Can we talk about how wonderful it is that summer is starting? Eating outside is one of the simple joys of my life. Being outdoors with a breeze + food + good friends is a combination that wins every time.
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending an amazing summer kickoff and garden party hosted by my friend Lena Gladstone of Lena’s Kitchen Blog and sponsored by Fred Meyer and the Kroger family of stores. Lena has an incredible skill of throwing together simple quality ingredients to make elegant dishes that are perfect for entertaining. You can find everything you need for this summer spread with the Red, White, and BBQ sale going on now.
Not only was the food impeccable, but several talented bloggers were on site to make the day a total crafty event! We learned how to create beautiful flower crowns from Sophisticated Floral and practiced our cake styling techniques with Karlee from Olive and Artisan. It was such a beautiful day!
All of the summer-focused festivities got my brain thinking about typical summer comfort foods. S’mores are always a personal fave and especially for camping it’s an absolute MUST so I started thinking about chocolate (as one does) and especially Mexican hot chocolate which has been one of my favorites for many years.
Little known fact, when I first graduated from college I spent a year and a half living in Mexico City, Mexico. While there, I would often visit two older sisters that everyone would just call “the aunts”. They were incredibly sweet giving women, and they would always buy some kind of treat for me when I came over. My favorite was when they would make hot chocolate. They would heat milk on the stove and throw in a chocolate bar and simmer it with spices to create a rich, frothy, thick, sugary heaven. As soon as I remembered the smell wafting through their kitchen, I knew I had to find a way to incorporate those flavors into my summer. And then it came to me. hot chocolate + Hersheys + brownies. Oh heck yes.
And so Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies were born.
These are definitely a fudgey almost-raw tasting brownie vs. a cakey brownie. I know several folks have strong positive feelings about cakey brownies. If that’s you, please feel free to add an extra egg and/or a bit more flour to create a slightly fluffier cakey goodness of your dreams.
The butter in the recipe can just be melted, but I’m really going to strongly advocate that you take the additional couple of minutes to brown it. Browning the butter first gives an additional nuttiness and depth of flavor that can’t be replicated in other ways. I almost always brown my butter in baking if there’s an option!
After all of that butter browning and ingredient mixing, how will they turn out?
Are you hungry yet? Are you ready yet? Let’s get to it!
Mexican hot chocolate brownies
(Makes roughly 16 brownies if you’re cutting the “regular recommended brownie size” and you like to eat two or 9 if you’re actually a real person who likes brownies)
- 1/2 cup butter, melted (and preferably browned, see below)
- 3 regular sized Hershey bars (4.65 oz milk chocolate)
- 1 1/2 tsp strong cinnamon (I like Vietnamese cinnamon)
- 3/4 tsp ancho chili powder (or more to your taste, it’s not really spicy it’s more of a depth)
- 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla (Simple Truth makes an organic one that’s nice)
- 2 large eggs (or 3 for the fluffier one!)
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Place the butter into a saucepan over medium heat to start to brown.
- While the butter is melting, sift the cocoa powder, flour, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Watch the butter carefully as it melts and start to sizzle. You’re watching for the butter to start to toast and develop a caramel color. Once it looks and smells good and toasted, turn the burner off and scoot the pot to a cool burner to remove the heat.
- Add the Hersheys chocolate, cinnamon, and ancho powder into the melted butter and mix well.
- Let the chocolate butter slurry (don’t you just love that word!) cool to warm or room temp and then whisk in the vanilla and eggs until smooth.
- Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
- Pour into the prepared 8×8 baking tin and bake for 20-30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. (I personally do not own a cake tester, but a toothpick, skewer, chopstick, etc all work fine.)
Suggestions for use:
- A really amazing base for a toasted marshmallow
- The best not-sad-desk-lunch dessert at your office this week
- To take to a neighbor who could really use a friendly Mexican aunt inspired visit and treat
- Blended into ice cream for a really good Mexican Hot Chocolate Milk Shake
- A pre-gym workout snack (I mean… you could if you wanted to. Carbs are carbs)
Are you making these? Tag me on Instagram and share your photos or comment below! I’d LOVE to get your input and see how you like them.