Baker's Select Galactic Brownies (Dollar Tree)

A box of Baker's Select Galactic Brownies, from Dollar Tree
If you like your brownies to have a faint hit of moldy aftertaste, these are for you.

One thing that I can’t stand is when off-brands go out of their way to pair themselves up with a national brand product when they could function even better without the comparisons. Ironically, that’s not the case with today’s item, which would be equally disappointing under just about any name, but it’s still a valid observation that I’ve had with better private label products in the past.

It does, however, lead me to another point: why beg for comparisons with your product by naming it something similar to a main brand, when it looks so totally different that people will be disappointed before ever even taking a bite? That is the case with Baker’s Select Intergalactic Brownies, which outside of some very basic similarities in appearance, don’t share many characteristics with the original.

I know most of the reason brands do this is “brand recognition”...private labels can sucker people familiar with the name brands into trying it without having to really spend much on marketing. Kind of the way movie studios like The Asylum make cheap knockoffs of big budget movies, and give them a similar title, in the hopes that unknowledgeable folk will accidentally stumble on it and buy it, thinking it’s the actual blockbuster movie instead. Still, it seems to be a much worse business model than, say, making a good product that’s all your own.

Right off the bat you’ll notice a rather major difference to the “cosmic” brownies: packaging. Each brownie is individually wrapped in white packaging with the “Baker’s Select” logo adorning it. This is just standard plastic packaging, and nowhere near the brilliant packaging found on their own brand of Twinkies, which still ranks up there as my favorite food-related product packaging of all time. Beyond that, each brownie also has a “Reese’s” style black wrapper around it, which is a curious addition to something that’s supposed to be smooth along the sides.

Individually wrapped Galactic Brownie, by Baker's Select
This is what they look like...? Well, we're off to a bad start...

Each “brownie” is also short and a George Costanza to the Seinfeld of the name brand brownies, which are long and thinner. Instead of the colored chocolate chips that you get with the name brands, here you get three rather large chocolate discs, strongly reminiscent of M&M’s, that sit upon the top. But perhaps the worst error of all: there is no chocolate frosting on top of the brownie, which virtually deducts a point right off the bat. To recap: instead of a long rectangle split into two squares, you get one small square. Okay...

The “brownie” itself is, admittedly, rather moist. It starts off with a similar flavor to the national brand before veering off into a slightly more bitter, slightly more “off” territory from which there is no recovering...there’s almost hints of moldiness in the “off” part of the flavor, like you’re eating something that’s expired. Only it’s not. Now, again, even the original isn’t without its fair share of questionable flavors...those taste like a blind man’s attempt to recreate chocolate based only on description. They’re technically awful, but still taste good thanks to the nostalgia factor for me.

These don’t have that nostalgic factor at all, because this is the first time I’ve ever had them. And they’re pretty terrible. Maybe if they would have switched up the recipe a little bit, to make it more unique, and named it something outside of the space theme, we’d be looking at something worthwhile. But as it stands, Baker’s Select has just delivered yet another ho-hum product that really begs the question: Why do I continue to get foodstuffs from Dollar Tree?

Overall: 3/10. Without comparisons to another space-themed brownie product, this might have stood a slightly higher chance of succeeding on its own (though even that is highly doubtful). However, the similar titles and appearance to another “celestial” brownie leave little doubt as to what these are ripping off...and it doesn’t help that they don’t really look anything close. They might taste a little similar at first, but once the faint hit of mold or mildew in the taste creeps in, it ruins anything even mildly good it might have had going for it. (And no, our batch was well within the expiration date...that’s somehow part of the taste.)