I’ve recently been noticing a trend where chocolate desserts have been starting to incorporate some elements of spice into them to turn up the heat in something normally sweet. I personally had never tried it (I see the spicy chocolate bars in the supermarkets from time to time) but it was something that piqued my curiosity.
In an attempt to experiment with the idea, I decided to throw the twist into a traditional chocolaty classic: brownies. After doing a bit of research and to my surprise, that line of thinking is already established in making Mexican-style brownies.
Mexican Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16 – 20 squares
~ 3/4 cup unsalted butter
~ 1-1/2 cups white sugar
~ 3 eggs
~ 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
~ 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
~ 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1-1/4 tsp cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
~ 1/4 tsp salt
~ 1/4 tsp baking soda
~ 3/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
~ 3/8 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
- I’ve found in my prep work (baking especially) that measuring out all the dry ingredients ahead of time really cuts down on a lot of the stress later on. You don’t have to fumble around for the measuring utensils when combining ingredients together; you just sequentially pour the next item in as the recipe calls for it. Liquids are what I would measure out right before I need to pour it in (for this recipe, that only ingredient was the vanilla extract). My third photo above showcases all of the dry ingredients measured out.
- For baking these brownies, I used an 8″ x 8″ baking pan lined with aluminum foil, so the baking time and temperature were based on the results I got with those. Spray down your aluminum foil with some nonstick spray or wipe it down with some cooking oil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a bowl, soften the butter in the microwave, but don’t go so far as to liquefy it. Pour that into a large mixing bowl and then combine that together with the sugar. After that is well mixed up, add in one egg at a time and combine. Measure out the vanilla extract and stir that in as well.
- With the base mix going, add in the cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, flour, baking soda, and salt, mixing until all of it is dispersed well.
- At this stage, stir the chocolate chunks and chopped nuts into the brownie batter. Pour this into the baking pan and spread it out so that it is level in the pan.
- Bake your brownies uncovered for approximately 45 – 50 minutes. Use a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies as a test to see if they are done (look for the crumbs on the toothpick). I did multiple tests since I occasionally stuck the toothpick right into a melted chocolate chunk.
- Once the brownies are out of the oven, let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring it to a plate or a wire rack to finish cooling for another 20 minutes. Cut up the brownie wedge into chunks as you see fit.
The brownies themselves were very good after coming out of the oven. They were moist, tasty, and weren’t overpoweringly rich in chocolate flavor. However, it was only after they cooled off the next morning that I thought you were able to fully distinguish what the two spices added to the brownie’s flavor profile. The cinnamon adds a slightly different taste to mix in with the chocolate while the cayenne pepper brings a slight bit of heat that kicks in at the end.
It’s definitely different than your ordinary brownies, but still retains that core chocolate flavor that you’ve come to expect from brownies. I brought 12 squares into work today and they were all gone by the time the end of the work day rolled around!