Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies

I don't like brownies.  Really.  I don't see the appeal in them.  Most brownies just taste like chocolate and flour, and I don't mean that in a good way.  I find 99% of brownie recipes to be one note. They are dense, and taste of cake-y chocolate with no real character and after about one bite, they get incredibly dull.  If a dessert requires a cup of coffee, a scoop of ice cream, or whipped cream in order to be good, then it is not a good dessert.  Good desserts should be able to stand on their own.

So it goes without saying that I rarely ever make brownies, yet here I am, posting about a brownie recipe.  I like this recipe so much the first time I made it, I had to make a second batch the next day to be sure that it wasn't a fluke.  This is no mistake: this recipe is gold.

The brownies that this recipe turns out are just sweet enough, but not at all cloying.  You don't need coffee or milk or ice cream to make these good.  In fact, I've eaten them for breakfast.  The espresso in the batter heightens the deep flavor of the dark chocolate, and the cinnamon adds a warm background fragrance.  Best of all are the lingering notes of black pepper and cayenne pepper.  They add just enough heat to makes your tastes buds light up, but it isn't at all overwhelming.  In fact, I find the spiciness rather comforting.  Of course, you can adjust this to your liking.  The first time I made this recipe, I omitted the cayenne pepper but used freshly ground black pepper.  It was delicious.  The second time I used both.  Also delicious.  Seriously, I have no complaints about this recipe.

If you're like me and you don't normally make brownies, I beg you to make an exception in this case.  Or if you the type of person who loves brownies, I highly suggest trying these.  The recipe is very easy to make.  I did this in a food processor for easy clean up, but you can also make this with a standard mixer.

Happy Holidays all!

This pictures speaks for itself.  Make these brownies.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Custard-Filled Corn Bread

A good recipe for both Thanksgiving and Christmas — or really anytime of the year when it's cold outside and you want comfort food — is corn bread.  I love corn bread.  It is filling, sweet, savory, and cornmeal gives the bread a lovely texture that is both crumbly and cake-y.

This cornbread is everything you're looking for. When it comes out of the oven, it has beautifully crispy edges and a soft and delicate crumb.  What sets this apart from other corn bread recipes though is the moist interior... the creamy and luscious custard layer.  When it is cold, from the fridge, the creamy custard layer is like a savory icing, inside of a corn bread cake.  I wish I could describe it better.  I only know that after Thanksgiving, when I went Black Friday shopping with my mom and my sister, I kept thinking about how I wanted to go home and eat this cornbread for lunch.  It's that good.