Home Cooking 4

Mexican Brownie à la mode

Agent Orange | Mar 31, 200805:20 PM

So, I'm putting together a menu for a future dinner event. It may fall on Cinco de Mayo, or it may happen just whenever. (I really like to plan ahead.) The idea is to create American classics with a Mexican twist. I'll probably choose a shrimp recipe from one of Bayless' books, with a sauce to riff on the traditional shrimp cocktail as an app. Then I'll grill up some skirt that has been marinated in a salsa méxicana. One of the sides will be mashed sweet potatoes with chipotles. If the corn is looking good at the store, I may grill some up and slather it with chile powder, lime, pepper, butter and cotija. I'll figure out another side or two, but what I'm more concerned about is dessert.

To me, one of the most comforting and American of desserts is the brownie à la mode: a rich, warm chocolate brownie (neither too cakey nor too fudgey), a generous scoop of good vanilla ice cream, and a hot chocolate sauce poured on top, served immediately. My idea is to make it Mexican by adding cinnamon and extra vanilla to the brownie batter, use dulce de leche ice cream, and spice the "hot fudge" with Kahlua. But I need to sneak some chiles in there somewhere; Pasillas most likely.

My questions are: how much ground chile to use? Should I add it to the brownies, the sauce, or both? And would I by adding espresso powder to the brownies be using too many competing flavors? When I have made brownies, I've used Ina Garten's recipe for Outrageous Brownies and half it for a 9x13 pan.

Suggestions on which chile(s) to use to complement the flavors of the dessert would be appreciated as well. I really want to make a stand-out dessert, because I don't usually "do" sweets. Hopefully by planning so far in advance, I'll be able to test out and perfect the recipe. And gain ten pounds in the process.

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