Brownies Are So Hot Right Now

10 02 2009

I know that the combination of chocolate and chili is old news.  (Hey, they were doing it in Mexico before the Europeans came along and insisted it be sweetened.)  But that doesn’t stop these from being some of the most seductive brownies I’ve ever made.  It was Super Bowl Sunday and I needed something Mexican to bring to the party we were attending.  Nick was busy stewing beef and making corn tortillas (!!!), and I perused the cupboards, looking for some inspiration.  I had quite a bit of chocolate, and four kinds of chili powder, and chocolate-chili brownies were starting to sound pretty good.

With a little help from Dorie Greenspan, Mark Bittman, and David Lebovitz, I figured out the basic proportions I wanted to use and went from there.  For the chili powder, I used half guajillo and half chile de arbol, which I thought would give a nice, mellow heat with distinctive chili flavor.  Once the brownies were baked and cooled, it was time for the taste test.  (You don’t think I’d serve something I hadn’t tasted, do you?)  The first bite was soft and deliciously chocolaty.  I was worried that I hadn’t put in enough chili powder, but then the spice stole up from behind a grain of salt, and I knew I had hit just the right balance.

In other chocolate-related news, I have finally found an artisan chocolate producer in France!  I’m talking small operation, with lots of single origin chocolate bars to choose from.

Single-origin chocolate bars, produced in Le Mans, France

Chocolaterie Béline is located in Le Mans, in the Loire Valley.  I found their stand at a salon a few months ago, and was excited about the high cacao percentages and single-origin bars.  Luckily, I was not disappointed.  The chocolate is smooth, with deep, nuanced chocolate flavor.  I hope to see them at a future salon, but in the meantime, I can order bars online when I run out.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the brownie recipe!  Click through and do try this one at home.

Sexy Chili Brownies


Deeply chocolaty with a flirtatious heat on the finish, these brownies are perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Or Cinco de Mayo.  Or tailgating.


115 g / 4 oz. unsalted butter

140 g / 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (around 70% is ideal)

½ tsp. coarse sea salt

120 g / ½ cup sugar

100 g / ½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

70 g / ½ cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. chili powder (guajillo, arbol, ancho, and chipotle are all recommended)


  1. Preheat oven to 165 C / 325 F.  Line an 8” / 20 cm square baking dish (or equivalent) with foil, leaving some hanging over the sides to facilitate removing the brownies from the dish.  Grease with butter or spray with oil.
  2. In a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate together with the salt.  Stir occasionally to ensure a uniform mixture.
  3. When the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the sugars, followed by the eggs, one at a time.  Gently mix in the flour and chili powder until evenly moistened.
  4. Spread the brownie batter in the prepared baking dish and bake 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs (not wet batter) clinging to it.  Cool, cut into squares and serve.


Makes about 16 brownies.


Originally published on Croque-Camille.




9 responses

10 02 2009
Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer

You are so right as I have seen a lot of recipes floating around Foodie land that include a little kick and spice to them!! I must admit I was leary to try this unique combination but I think they are worth a try!!

10 02 2009

what makes these brownies sexy?

10 02 2009

chocolat and chili are in fashion

what enhances chocolate in an original way is a little grated tonka bean

10 02 2009

I love this combination. As far as I’m concerned, they’re in fashion now because they are good. And even when they’ve fallen out of fashion they will sitll be good:) A dash of cinnamon would be a true nod to the Aztec gods, I bet!

11 02 2009

Cathy – I recommend going easy on the chili until you find a balance you like – I like some heat, but I want to taste the chocolate, too. It is a brownie after all!

Morisseau – Flanders is nearly as sexy as your ‘stache.

turquoise – What is a tonka bean? Is it this?

onlinepastrychef – Try as I might, I just can’t enjoy chocolate and cinnamon together, although you’re absolutely right about the Aztecs! 🙂

11 02 2009

no, it’s this

but don’t be put off by the fact that it’s forbidden in the US. Nutmeg is also dangerous in high doses.
just google Fève Tonka, you will find a lot of French blogs with recipe using Tonka bean.
you can grate it as you would grate nutmeg but use sparingly, the taste is quite rich. also some restaurants use it for savoury sauces, i personally prefer it in sweet stuff and to be honest, i only use it with chocolate at doses giving it a discrete but distinctive taste. you can buy the beans at G.Detou.

you may have smelled the flavour in pipe tobacco.

the fashion bit was not made to be a criticism, i was merely echoing the post’ s first sentence. half of my family is Mexican so chili and chocolate, i guess i fell in it…

12 02 2009

I love the chocolate/chili combination even if it is old news!

12 02 2009

That is really sound very sexy!

13 02 2009

turquoise – Thanks for the info! I’ve been meaning to make a trip over to Detou… 😉

Sam – Yeah, me, too.

Elra – Oh, it is. 🙂

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