort to combine the coco and flour yourself. If I am in the mood for no-frills, then I can get a better tasting experience just buying 99c brownies (even if it uses white enriched instead of whole wheat).

WaltraudMazama, WA

Great brownies and healtful too!

I love brownies but I hate all the fat and unhealthful ingredients. I found this box on the shelf with all the “bad” box mixes and decided to give it a try. The first time I made it I substituted half the butter for yogurt. They were moist and delicious. I still felt guilty about the added fat of the butter so the second time I used all yogurt. They were fantastic! Please give these a try, they are filling but not as heavy as you would expect, considering they are whole grain.
DelaineWest Hempstead, NY

Recipe suggestions

I make these whole grain brownies even healthier by substituting non-fat Greek yogurt for the butter and substituting prune juice for the water called for on the box. I also add an extra egg and chopped pecans to the mix. When I make them this way, my husband–who usually hates anything whole grain–loves them.
LarraineRiverton, UT

Out of this world delicious.

Best brownies I’ve ever eaten. Seriously delicious. They have a grainy texture that I love, but are still extremely moist and chewy. The mix requires you to add butter, two eggs and a couple of tablespoons of oil and water, but you do not need an electric mixer and it is simple to stir everything together with a wooden spoon. The directions say to melt the butter before adding it to the mix, and since you must also grease the pan, I follow this little trick to make life easier: I melt the butter in the microwave inside the glass pan that I am going to bake the brownies in. After it is melted, I tip the pan from side to side to coat the bottom and sides, then I pour the melted butter into the bowl that I am using to mix everything together. After mixing I pour the batter back into the buttered glass pan. This way I don’t need to use cooking spray to coat the pan, nor do I need to dirty a separate small bowl to melt the butter, plus the brownies taste better when the pan is buttered instead of coated with Pam. A win-win!

Another thing I have done is bake half the mix to make a smaller batch of brownies and save the rest for another time. This is easy to do because the amount of eggs and butter called for is easy to divide in half (two eggs means you can half it and use one egg; 1/2 cup butter goes to 1/4 cup, 2 tbsp oil goes to 1 tbsp).

Note that the brownie mix has chunks of chocolate in it–and very good chocolate at that. That must be why they call it “double chocolate.” I wasn’t sure if I would like this but it is fabulous. The quality of the chocolate alone justifies the fact that this mix cost more than other mixes. Trust me–you won’t be disappointed.

PS – their pancake/waffle mix is great, too, and for that you only add water. It is so easy and so much better than Bisquick, Krusteaz, etc.

PPS – I just read the other reviews and I see that many people are commenting on the health aspects such as whole wheat and no fillers. I did not buy these for that reason but what a terrific bonus. They are so good I would buy them as a special treat even if they were bad for me. 🙂

FrancescaManchester, MI

Delicious and fudgy from a “nut-free facility”

We love these brownies! They bake up rich and fudgy and so very delicious. Ingredients: crystallized cane juice, 100% whole grain wheat flour, all natural dark chocolate chips, natural cocoa, natural vanilla, salt, leavening, vital wheat gluten. The box says, specifically “Contains: wheat and soy, and traces of milk and eggs. Made in a nut-free facility.” We used to be able to find these on the shelf at our local grocery store. Now, we order a case (6 boxes) from Amazon and always keep some on hand. Easy, tasty, our family’s favorite!
NestorSearcy, AR

The best brownie mix!

I found these brownies when I was buying Kodiak Cakes pancake mix (also fabulous). 100% whole grain flour, all natural ingredients and they taste fantastic! Plus, it’s less expensive when you purchase on Amazon vs. the manufacturer’s website when you have Amazon Prime.
CassandraIone, CA

Best brownie mix EVER!

We started eating healthier about 9 years ago and a major part of that was eating all 100% whole grains. Now, these are brownies, so they have a lot of sugar in them, so that does not fit in with our lifestyle as much, but if you are going to be bad a least do it 100% whole grain with excellent taste and texture! They are so richly chocolate it is amazing, and the chocolate chips don’t hurt either! Honestly you’d never know they are 100% whole grain. they do take quite a lot of fat, a whole stick of butter plus 2 T oil, but you can substitute. It is said that for any brownie mix on the market, to make them more healthy you can substitute any/all of the fats/liquids asked for in the instructions except the eggs (so like oil, butter, water) for an equal amount of any of the following: yogurt, apple sauce, pureed black beans. I have not been brave enough yet to try the black beans, but I did try yogurt and apple sauce, they were fine, there was a bit of taste to each of those but not too much, and of course the texture was a little different without the fat. We belong to a CSA and get a 3/4 bushel box of fresh local organic veggies/fruit each week during the growing season and one week I had a bundle of baby beet that I did not know what to do with, so I boiled them, peeled them, pureed them, and substituted them in the Big Bear Brownies for the oil, butter, and water,and they were great! I served them twice when company was over and everyone loved them and asked for seconds, and my girls love them and ask for more and dig the slight pink tint they brownies have. Next I am going to experiment with pureed summer squash 🙂 Now I am just waiting for Kodiak Cakes to come up with a recipe for chocolate cake! No matter what you do, if you want to still be able to eat brownies but want to do it healthier without sacrificing a thing then get these brownies!
ClevelandPort Gibson, MS