May 4, 2009

Setting the Pillsbury Doughboy on Fire

I’m having some friends over for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow. Since it’s a Tuesday night I’m keeping it casual & simple with make-your-own carnitas tacos, nacho tots and Mexican beers (more on all that later). But I wanted to start by telling you about dessert – I know that’s not the natural order of things but it really should be, right?

I started making Spicy Mexican Brownies a few years ago and I wasn’t sure if people would like them or think they’re weird. Turns out my friends can’t get enough – it’s without a doubt the recipe I get asked for the most. So here it is…

Spicy Mexican Brownies
(I always make a double batch, they’re that popular.)

Open a box (or two) of regular brownie mix and empty it into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and vegetable oil as instructed. Measure out the amount of water listed on the box and add two heaping teaspoons of instant espresso powder. Stir to dissolve and add it to the bowl along with three tablespoons of ground cinnamon and a teaspoon (or more) of ground chipotle powder. Stir to combine and work out the lumps. I usually add about two teaspoons of the chile powder but start with one and taste the batter before you add more – chipotle powder can be pretty hot. You should be able to taste the cinnamon with just a touch of heat at the end.

Bake the brownies according to the box instructions, let cool completely and shake a little powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon on the top.

These are incredibly good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I didn’t take a picture because, quite frankly, they don’t look particularly special. But beware – these innocuous-looking treats can pack a punch!

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