I recall early afternoon trips with my grandfather to the panaderia, a Mexican bakery. The panaderia was filled with the yeasty aroma of bolillos, a French style bread roll. The pastry cases were lined with trays dusted with granulated sugar and topped with colorful pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread. The granulated sugar that would cling to the bottom of the pan dulce was just as delicious as the pastry itself. I guess that’s why my brownie recipe includes rubbing granulated sugar on the bottom of the slab of brownies. It’s a texture that I really enjoy.
Mexican pastries often combine chocolate and cinnamon flavors. I occasionally add 2 teaspoons of fresh ground cinnamon to the brownie batter for a Tex-Mex twist. Whether you add cinnamon or not, these brownies are rich and super fudgy with a crackly crust. I often bring them to crawfish boils and pot luck dinners. They also transform into beautifully wrapped edible gifts. Add this recipe to your arsenal of favorites and go ahead, have a second serving of those brownies.
Servings: 24 brownies or 48 triangle brownies
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 sticks unsalted butter
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 cups sugar, plus 3 Tablespoons for coating bottom of brownies
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Cut the butter into pieces and heat with chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water). Stir until butter and chocolate are melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.
4. Pour chocolate mixture and 3 cups sugar into a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until the batter is pale and thick, 3-5 minutes.
5. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients just until combined.
6. Scrape batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until the top is dry and set, but a cake tester inserted in the middle remains very moist and slightly crumbly. 45-55 minutes.
7. Place pan on a wire rack and cool brownies in the pan. When completely cool and firm, place a cutting board on top of pan and invert brownies onto cutting board. Rub 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar onto the bottom of the brownies. Carefully flip over the slab of brownies. Cut into brownies.
If using a glass baking dish this recipe will not have the same cooking time, and may over cook the edges.
If the slab of brownie cracks when inverting just press the cracked edges back together. These brownies are so moist that this simple trick is all it takes.
Brownies can be made 5 days ahead. Cool completely and store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Freeze an entire slab of brownies by wrapping in cellophane and storing in a re-sealable freezer bags for up to 1 month. Thaw and serve.