Monday, July 27, 2015

Not Your Grandmother’s Brownies

Sunday dinner required something a bit different this week.  I was making some nice carnitas for tacos and wanted something to complement the flavors of the Mexican food I was making. I remembered a recipe I had saved earlier this year from Better Homes & Gardens for Sweet & Spicy Brownie Bites. I remembered chocolate and chilis—a good pairing in my estimation. (And a bit of vanilla ice cream would be a welcome addition in the heat we are having here today.) These are definitely something my grandmother never would have thought of, and probably wouldn’t have even tried. Sweet and spicy combined was not her cup of tea.

Digging the recipe out of my file of “Desserts To Try” I found I didn’t have all the ingredients and it was for a 13x9  pan, which is definitely too large for us this Sunday, as there will be only four of us. So I got creative and modified the recipe based on what I had on hand and used a standard 8x8 pan. I ‘ve provided a link to the original recipe above, in case you want to compare. And should you want to make a large batch in a 13x9 pan, you can double all the ingredients below, with the exception of the eggs (of which you should only use 5).

Rather than tell the family what I had made, I asked them to try the brownies and describe them in 4 words:

Mr. B: sweet, spicy, chocolately, and not overly dense
Brilliant Daughter: chocolate, ginger, cake, brownie
Butcher Son: moist, rich, decadent, brownie

Obviously Mr. B came the closest to the original name, even if chocolately is not a word, and “not overly dense” is a phrase and not a singular word. Brilliant Daughter was the only one who got the ginger, but she loves ginger and the flavor was more pronounced than in the original recipe due to the addition of ginger chips. Surprisingly, no one got the chili flavor. They all thought the spicy component was the ginger. I found that after chewing a bite and swallowing that the chili sat in the back of my throat and gave a slight burn. Not in a bad way, just different.

Overall these were a hit. Not something they would want me to make on a regular basis, only because espresso brownies, chocolate chip brownies, and salted caramel brownies are much higher on their wish list.

Susan’s Sweet & Spicy Brownie Bites
5/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup ginger chips
4.5 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
1 2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
5/8 cup granulates sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of an 8x8 baking pan.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, chile powders, cinnamon, salt, and ginger chips; set aside.

Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or a large heat-proof bowl. Set over a pan of barely simmering water (the bottom of the pan should not touch the water). Heat and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Remove from heat, keeping pan or bowl over water. Add both sugars; whisk until completely combined. Remove from water. Let mixture come to room temperature.

Add two eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining egg and whisk until combined. Do not overbeat the batter or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold until there is just a trace amount of flour mixture visible.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish or pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool completely on wire rack.

When cool, cut into 16 squares and dust lightly with cocoa powder.

Makes 16 squares

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