Mexican hot chocolate brownies – chewy v. cake-y

Mexican hot chocolate brownies

Here at the test kitchens of The Ordinary, we do the hard work so you don’t have to. I made two big trays of brownies in as many days, and then I forced my poor beleaguered family to try both and decide which they liked better. It was an arduous job, I tell you! Why did we do this? In an attempt to determine why some brownies turn out chewy, and some turn out cakey. And why some have that crackly, dried mud looking top, which is so oddly appealing.

These particular brownies were inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, that completely perfect combination of chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon. More than that – they contain Mexican hot chocolate. That’s right, we didn’t just add vanilla and cinnamon, we melted one of the hot chocolate tablets with the butter, and stirred it right into the brownies. And then we added vanilla and cinnamon! And then we ate them with cream whipped with vanilla and cinnamon! These smell so ridiculously good when you’re cooking them that it will make you dizzy.

The results of our fiendish experiments were inconclusive, because everybody liked all of them. However, we have gathered a small amount of data. If you use white sugar, you will get a crackly top. If you use brown sugar, you will have a smooth and placid surface. If you add two eggs, you will have a cake-y brownie. If you use only one egg, you will have a chewy fudgy brownie. If you want a cake-y brownie, you should add a bit more baking powder – 1/2 t. as opposed to 1/4. I can’t guarantee the scientific reliability of these facts. You might have to make several trays yourself, purely for the noble cause of verifying this experiment.

Brownies are incredibly easy to make, which is a good thing when you’re making tray after tray of them, day after day. You simply melt some butter, stir some stuff in, put them in a tray and cook them for a while. The Mexican hot chocolate tablet I used was made by chocolate Ibarra. It contains cocoa nibs, sugar and cinnamon. It melted quite nicely in a few tablespoons of water, and then mixed well with the melting butter. I think you could probably use any brand, but you may have to experiment to find out! Oh, and I should add that, in my book, brownies have to have chocolate chips in them. It’s required!

Here’s Chocolate Caliente by Mike Laure

FOR CAKE-Y BROWNIES

2 T water
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tablet Mexican hot chocolate
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
2 T dark cocoa powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine the water and hot chocolate tablet in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Use a spoon to break the tablet apart as it starts to melt. When it’s mostly melted, add the butter, and cook till it’s all melted together. Add the vanilla.

Pour the melted butter into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. When it’s cooled slightly, add the eggs one at a time and mix well.

Add all of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter in a lightly greased 9 X 13 pan.

Cook in a (preheated) 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, till it’s firm to the touch and starting to pull away from the pan.

FOR CHEWY BROWNIES

2 T water
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 tablet Mexican hot chocolate
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine the water and hot chocolate tablet in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Use a spoon to break the tablet apart as it starts to melt. When it’s mostly melted, add the butter, and cook till it’s all melted together. Add the vanilla.

Pour the melted butter into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. When it’s cooled slightly, add the eggs one at a time and mix well.

Add all of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter in a lightly greased 9 X 13 pan.

Cook in a (preheated) 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, till it’s firm to the touch and starting to pull away from the pan.

4 thoughts on “Mexican hot chocolate brownies – chewy v. cake-y

  1. Your selfless devotion to duty is so noted, Claire – a printout of this page will be left for Jess & Darce to wave under Mummy’s nose at the earliest opportunity.

    I’ll try to follow your boys’ example and investigate all resulting plates … ;)

    Er, chewy, dried-mud-look, extra chillies in mine, if you don’t mind, and a cup of Herr Nilpferd’s Patented Coffee pick-me-up to go with it, please waitress!!

  2. OK, made the chewy ones. I added some ground chipotle (about 1/2 teaspoon) and toasted pecans and pumpkin seeds. Was gooey and crackly, but in my opinion too sweet – too much like fudge. Also a bit oily. Will experiment with less sugar, less butter. Very good brownie, but not a perfect one. Also, you say you add cinnamon but it isn’t in the recipe?

    • Thanks for trying the recipe! I guess I decided to go all out with the butter and sugar, so they’d be gooey-chewy, but I can see holding back a bit on both those things. Thanks for reminding me about the cinnamon, I’ll have a look.

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