Thursday, May 3, 2012

Aaron Sanchez's Mexican Brownies

[UPDATE] In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, here's a definite "kick" to the ordinary brownie!

Servings - 50 bite size brownies
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder [used Dutch-processed]
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground Mexican cinnamon (canela)
1/4 tsp pequen chili powder or cayenne pepper [used 1/4 tsp of each]
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1.  Preheat oven 350ºF. Line a 9x13 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.

2.  Melt the 2 sticks of butter in a non-stick 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.

3.  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.

Source: Food Network


  • Yes, it calls for 2 sticks of butter.  I am inclined to try substituting unsweetened applesauce for one stick to decrease the fat and calories.  Because it was the first time making this, the only substitution I did make was with the sugar.
  • Unfortunately because I decreased the amount of Splenda equivalent (1cup = 2 cups of real sugar) to only a heaping 1/2 cup of Splenda, it changed the texture.  So next time would also go with the full 1 cup.  Yes, sometimes no matter what, texture or moistness will be affected.  Every once in a while there is a flip side to making desserts diabetic-friendly.
  • When I went to the mexican market, I asked about the canela cinnamon.  It is no different than regular cinnamon.  Needless to say no need to buy.
  • After reading several reviews, two things were consistently mentioned: the baking time was not long enough and both chili powder and cayenne should be used.  Using my oven thermometer, I knew my oven was accurate.  I still set the time for 15 minutes (as most baked goods tend to cook quickly due to the AccuBake oven).  Sure enough it was done.  And using both spices really did give it that nice "bite/kick" at the end.
  • So if you're looking for an easy dessert to make for Cinco de Mayo, this one will definitely work.
Ok, made a second batch the following day and did not alter any of the existing ingredients (yes, used all 2 cups of sugar).  What a difference!  They baked beautifully, were fudgy and still had that "bite/kick" afterward.  So lesson learned - this particular recipe does not do well with sugar substitution and decreased amount.

In counting the carbs for a healthy Cinco de Mayo meal - Chicken Taco Salad, Pico de gallo, Skinny Guacamole, and homemade salsa you could still have 1 to 2 brownie bites.  Just make sure to forego the tortilla chips.

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