I love chocolate. You may have already guessed this, since I’ve already posted a chocolatey recipe before. (Granted, I’ve been a bit slack with updating this blog… my apologies.) Regardless, I am compelled to share the single best chocolate-related recipe I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. A little over a year ago, my friend Ashley made my idea of heaven in a dessert for her culinary final — a towering brownie-peanut butter-pretzel-caramel concoction that should be outlawed. I was already sold with her description. I mean, how can you mess up something that consists of chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, and caramel? Even more so, how much better can it get? Using this brownie recipe, that’s how.
You know how you have some brownies that are kind of like a sad, frosting-less chocolate cake in the shape of a brownie? Or worse, some dry, crumbly thing that tastes vaguely like chocolate? They should not be called brownies. That completely disgraces the glory that is the brownie. But that all ends with this recipe. Ok, just how good are these damn brownies, you ask? Well. Every.single.piece. of this brownie is simultaneously crisp on the outside, and gooey on the inside. With 11 ounces of chocolate, there is nothing vague about the chocolatey-ness. After I made them myself, I decided right then and there that I will never ever ever use any other recipe ever again. And once you make them, you won’t either.
Since the holiday season is upon us, I started getting a bit homesick for my in-law/adopted family in San Diego and the Mexican hot chocolate with pan con mantequilla (bread grilled with butter) and pan dulce (sweet bread). So, I decided to put some Abuelita chocolate in the recipe, and they turned out better than I thought. The texture remained the same, and the Abuelita chocolate was subtle yet was noticeable enough to the discerning tongue. Mexican hot chocolate brownies. Yes.
So, on with the recipe.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies (parenthetical ingredients are in the original recipe)
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking aka The Last Brownie Recipe You Will Ever Use
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
8 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 tablet Abuelita (or Ibarra) Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, minus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or lightly grease the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cocoa powder.
Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey (you DO NOT WANT CAKEY BROWNIES, so if you feel you may be overbeating, stop it. Stop it right now.).
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.
Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days (but I’m not sure if they’ll survive for 3 days without being demolished).
Note: Though it will be EXTREMELY difficult, I suggest leaving the brownies to cool overnight, as they are best at room temperature. However, it is completely acceptable to taste a corner while they’re warm for quality control. And if you have some delicious ice cream or gelato handy, a piece or two can be nuked for about 15 – 25 seconds without compromising texture or moisture.