For these, I started with a recipe for chocolate mousse bars and gave them a Mexican twist by adding cinnamon, Mexican vanilla and a bit of Kahlua. Yum!
Why Mexican vanilla? Because, my friends, it’s WAAAYYY better than regular vanilla. I use it in all my baking, and it has a much more distinctive smell and deeper taste. It’s hard to describe, but, trust me on this–you’ll never go back once you start using it in your baking. You can easily find it on the web, but make sure to read the reviews. There are imitators out there who sell Mexican vanilla but watered down or with added ingredients you don’t want.
For the Crust:
- 18 whole graham crackers (about 9 1/2 ounces)
- 8 tablespoons/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Filling:
- 1 pound/4 cups semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or use good quality chips)
- 3 cups cold heavy cream (separated), plus more for serving
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup Kahlua
- 1 tablespoon pure Mexican vanilla extract
- Whipped cream
- Make the crust: Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. In a food processor, or in a resealable plastic bag, crush the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs (but stop before you have dust). You should have about 2 1/4 cups. A food processor works best to get a finer, more even crumb. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl. Add the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir until evenly moistened. Tip the crumbs into the prepared pan and press them down into an even layer on the bottom. Transfer to the freezer while you prepare the filling.
- Make the filling: Set the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup cream, espresso powder and salt until hot but not boiling. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes. Add the Mexican vanilla and Kahlua and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the remaining 2 cups heavy cream until you have stiff peaks. Add the chocolate mixture and gently fold to combine. Pour the mixture over the prepared crust, and spread it out into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. To serve, cut the two edges without parchment free with a sharp knife then use the parchment overhang to transfer the bar to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.