Mexican Treats Spicing Up Your Favorite Desserts

Whether you are looking for the perfect way to end taco Tuesday or simply want to spice up your regular treat rotation, Mexican treats are a great way to do so. Fry your family a batch of sugary sweet churros, bake brownies that are infused with Mexican chocolate and ground red pepper, or appease your tastebuds with an indulgent tres leches cake with strawberries. Standard chocolate cake, brownies, and cookies don’t stand a chance against these 7 Mexican desserts, which are filled with rich flavors, tantalizing ingredients, and sensational spices.

1. Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies with Dulce De Leche Filling

Dulce de leche

Dulce de leche | iStock.com

Dulce de Leche, a thick, creamy caramel sauce, is sandwiched between two chocolate cookies in Better Homes and Gardens’ recipe. These icebox cookies are easy to make, but do note that they take a bit of time to prepare; the dough needs time to chill in the fridge before it is cut and shaped into cookies and baked. Store-bought dulce de leche can be used in this dessert, but if you’re feeling ambitious, feel free to make your own using Gourmet’s recipe via Epicurious.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup dulce de leche

Directions: In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Divide dough in half; cover and chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle. Shape each portion of dough into a 6-inch-long roll about 1¾ inches in diameter. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and chill about 4 hours or until dough is firm enough to slice. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cut rolls into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. Spread dulce de leche on the bottom sides of half the cookies, using a rounded tablespoon of dulce de leche on each cookie. Top with remaining cookies, bottom sides down, pressing together lightly to make sandwiches.

2. Mexican-Spiced Fudge Brownies

spiced brownies are one of several Mexican treats

Brownies | iStock.com

Breathe new life into brownies with Betty Crocker’s recipe. Mexican chocolate gives this dessert a distinct flavor, while red pepper and cinnamon add warm and spicy notes. Melt your chocolate and butter, combine with the remaining ingredients, pour into a pan, bake, and enjoy! The recipe, which yields 16 servings, garners simple yet delicious results.

Ingredients:

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process baking cocoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup butter
  • 6 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and red pepper; set aside. In large microwavable bowl, microwave butter and chocolate uncovered on high 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute, or until melted and mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in flour mixture, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into pan. Bake 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 1 hour. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

3. Chocolate-Chile Cake

Chocolate-chile cake

Chocolate-chile cake | iStock.com

Espresso, dark brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and chocolate ensure Cooking Channel’s recipe creates a cake that goes above and beyond the sweets in your normal dessert line-up. It’s important to note that while this cake is easy to prepare, it does need to sit and chill for at least 8 hours prior to serving, so don’t attempt to make it last minute. The recipe yields between 12 and 16 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup espresso
  • 1 packed cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 8 large eggs, beaten
  • Cinnamon ice cream and raspberries, for serving

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9-inch spring form pan: Cut a circle of parchment the size of the removable bottom of the pan. Fit the parchment circle into the bottom of the pan. Tear off an 18-inch length of aluminum foil. Center the pan over the sheet of foil and crumple and crimp the foil all around the sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring the espresso, brown sugar, and the cinnamon sticks to a simmer over very low heat. Simmer until the syrup is very fragrant, about 20 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted, and then stir in the cayenne pepper. Set aside. Pulse the chocolate in the food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a deep bowl. Pour in the warm coffee syrup and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the beaten eggs until completely blended.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in a large, deep, oven-proof skillet or a roasting pan and set on the oven rack. Pour in enough water to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until center is set and barely wiggles when you shake the pan gently, 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool the cake to room temperature. Remove the foil and chill thecake in the pan at least 8 hours. Run a wet knife around the sides of the pan then pop the spring to release. Place a platter on top of the cake and flip over. Remove the bottom of the pan, and peel off the parchment. Serve with cinnamon ice cream and raspberries.

4. Tres Leches Cake with Strawberries

mixer

Mixing ingredients | iStock.com

Tres leches cake with strawberries is made by soaking sponge cake in a creamy milk mixture. Prepare and bake the cake, poke holes all over it, coat it in the milk mixture, and then give it ample time to chill; it must be refrigerated for at least 4 hours or overnight. The cake isn’t complete until you’ve topped it with strawberries and whipped cream. Food & Wine’s recipe yields 12 servings.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toppings

  • 1 pint strawberries, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Sweetened whipped cream and thinly sliced mint leaves, for serving

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the eggs with the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla at medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Gradually add the whole milk, then mix in the remaining flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back to the touch. Transfer the baking dish to a rack and let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk the cream with the evaporated milk, cinnamon stick and cloves and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

In a heatproof bowl, combine the condensed milk with the remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the ground cinnamon. Strain the steeped cream mixture into the condensed milk and stir to combine. Let cool for 20 minutes. Using a fork, poke holes all over the cooled cake. Gradually pour the milk mixture over the entire cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

In a bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Cut the cake and serve with the strawberries, whipped cream and mint.

5. Jalapeño Popper Corn Cupcakes

Jalapeños

Jalapeños | iStock.com

A jalapeño and cornmeal cupcake is topped with a decadent cream cheese frosting in Taste of Home’s recipe. Basic baking ingredients, corn, and jalapeños combine to make the cupcakes, while cream cheese, toasted breadcrumbs, and sliced jalapeños create a tantalizing topping your tastebuds will love. It yields 1 dozen.

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper

Frosting

  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sliced jalapeño peppers

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in corn and jalapeno.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place bread crumbs on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 2 to 3 minutes or until toasted. Cool. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Garnish with toasted bread crumbs and jalapeno slices. Store in the refrigerator.

6. Mexican Chocolate Squares

coffee beans

Coffee beans | iStock.com

A heavenly chocolate filling is sandwiched between two sweet, crumbly cookie crusts and topped with sugar, cinnamon, and coffee beans in Woman’s Day’s dessert. If you’d like to prepare this treat in advance, it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen up to 3 months. Before baking, thaw it in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature. The recipe yields 25 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • Yolks from 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.67 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
Filling
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons dry instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Topping
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Decoration: 25 chocolate coffee beans

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, letting foil extend above pan on two sides. Beat butter, shortening and both the light-brown and granulated sugar in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Beat in yolks, vanilla, and salt until blended. On low speed, gradually add flour; beat until just blended.

Divide dough in half. Beat bittersweet chocolate into one portion and press over bottom of pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake 10 minutes or until just set. To make the filling, microwave chocolate chips and condensed milk in a medium bowl on high 1 minute. Stir and repeat at 30-second intervals until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Add coffee, vanilla, and salt; stir until coffee dissolves. Pour into crust.

To make the topping, beat sugar and cinnamon into remaining dough. Press between hands, then break in small pieces over Filling. Evenly space 5 rows, 5 coffee beans in each row, on topping. Bake 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Lift foil by ends onto cutting board; cut in squares.

The tightly wrapped dough can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before proceeding. Once baked, all cookies can be stored airtight with wax paper between layers at room temperature up to 1 week or frozen up to 2 months.

7. Churros

churros

Churros | iStock.com

Completing our Mexican dessert round-up is Allrecipes.com’s Churros. This traditional Mexican sweet is unbelievably easy to make: combine water, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the flour until the mixture forms a ball, heat oil for frying to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and pipe strips of dough into hot oil, frying until golden. Drain the churros on paper towels, roll each in cinnamon and sugar, and dig in!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2½ tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts oil for frying
  • ½ cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2½ tablespoons sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball. Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep skillet to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag. Fry until golden; drain on paper towels. Combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

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