If I’m going to post today, I can’t really do so without briefly mentioning the rugby… Although France lost, at least we (because I’m totally part of the French rugby team, didn’t you know?) completely blew apart the expectations of most of the rest of the world (well, the bits of the world that care about rugby) that we would play dreadfully and be completely annihilated by the All Blacks. So hah! And I’ll be honest, New Zealand deserved to win the World Cup anyway, particularly on home soil. Now that I’ve got that
totally knowledgeable commentary mini rant out the way, let’s talk about brownies.
More specifically, let’s talk about chilli brownies. The wonderful combination of chocolate and chilli appears to have been somewhat overlooked recently. Many people seem to be unaware of how perfectly these two flavours go together, which is odd, considering that this particular pairing has been around since the Aztecs or maybe even the Mayans – either way, it’s not exactly a new discovery. Luckily though, Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog presented the perfect excuse for a foray into this flavour pairing by setting “chilli” as the special ingredient for October’s We Should Cocoa challenge.
It took me most of the month to decide what to actually make. Cookies, cupcakes, macarons – the possibilities are endless. In the end, I decided to make chilli brownies in order to use the chilli pepper that went into my chilli crème de cacao experiment, as well as to use some of the actual liqueur. I had a little moment of inspiration whilst making the brownies, and threw in some cinnamon as well, so they morphed into Aztec brownies. They also turned out lovely and fudgy, and the chilli flavour is subtle rather than in-your-face, but you can definitely taste it, so it is quite warming (which is always a bonus with winter approaching). I couldn’t taste that there was alcohol in them, but that could just be me, and I haven’t been able to test these on anybody else to get a second opinion about that. Either way, they’re still delicious and that’s what counts, right?
Makes 9-12 brownies
Adapted from The Craving Chronicles
These are fudgy in the middle, with a lovely warmth from the chilli peppers. Obviously the strength of the chilli peppers will affect how chilli-y the brownies turn out. If the chilli peppers that you’re using are very strong, you might wish to omit the chilli powder, depending on your tastes. One of the chilli peppers that I used was the one that I used to infuse the chilli crème de cacao also used in the recipe. If you don’t want to make up an entire batch of chilli crème de cacao, you could always just infuse the amount needed with one of the required chilli peppers, or just use normal dark crème de cacao and add a little more chilli powder to the dry ingredients. These can be stored in an air-tight box for a few days (but they won’t last that long!).
2 chilli peppers
125g all-purpose flour
45g cocoa powder (at least 70%)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
60g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
55g unsalted butter
125g light brown sugar
80ml chilli crème de cacao (click for the recipe)
1 tsp vanilla extract
To decorate (optional):
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175°C. Line a 20 x 20 cm baking tin with baking paper.
2. Slice the peppers in half and remove the seeds but keep the white filaments. Finely chop the chilli peppers and set aside.
3. In a heat-proof bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together over a pan of simmering water (make sure that the bottom of the bowl isn’t immersed in the water). Remove from the heat as soon as they are melted together and set aside to cool slightly for about 5 mins.
4. Meanwhile, sift the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chilli powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and mix well.
5. Lightly beat the eggs together in a small bowl. Slowly add about 3-4 tbsp of the melted chocolate to the eggs, beating constantly. Once combined, stir the egg mixture into the remaining chocolate mixture. Then add the sugar, chilli crème de cacao and vanilla essence and return the bowl to the simmering pan of water over a low heat. Mix for a few mins until the sugar has melted.
6. Fold the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tin and bake for 18-20 mins until a toothpick comes out almost clean (remember that the brownie will continue to cook slightly once it is removed from the oven and that it will also harden). Allow the brownie to sit in the pan for about 10 mins before lifting out onto a cooling rack and sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and ground cinnamon (optional). Eat warm or allow to cool.
PS – I’m well aware that my photos are a bit yellow-y. Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure how to sort that out – my Photoshop skills are pretty limited.