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.
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
70 g / ½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. chili powder (guajillo, arbol, ancho, and chipotle are all recommended)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.