Saturday, December 24, 2016

Aaron Sanchez: Mexican Brownies

What do you have for dessert after a Tex-Mex feast?  Well, you could do flan.  Or tres leches cake.  Or sopapillas.  Or you could just make something fantastically chocolatey that makes everyone groan with delight and forget to eat their dinner.  We obviously voted for the latter.  This brownie recipe is incredibly chocolatey (if you use the Valrhona cocoa I recommend), and the cinnamon adds just the right spice.  We actually thought there wasn't enough cayenne pepper, so feel free to be a little heavy handed with that one.

Note:  The frosting recipe comes from an old Hershey's booklet, and my family honestly feels like it's a perfect chocolate icing for most occasions.  And we also felt like the only way you could make these brownies even more fantastic than they already were was to slather them in this frosting.  Your personal level of hedonism is up to your discretion.

Mexican Brownies
Adapted from Aaron Sanchez

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅔ cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon (canela)
¼ teaspoon pequin chili powder or cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Press the paper into the corners of the pan and lightly grease the paper with butter.

Melt the butter in a nonstick saucepan over medium-low heat; do not boil. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla to the saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Add the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, chili powder, salt, and baking powder and mix until smooth. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fudgy, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack, then use the parchment paper to lift out the brownies before slicing.

Makes 18 brownies

Chocolate Frosting
From Hershey's

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⅓ cups powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix together the butter, vanilla, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Add cocoa powder and enough milk to make the frosting spreadable.

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