Archive for: mexican chocolate
Ibarra is a brand of Mexican table chocolate that is one of the most well know, and most widely available brands of Mexican chocolate. Ibarra chocolate is sold in thick, octaganal tablets and is made with sugar, cacao nibs, lecithin and cinnamon flavoring, which gives it a little spice. The most unusual thing bout this chocolate is that it has a gritty texture, thanks to a very generous amount of coarse, undissolved sugar in the chocolate. The chocolate, unlike regular chocolate bars, is not meant to be eaten in small pieces. Instead, it is meant to be used to make spicy Mexican hot chocolate by dissolving it into hot milk or water.
Ibarra has dramatically increased in popularity and availability over the past few years and is now available in most large grocery stores, where it can be found with other hot chocolates. It is also available at Mexican and specialty stores. In addition to making a tasty hot chocolate, the chocolate can also be chopped and incorporated into all kinds of baked goods – from cookies to cakes – to give them a spicy Mexican chocolate flavor.
Cake and brownie mixes can offer a lot of convenience when you need a foolproof treat quickly, and it’s not a bad idea to keep one in the back of your pantry. I’m usually a little more interested in seeing how upscale brownie mixes compare both to homemade and other box mixes, since I’ve been seeing more and more chocolate makers branch out into brownie and cake mixes. This Spicy Maya Brownie Mix is from Chuao Chocolatier, a San Diego-based artisan chocolate company. I happened to get this box as a gift from a friend who picked it up at a specialty retailer (though it’s sold online) because she knew that I had a soft spot for spicy chocolate treats.
These dark chocolate brownies are spiced with pasilla chilies, cayenne pepper and cinnamon, and you simply add melted butter and eggs to the mix before putting it into the oven. The brownies bake up to be thick and chewy, with a dense and fudgy center. The main ingredient is dark chocolate and you can really feel that in the density and richness of the brownies, which did remind me more of a bar of chocolate than a piece of chocolate cake. The chilies and spices are not too aggressive, but leave a lasting heat in your mouth that grows once you have taken a few bites.
I have to admit that I prefer my own Mexican Chocolate Brownies to these, but this mix is a good one that packs a lot of chocolate punch, a great consistency and a very unusual flavor (for a mix) into one package. They’re worth a try for a chocoholic and would make a great addition to a gift pack for chocolate lovers!
Mexican chocolate can refer to several types of chocolate, including a hot chocolate drink, but all of these chocolates have one thing in common: they’re spicy. Mexican chocolate, in just about every form, is flavored with a variety of spices. Cinnamon is always present and some variations use ground chilis to add some heat to the mix. I like these spicy chocolates (especially when served as a thick hot chocolate) and like to spice up my chocolate recipes from time to time using Mexican chocolate as inspiration.
These Mexican Chocolate Brownies are definitely on the spicy side. The fudgy, slightly chewy brownies are made with dark chocolate and get an extra deep flavor from the addition of some cocoa powder. They’re flavored with cinnamon, cayenne pepper and chili powder, as well as vanilla extract. The cinnamon, cayenne and chili all come together to give the brownies a nice balance of spice and heat that really compliments the chocolate.
I also like to mix in some chocolate chips or chunks of chopped chocolate with this recipe, as the plainer chocolate helps to balance out the spices. The brownies are really complex, but not overwhelmingly hot or spicy. They taste better the day after they’re made, as the spices have time to meld together in that time. If stored for a few days (in an airtight container), the cayenne will actually become stronger and your brownies will be a bit spicier.
These are delicious as-is and I would only recommend cutting back on the cayenne if you are very sensitive to spicy foods, as a smaller amount will not be that noticeable against all that chocolate. If they get a little too spicy, warm them up and serve them with a side of cooling vanilla ice cream.
Sometimes you just need something really chocolaty. Or if you don’t really need it, you might simply want it. This chocolate torte is a good choice for satisfying those chocolate cravings because it is easy to make, versatile and quite decadent. And, of course, it is very chocolaty.
One of the signatures of mexican chocolate is that it frequently utilizes spices with a darker/more bitter chocolate, just as this torte does, so what makes this a Mexican chocolate torte, as opposed to a simple chocolate torte, is the presence of cinnamon and cayenne in addition to the bittersweet chocolate. The spicing is not overwhelming, but does lend a hint of the exotic to the overall flavor, making it just a little more interesting to eat than a standard chocolate dessert or a few pieces of plain chocolate.
The batter mixes up in a matter of moments and, if you have microwave-safe mixing bowls – glass or plastic, as opposed to metal – this dessert can actually be made in just one bowl. Once baked, the texture of the torte is dense and fudgy, almost like a really perfect brownie, only with a bit more structure and a more substantial crust. The extra chocolate chips and the nuts give the otherwise smooth torte a bit of texture. Both elements can be finely ground if you want to maintain the smoothness of the plain torte.
Along those lines, you can also alter the spicing if you wish. Omit the cinnamon and cayenne for a plain chocolate torte. From the plain torte, you can add powdered/instant coffee for a mocha flavor or a splash of kahlua. Mint extract would give the dessert an appealing twist, as well.
The torte is good plain, but could be dressed up with a side of berries or a dollop of whipped cream, if you choose to dress it up a bit more.
Loaf cakes are not generally considered to be the most elegant cakes, but I love them. I think that having tall, rich-looking slices fall away from the loaf as you cut into it is beautiful. Come to think of it, I actually like all loafy baked goods, from savory yeast breads to sweet quick breads for breakfast. I think that loaf cakes are elegant and versatile.
Appearances aside, they do have other strong points. First, is portion size. It is extremely easy to slice a loaf into the perfect size for any appetitie. You can get 8 slices out of the loaf, or 16 for a group of light eaters. It’s less intimidating than a whole round cake. It is also much easier to transport. If you wrap up a loaf cake with plastic wrap, you can carry it around like a football without worring about the cake cracking and breaking. This is a huge bonus if you want to take the cake to a friend’s for dinner or to a party at the office.
I first saw this recipe on Who Want’s Seconds?, a beautifully photographed blog, and I’ve been meaning to make it for quite some time. I felt that the Mexican Chocolate Cake would do well as a loaf, developing a slightly crisp exterior and slicing into even, rich slices – and I was right. The only problem I had was with the amount of batter. Though a 9 x 5 x 3.5-inch loaf pan has the same capacity as the 9-inch round cake pan, I failed to realise that the “9-inch cake pan” mentioned in the original recipe was a square one and larger than the capacity of my loaf pan. I simply measured out four cupcakes worth of batter into a lined muffin tin and baked those off separately. The loaf, minus the cupcakes, had the perfect amount of batter.
The spicing in this cake was spot-on. The cinnamon flavor was present but not overwhelming in the least and there were subtle hints of coffee and orange that made it seem very exotic. The flavors blended well enough that when you took a bit of the cake you only thought of how tasty it was, not the individual spices. It was very chocolaty and I loved the fact that it is made with cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate. Not only does this help keep the cake from getting dense, but it has a lovely, bittersweet quality from the cocoa. I like it plain, like a pound cake, but feel free to serve it with whipped cream, if desired.