Bad brownies are everywhere. No, not in the Enid Blyton sense, so stop looking around nervously for impish little creatures in tall green hats. We mean the dessert — dark, fudgy and moist inside. Except, more often than not, it's pale, stale, and dry as toast.

The alternative is to bake your own. Honestly, nothing really beats good, home-made brownies. Especially when they're straight out of the oven, still warm and gooey in the centre. However, for those of you who would rather pick up a phone than a spatula, there's Brownie Cottage.

Started in Mumbai, this company aims to popularise the brownie across India by offering consistent quality and a variety of exotic toppings. Every day its central kitchen bakes a range of these goodies, and sends them to kiosks in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and now, Chennai.

Since April, the brand's franchisee, headed by Vinay G. Nagpal, director, Des Amis Food, has opened three kiosks in the city — at INOX in Citi Centre, Express Avenue, and PVR Cinemas at Ampa Skywalk.

Satisfying

We try a selection at the Ampa Skywalk kiosk that opened just last week. The brownies are decadently rich, since they're made with dark chocolate rather than cocoa, added to butter, castor sugar and flour. Though the squares seem rather diminutive for the price (Rs 50 to Rs. 85 for a brownie) considering this is a pick-and-push-off service format, they're surprisingly satisfying given the richness of the ingredients. Especially once they're heated, which magnifies all their characteristics, making them especially gooey, sweet and velvety.

Brownie Cottage is especially proud of its fusion brownies that incorporate all kinds of popular chocolates by adding them to the basic brownie batter before baking. You can choose from an ambitious variety — including Oreo Truffle, After Eight, Lindt Madagascar and Guylian Dark Chocolate. For those of you who like going overboard, try the brownie shake, a thick concoction of brownies and milk. Though, honestly, I'd pick the basic brownie over the rest since it's much less fussy. Too many frills can get overwhelming. If you're not headed to the cinema anytime soon, call for brownies on 98840-75276. As Deepavali draws near, they've come out with a range of gift packs too. Nagpal says the brownies will stay for about six days without refrigeration.

It might not beat the satisfaction of pulling out a tray from the oven. But if you're going to cheat, you might as well do it well!