Sweet and Spicy
Mexican food is on my short list of preferred cuisines, if not my absolute favorite. While I enjoy lots of different kinds of foods, I long for tacos, salsas, beans and rice, etc. more than anything else. The staff at Los Arroyos, my favorite place to satisfy my cravings, now recognizes me, I go there so often. While I think that I make a pretty mean salsa, I don't know that much about Mexican desserts besides dulce de leche (which I now have a jar of from a different continent!) and paletas but I am more than willing to learn. Any help is greatly appreciated. The following is my twist on a Mexican inspired dessert.
This was rattling around in my brain for a while and after making them, I'm glad that I finally did. Version 1.0 used dried cherries soaked in triple sec, pumpkin seeds and smoked paprika. Version 2.0 was raisins in tequila, pecans and the red gold again. I wanted to try it with powdered chipotle but I didn't plan ahead and didn't have any on hand. I tried to sneak in some cumin too but was thwarted by the partner. Both versions are equally fabulous. The recipe is a riff off of David's brownies with cherries and hazelnuts from his book Ripe for Dessert. The salt is important here, it really makes the flavors pop. If you only have conventional salt use 1/2 tsp instead.
1/2 cup dried cherries or raisins
1/4 cup triple sec or tequila
6 TB butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp-1 tsp smoked paprika or ground chipotle
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or pecans
At least 1 hour, or the night before, ahead, soak the dried fruit in the alcohol of your choosing.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch square pan (the right size is important) and line with parchment paper or foil. Leave an overhang on the sides, so it is easy to lift the brownies out of the pan.
Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in suger and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time.
Add flour, salt, cinnamon and dried chile and stir quickly until batter is smooth again and glossy, about 1 minute.
If necessary, drain the fruit and stir into the batter with the nuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes. This makes a really fudgy brownie, if you prefer yours more well done, bake for an additional 5 minutes.