Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Another famous recipe from Gram: Mexican Brownies!

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Remember those cookies I told you about a while back?  The ones that are amazingly delicious and addictive but a little finicky?  Or the pumpkin pie, which basically put my mom's family on the map, baking-wise?  Well, they're not the only recipes my grandmother handed down– the trump card, her ace in the hole, the ultimate indulgence, was her recipe for Mexican Brownies.

Now, I know I say 'ridiculous' a lot, but this time I mean it.  These things are ridiculous.  I mean, a whole box of powdered sugar for the frosting?  Buttermilk AND margarine in the cake?  This is serious stuff, guys.  Sugar overload, and it hurts so good.
These brownies have been a family favorite for as long as I can remember.  Sad times, happy times, bake sales– we used any excuse to whip up a batch of these suckers.  Did I mention how easy they are?  Answer: really.  I made them as often as I could when I was just a fat little preteen.  But somewhere along the line the recipe fell through the cracks.  And that, friends, is a travesty.  So of course I was beyond stoked to have an excuse– a semi-civilized dinner party– to make them a week ago!

I only put nuts on half the cake (because, admittedly, this is more like cake than brownies) because we had an allergic guest at our table, but take it from me: nuts are the sane way to go (see what I did there?  Nuts?  Sane?  Hehehehe I crack me up)

Honestly, there's not much that's bad to say about this recipe.  Except maybe that it's looooooaaaaded with fat and calories, but it's definitely worth it.  I mean, what's a splurge without a sugar hangover the next day?  Oh, and it uses margarine, which we're supposed to run from these days... but hey, it's an oldie.  And as far as I'm concerned it's a durn-goodie just the way it is.  That said, feel free to swap stuff out, just don't come cryin' to me if your cake isn't fluffy and dense at the same time (the miracle of chemical products)!

     from Bette Wampler Mead

In a large bowl, whisk and set aside:
     2 c flour               
     2 c sugar              
     1 t cinnamon                   

In a saucepan, bring to a boil (stirring frequently):
     2 sticks margarine           
     4 T cocoa
     1 c water

Pour hot liquid over flour mixture and stir to combine, then stir in:
     1/2 c buttermilk
     1 t baking soda
     2 eggs, beaten
     1 t vanilla

Pour into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  Test for doneness with toothpick.

Boil, carefully:
     1 stick margarine
     4 T cocoa
     6 T milk

Pour mixture over a box of powdered sugar (in a bowl, obvs).  Beat and add: 

     1 t vanilla, 
     dash of cinnamon and 
     1 cup chopped nuts.  

Spread on HOT cake.


  1. Hi, may i know, how many grams is a box of powdered sugar that you used for the chocolate topping?


  2. Hi Anon,

    I kind of guessed here. An average-sized box in the states is 1lb, which is equivalent to about 450g. I think of all parts of the recipe, this one has the greatest amount of wiggle room, though. I mean you can hardly go too wrong with a bunch of powdered sugar and butter!


  3. Thanks for this...
    Great recipe!
    btw, here, margarine = butter
    Didn't have buttermilk on hand, used sour cream instead.
    You're right -- more like cake.
    But we like the lighter texture!

  4. Hi Francine,
    Glad you liked it! Sour cream sounds like a delicious alternative for buttermilk.

  5. Your Grams' family recipes have us drooling! We're going to have to try this recipe A.S.A.P...and with a huge scoop of ice cream, nonetheless.

  6. Ice cream is almost never a bad idea! I think Gram would agree...

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