Gluttonous and Good For You!

Gluttonous and Good For You!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mexican Cocoa Brownies with an Almond & Pepitas Crust (gluten-free)

When I think of brownies, I think of dense, fudge-y, chocolate "cake" with that thin layer on top. I love that thin layer on top. So in developing a recipe for a complex brownie, I made sure nothing would be on top. What is that thin layer? People call it a meringue layer: the proteins from the egg whites combining with the sugar and migrating to the top during the baking process. However, I have seen this with vegan brownie recipes I have made. Maybe in general, a film of protein and sugar forming on top. A syneresis as I would call it as a scientist. (A good example is the liquid whey that separates out on top of yogurt.)

I decided to go the Mexican spiced chocolate route, using cinnamon, chili powders, coffee, nuts, and seeds to add depth and complexity. But at first, I pondered, "How am I going to incorporate the seeds and nuts?" I know, make a crust. This will give a unique texture to the brownies without interfering with that special thin meringue layer and giving an emphasis on what I chose: marcona almonds and pepitas. The marcona almonds are skin-free and make it easier to work with. Given, the crust makes for more work and a double bake with crisping up the crust first, cooling, then adding in the brown batter. So. Worth. It. I bet you have never had a brown like this. My friends told me this is their new favorite. The ratio of these brownie were (roughly) 2 parts eggs : 4 parts sugar : 2 parts butter : 1 part cocoa powder : 0.6 parts flour.


50 grams marcona or any almonds
50 grams pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
25 grams brown sugar
25 grams butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of chipotle powder, cayenne
salt to tast

200 grams sugar
200 grams brown sugar
113 grams natural cocoa powder
30 grams GF oat flour
30 grams tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 teaspoons Nescafe instant coffee
2 teaspoons Mexican vanilla (if possible)
4 large eggs (200 grams), room temperature, mixed well
226 grams (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • In a processor, combine the almonds, pepitas, brown sugar, seasonings and pulse until coarse like gravel. Add in the melted butter and pulse again until completely incorporated.
  • Turn out into brownie pan (8"x8") into a thin, 1/4", layer and pack well.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, flours, seasonings (all the dry ingredients) and mix very thoroughly.
  • Add in the eggs, butter, and vanilla all at once and mix with a wooden or silicone spoon until uniform.
  • Pour the batter evenly and slowly onto the cooled almond and pepitas crust.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes or until only a tiny amount of chocolate is visible when a toothpick is inserted and removed from the center.
  • Cool on a rack and cut when mostly cooled. Store in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge.
Trust me, they disappear fast.

-Erin Swing

Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out The FN Dish. This week we're focusing on brownies. On twitter, we're tagging #ComfortFoodFeast. Here’s the link to our Pinterest board: Here are other amazing brownie recipes to try out from our other friends:

Dishing with Divya: Beetroot Brownies
Creative Culinary:
Chocolate Chip Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:
Brownies with Condensed Milk
Food for 7 Stages of Life:
Easy Eggless Brownies Recipe
The Mom 100:
Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies
Napa Farmhouse 1885:
Chocolate Brownie Pie (GF and Sugar Free)
Taste with the Eyes:
Chili Chocolate Brownies with Gochugaru, Ginger, Sesame Seed, Olive Oil, Fleur de Sel
Swing Eats:
Mexican Cocoa Brownies with an Almond & Pepitas Crust (gluten-free)
FN Dish:
10 Ways to Revolutionize Your Brownie Intake

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