Just call me Detective Dough Boy!
This afternoon, my friends Randall and Jae are helping me prep for an upcoming audition. They recently moved into a new house, are having a baby, AND Randall just booked a CBS pilot so I’m bringing them a little celebration/thank you gift. Both of them like coffee and spice; I decided to make Brownies with Cayenne and Starbucks VIA. I wanted them to taste and look great, so I did research.
Guys, there is A LOT of stuff online about brownies.
Took some help from a box mix – my head was swimming from all the recipes – but I still veered from the package a little. First, I did not spray the 8×8 pan directly – I learned my lesson last time and used 2 pieces of aluminum. Some say to spray under the foil, some say spray over the foil. I did both.
Added butter, instead of oil, because I read it would make the batter richer. Pillsbury said to mix 50 strokes – a lot of sites warned about over mixing, so I listened and stopped at 53…59…
…really? After 65, there were STILL clumps of powder in there!!! Ignore.
All the articles were in agreement about this one – bake in the middle rack of the oven.
Licked the raw remnants while it cooked – the coffee and cayenne flavors aren’t too strong, but they’re there.
About halfway through baking, I sprinkled on some cinnamon sugar. Again, some recipes said to do this first, some said to do it last. I went straight down the middle.
The box was right about the cooking time – 50 minutes EXACTLY.
I cooled it on a rack in the pan…
…then did more brownie research online. CONTRADICTIONS GALORE!!! Alton Brown says to use a pizza cutter while they’re warm…
…everyone else says wait and use a plastic knife!!!
I went with the latter, and gave it 1.5 hours (1/2 hour before they’re supposedly completely cool). You’re supposed to flip the brownies upside down and peel the foil off, but I feared cinnamon sugar would scatter.
They were still pretty warm while I operated…
…which meant I needed to do a taste test. Soft, moist, delicious. More cake-ish, actually. I would definitely add more cayenne next time, since the kick is very subtle.
Randall and Jae get the prettiest ones…
…I found this blue plate at Anthropologie yesterday and thought it’d make a nice house warming gift, too.
Spicy Mocha Brownies with Cinnamon Sugar
- 1 packet Starbucks VIA
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you want it hotter)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 box (19.5 oz.) Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix
- 1/2 stick butter, melted
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 eggs
- Cinnamon Sugar Sprinkle – 3 Raw Sugar Packets + 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all the ingredients (except for the Cinnamon Sugar) and mix about 70 strokes. I’m guessing. Spread batter into an 8×8 pan sprayed/lined with foil. Bake 45-50 minutes, sprinkling the Cinnamon Sugar Mixture on top halfway. When a toothpick comes out clean, allow the brownies to cool. Cut with a plastic knife, or a pizza cutter, or whatever else you can think of!!!
My baking and detective work is DONE. Off to be an actor for a few hours!