On Saturday we invited friends over for dinner. I decided to make a vegetarian chili with cornbread topping, because:
a) we love chili
b) it could be made in advance, assembled at dinner time and ready baked in 25 minutes
Then I got thinking about dessert. A dessert that would be true to the Mexican spirit of the main dish. I was thinking of chocolate and chili and then they turned into brownies.
Brownies that are kind of like a solidified version of the ancient Aztec drink. Plus some more spices and a lot of sugar.
The heat in the brownies is pleasant, the other spices are wonderful and their structure is just right: lightly crisp on top and with a true brownie interior (i.e. not a cake!). There’s a lot of chocolate – as there should be.
After their first bite the kids had the following conversation:
Daughter: Mom, there’s chili in these brownies!
Son: Great, right? Statistically, every 25th recipe on this site is a recipe for brownies – there are surely never enough brownie recipes on a foodblog?
Brownies previously: Toffee brownies, Very chocolatey brownies with walnuts, Guinness brownies
Makes 24 brownies
160 g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder (you can substitute smoky spicy paprika)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
300 g (11 ounces) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
230 g (1 cup /2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
330 g (1 ½) cups granulated sugar
70 g (1/3 cup) firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 23 x 32 cm (9 x 13inch) glass or light-colored metal baking pan and line the bottom with parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cocoa powder and spices (chipotle, cinnamon and cardamom) together.
Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, before cutting them into squares.