Mixing chili and chocolate was the status quo in Aztec times and has always been popular in Mexico but has only recently become more prevalent in the US. I see the pair frequently at chocolate boutiques and really enjoy how well they work together. After a long week of work, the sweet-tooth fairy came out to play and we decided to make some Hot Brownies last night.
We didn't have everything planned ahead of time but we based this recipe on Brownies Cockaigne from of the Joy of Cooking. We didn't have unsweetened chocolate like it called for, and doing it over, we may omit some of the sugar. I guessed at the amount of chili to add and I think it was a good educated guess because it worked out.
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 ounces milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups sugar (this looked like too much)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cayenne chili powder
"The Joy" recommends that everything starts out at room temperature, which is fine - unless you are making them on a whim like we did.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with butter or spray.
In a double-boiler (or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water) combine the chocolate chips and the butter and melt slowly. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. In another bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, walnuts, white chocolate chips, and cayenne chili powder.
Once the chocolate and butter mixture is melted set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, mix in the vanilla, sugar, and then the eggs. Incorporate the dry ingredients and be careful not to over mix. Working the batter too much at this point will begin to form gluten and make the brownies tough, not gooey.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, begin checking them at 25 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean with no wet batter stuck to it. Allow them to cool for 15 minutes before trying to remove them from the pan.
The chili flavor is barely perceptible while the heat is coy; not noticeable at first, but sneaking up after a few bites. The burn is like seeing someone who you think you recognize. You exchange glances, holding your gaze longer than normal, wondering if you can find what it is about them you recall. Then it hits you - yes!
One very "cool" effect is that the warmth lingers for a few minutes after you have finished your last bite, warming you from the inside. If you were to add only 1 tablespoon, the chili would add only a subtle nuance. I'd be willing to bet that no one would be able to pick it out.
But what would be the fun in that?
Make mine hot!