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Ancho powder


baroness
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Not finding pure ancho powder in my area, I bought a bag of whole dried (leathery, not brittle) ancho chilies.

Can I just take the stems off and grind them in my electric coffee grinder?

Should I toast them first -- and if so, can I do this dry (not in oil)?

I need the powder for a cookie recipe :rolleyes: , and am too impatient to wait for a trip to Penzey's or Kalustyan's. Thanks!

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Not finding pure ancho powder in my area, I bought a bag of whole dried (leathery, not brittle) ancho chilies.

Can I just take the stems off and grind them in my electric coffee grinder?

Should I toast them first -- and if so, can I do this dry (not in oil)?

I need the powder for a cookie recipe  :rolleyes: , and am too impatient to wait for a trip to Penzey's or Kalustyan's. Thanks!

remove the stems and the seeds and into the coffee grinder. All will be well...

Bud

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share some of your ancho chile powder experiments with us, please...

edilted to add: does your cookie recipe also involve chocolate?

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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You can toast them dry, I think it helps to grind them if you do - the leatheriness of dried peppers is moisture, and toasting them makes them brittle, as well as bringing out the nice roasty smoky flavors.

When I last did it, I found that the peppers ground pretty unevenly, and large chips of pepper were left even after a long time in the grinder. For baking you might want to sift the grind before you continue!

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I make my own often and always toast the peppers. Toasting brings out flavor. Dried peppers can go from toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds so don't over do it. Once burnt they will become bitter. Anchos are wonderful like big spicy raisins. I grind them up and keep pure ancho powder and also mix some with cumin and oregano for chili powder.

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Boy, toasting those chiles can really clear out your sinuses. Make sure the exhaust fan is on, and open the windows. I have a recipe for Pasqual's red chile sauce (of Santa Fe) that requires toasting a lot of chiles, but I can't make it during the winter.

I seem to remember a recipe in Eating Well a few years ago for brownies made with ancho chile powder. I believe they were called Aztec Brownies, and probably could be found on the Eating Well site.

N.

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Add my vote to the toasting camp. It doesn't take long. When you can smell the peppers and they've puffed up a bit, you're done; five to six minutes.

As for grinding, I've resorted to a two-step process (well, maybe three): first, after stemming and seeding, tear them into a food processor and let it work on them for a while. Sift out the powder and reserve. Grind the remaining flakes in a coffee or spice grinder. Sift again. If you started with a lot of chiles, you'll be doing this in batches, so combine the few remaining flakes from each batch and do them together at the end. You'll still have a few flakes, but consider them an offering to the chile gods, or save them for a stew, where they'll disappear in the mix.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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As others have said, definitely toast them first. How much you want to toast them depends on what you want to use them for, but generally when they are super flexible while still warm, and very fragrant (like a campfire, as the eg salsa course puts it) they are good to go. For grinding it helps if you toast them enough for them to be brittle when they cool off (assuming yours are fresh and good quality, they won't be brittle to start with).

In fact, when I'm doing a lot I generally toast my chiles in a low oven, say 225-250 on a baking sheet for 3-6 minutes, turning once. I don't even use prepared chile powder any more. Once you grind a spice, your exposing a lot more surface area and the quality deteriorates much faster. Plus there are so many interesting dried chiles out there. Toasting and grinding small quantities keeps the flavors and their best, and makes for fun experimentation.

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I like to tear and seed them. Toast them in a dry skillet until crisp. Grind them in a coffee grinder and enjoy! I like to do the same thing with pasilla chilis and mix them--great combo for most things--pork, beef, chili.

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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