Ancho Brownies

ancho brownies

1 box brownie mix (Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines Family Size 9"x13" PREFERABLY with choc syrup pack. Or you could use an organic mix, but I've had trouble with them being too dry. Pamela's is my fave organic. Do not like NoPudge Brand.)
2 eggs (required by mix - I like to beat mine)
1/3 c oil (required by mix - I use olive rather than veggie)
1/4 c water or soy milk (required by mix)

About 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 or 2 tablespoons vanilla extract - depending on your mood

I tablespoon premade MILD (must be mild) chili powder (THE EASY WAY - this is what I used – cost about $4 for 4 oz at my Real Food market http://www.amazon.com/Los-Chileros-Molido-4-Ounce-Packages/dp/B001EO6H44 ) OR 2 dried Ancho chilies ground (THE HARDER WAY see below). I would not try this trick with a different chili.

Highly Recommended - 1 round of Ibarra Mexican chocolate chopped into 3/8” chunks and save the “dust.”
Optional - About 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds shelled (from Trader Joes – is the cheapest), whole or chopped a bit OR walnuts

WHOLE ANCHO PREP if you are using whole anchos rather than premade powder - I recommend tasting a little chunk of each ancho before preparing. Hopefully you can find one spicier and one milder. Prepare your anchos by rinsing off dust if necessary and dry with disposable paper towel. Anchos will color your fingers a bit. Preheat a cast-iron fry pan and med sauce pan and medium-low heat. Tear out the stem and knock out the seeds as best you can. Flatten as much as possible and lay in fry pan. Used the sauce pan as a weight on top of the anchos to flatten them down. Heat for 2 minutes. Flip over and heat for 1 minute. This should dry and toast (unevenly - which is fine) the anchos. Remove them from the pan and allow to cool for a couple minutes. Tear them into smallish bits for grinding in your coffee grinder. You will need multiple grinding sessions. Pulsing works best if your anchos are a little leathery rather than bone dry. The powder can have some bigger chunks; it does not need to be perfectly fine. To clean up the inevitable mess - first use a dry paper towel to dust off your counter top first. Then a damp cloth. The water somehow releases the anchos' color much more than a dry cloth. Clean out the coffee grinder by grinding white rice and rub out with a paper towel. When you see the large pile of chili powder, you will think "She is mad." Really, you want 2 anchos worth; you will like it assuming your anchos are generally mild - mine were.

Preheat oven per box. Oil your baking dish. Prepare brownie mix basically per box directions. When you add the eggs, oil, water to the brownie flour, also add the cinn, vanilla, and ancho powder. When the ingredients are mostly combined add the pumpkin seeds. Pour batter into baking dish. Sprinkle Ibarra chunks and "dust" on top and cook per box.

Serves: 10

Source: Kelly Roberson

Prepared by: Kelly for the October 2009 meeting and the September 2011 meeting.