Sure I love the classics. I gather a lot of people must like the classics too — that is why they become… well… “the classics”, right? Films, books, plays….recipes. Each have their own set of examples referred to as classics.
Each year during the Academy Awards run up I rent a classic film or three and appreciate them anew. This afternoon’s object of my renewed awe was the great American film: Citizen Kane. I must have seen it at least a dozen times and yet with each viewing I find new ways to appreciate it. Simply put, Welles’ film has stood the test of time proving itself an enduring example of dramatic American film storytelling — a classic. And its one that I think does not need tinkering with…maybe.
By every definition of the word the American brownie is also considered a classic. Who doesn’t love The Brownie? Would you even want to know such a person? A properly executed brownie (and by this I mean the kind that doesn’t have frosting) sets the standard by which all other deserts and sweets are measured. Its simple and harmonious mix of cocoa and chocolate, butter, sweet, chewy goodness and convenience (what else would you take on a picnic?) sets a standard for excellence. When eating one its hard to imagine that any new treat or brownie variant will come along and dethrone this classic.
Should we even be allowed to tinker with classics? Perhaps. But not always. Just depends. In 2008 they remade the classic film (based on a classic play) The Women with an updated script and cast. I remember thinking “why did they do that?” I don’t think anyone ever found out the reason and perhaps more than a few members of the talent involved ended up regretting it. (I mean you Meg Ryan and Annette Bening!)
One of my favorite movies of all time, “Dangerous Liaisons” (also based on a classic play) was remade with a supposedly teenaged cast set in modern day Manhattan. (OK, so maybe Dangerous Liaisons is not yet considered a classic but it will be one day. I’m certain of it. And yes, I think this even knowing that Keanu Reeves was in it. )
Do you think they would ever update Citizen Kane with say an all-Latino cast? If they did they should hope it turns out as good as this Latin-themed brownie update. This Salted Mayan Cocoa Brownie doesn’t even try to take the place of the classic on which it is based but it was still quite good and worth the effort. Like Cruel Intentions it might become your sometimes guilty pleasure even though it can’t ever really satisfy you the way Dangerous Liaisons does.
You will always go back to the classics even though the detours make life fun.
This version is dubbed “Mayan” because I purchased something called “Mayan Cocoa” at Savory and Spice and wanted to figure out some way to use it. This version is also dubbed “salted” because I forgot to add the salt to the batter and had to think quickly. Salting the top of the brownies actually ended up working quite well here given the toasted almonds. Many of my “lunch room victims” actually commented on how great the salt was so I pretended I had intended it all along. The Mayan Cocoa itself is a blend of Dutch cocoa, chili peppers, cinnamon and vanilla powder and it makes for a very exciting South-of-the-Border brownie experience when its not being used for the spicy Mexican hot cocoa drink it was intended for. I put a sign out next to them so that my victims would not freak out when the spicy hot flavor kicked in after the initial dark chocolate rush faded.
If you don’t want to order it online or your market doesn’t carry Ibarra like mine does you can make your own mixture quite easily:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
Salted Mayan Almond Brownies