There are brownies, and then there are brownies.
These are the later. Spicy, adult brownies perfect for Cinco de Mayo or a random Tuesday night.
Have you ever had Mexican hot chocolate before? A few winters ago I bought a canister of hot chocolate that ended up being Mexican hot chocolate. A happy accident that I only realized after the first few sips. It took a little getting used to but now it is one of my favorite cold-weather treats. Since we are months from 50 below, brownies were the next logical step.
Cinnamon & a hint of cayenne pepper take these brownies from boring-lunch-box-favorite to I-might-eat-the-entire-pan-fantastic.
Thank goodness I served them to friends so I wouldn’t be tempted. Because really, aren’t baked goods infinitely better when shared with others? The base of these brownies comes from Chef Chloe’s newest book, Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. Since pretty much everything Chloe touches turns to delicious heaven, I highly recommend this purchase if you haven’t already bought it. It’s not for the faint of heart, lot’s of EB butter and sugar to go around, but sometimes you just need a brownie.
Cook these for the recommended 45-50 minutes. They will still be slightly gooey, that’s OK. They will set up after resting. Resist the urge to slice until they are completely cooled. Better yet- make them in the morning to come home to after work! Red wine and Mexican hot chocolate brownies make a surprisingly incredible combination.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (try Ghiradelli brand, they are the best)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 heaping tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Melt together the butter and chocolate chips, using a double boiler or in the microwave. Whisk until completely melted and smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa, cayenne powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Whisk until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add the soy milk and vanilla extract and stir until a batter forms.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until done. Let cool completely and then slice into squares.
Recipe adapted from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts
Ready for Cinco de Mayo?
Whether your idea of celebrating includes Margarita’s on the porch, chips and salsa before tacos, or a full on fiesta, here are some ideas to get you started.
Cucumber Mint Agua Fresca. While fresh margarita’s are an easy option, why not try switching things up with a refreshing take on Agua fresca? Try it with gin or silver tequila.
Black Bean Sliders with Pineapple Salsa From Chloe’s Vegan Kitchen
Roasted Corn Salsa A nice switch up from tomato salsa. Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies These are not your ordinary brownies. Rich, fudgy, with a kick of cinnamon and cayenne. Recipe posted tomorrow!
What’s on your menu for this weekend?
I’ve still got a few days to talk about Earth Day, right?
Sometimes I get it right for future post planning. Other times, not so much. Getting a round-up of appetizer favorites 2 weeks before the Superbowl? Excellent! The time I finally posted all my holiday favorites a day before Christmas… epic timing fail.
Well, here is another one to add to the list. My thoughts on Earth day and your diet, a good 5 days AFTER the holiday.
A dollar short and a day late. Or something like that.
Oh well, hopefully it’s not too late to chat about the subject because no matter what day it is, this is a pretty important topic.
I get asked about my dietary choices about 84329x per day so this is as good as a time as ever to chat about one of the biggest reasons I don’t do meat: planet earth.
Does it surprise you that our current food system is responsible for 1/3 of global greenhouse gas emissions?
I feel like this is one of those facts that we all “know”, we just don’t “know enough to change”. Or reduce. I’m not naive. While a good % of my clients are vegetarian, vegan or leaning that way- the rest are not. Not even close.
No worries, I don’t need to convert everyone to vegetarian or veganism. I don’t think that’s realistic and will lose the majority of folks on the way down. I am however a huge proponent of Meatless Monday, Tofukey Tuesday, or Vegan Before 6 campaigns. Simple ways that all of us can change our diets to help the earth, our health, and animals.
That’s really the main purpose of this blog/recipe corner. Making plant-based foods attractive, healthy and accessible. While reducing meat/cheese is one of the biggest impacts you can make to reduce your carbon footprint, it certainly isn’t the only one. In fact, our diets have just as much impact on the environment as the type of car we drive. Interested in decreasing your carbon footprint? Try one or all of the tips below:
- You bought it, you eat it.
About 25% of edible food is thrown away ever year! It’s enough to fill the Rose Bowl every single day. Planning ahead will help you reduce the amount of food you buy, so throw away less. If you find yourself with excess food, get creative! Most produce and made ahead meals can be frozen. You can throw extra produce into scrambles, stir-fry, pasta, or smoothies.
- Try to eat seasonally and regionally as often as you can.
Farmer’s Markets are a great source! If your food needs an airplane to get to you, it has a higher carbon footprint than local items. One of the biggest culprits: seafood and out of season produce. Not sure where your farmers market is located? Check out localharvest.org for a complete list of markets, CSA’s, and farm stands.
- Reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption of beef and cheese.
Cows have a unique digestive system that generates methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 25% more powerful than carbon dioxide. Raising cattle also requires a significant amount of feed, water, and land. You don’t have to give up meat entirely to have an impact. If all Americans skipped meat and cheese once per week, it would be equivalent to taking 7.6 million cars off the road.
Not only are unprocessed foods better for you, they also contain less preservatives and wasteful packaging. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds over processed snack mixes. Choose larger packaged options over small, individual sized servings. More bags, tags, and seals mean more waste in the landfills. A local co-op or bulk store is great for this! Bring mason jars or resuable bags and go to town on rice, quinoa, pasta, beans, and more. Not only do you save money in bulk, you also have the option to purchase only the amount you need. Perfect for trying out new recipes or tip #1!
What are your go-green tips? Let’s hear them!
Let’s have a drink, shall we?
I’m in full on vacation mode. We don’t leave for Europe for another 2 1/2 weeks (but who’s counting?) but I’ve already been practicing my phrases, eating dinner at 9, and enjoying lots of wine and gelato in between.
I mean, I need to prepare for the culture- right?
BL and I have split up the planning duties: he’s got transportation and activities, I have food and nightlife.
Clearly my sweetie understands me.
I have been pouring over trip advisor, Rick Steve podcasts, and countless books trying to figure out favorite local restaurants, picnic spots and cuisine of each region.
It’s been a tough few weeks.
(If you have any recommendations- let’s hear them!)
Since I will turn just about any event into a celebration, I’ve themed our weekend dinners- coinciding for each country we researched that day. Ah, life has been pretty fun lately.
Last weekend? Barcelona! Along with my Paella recipe (next week), I made this Sangria to sip on the porch Saturday night and then by the pool on Sunday.
If you’ve ever had Sangria, you understand the refreshing, addictive drink that it is. Red wine, fresh squeezed juice, lightly-sweetened, it’s easy to down a pitcher faster than you’d like.
This is my classic recipe, a simple version that I sometimes deviate from depending on the menu. It’s just as delicious with in-season berries, sliced plums, and peaches. I recommend allowing it to sit for at least 8 hours. If you don’t have that kind of time, be sure to serve it very-well chilled and muddle your fruit as you add it.
1 Bottle of red wine
2 medium oranges, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2.5 tbsp. raw sugar
1 oz. brandy (or more if you like your Sangria a bit boozier)
2 Cups club soda, preferred but can use ginger ale or lemon-lime soda
Add 1 orange, 1/2 the lemon, sugar, and brandy to a pitcher. Lightly muddle until sugar is mostly dissolved and fruit is slightly broken down.
Add the red wine and remaining fruit. Chill for 6-8+ hours. To serve, add club soda and pour over ice. Garnish with fruit!