“Baked” Spicy Brownies

DSC_0122I know, I know – a brownie recipe fresh off of resolution time isn’t exactly on everyone’s must eat list. Juice cleanses, new gym memberships, and bathing suit season are all most of us can even think about.

I did it for the children. My nephews were at our home and they wanted to learn how to make brownies. Which translated to me making brownies for them while they played with Dylan’s Xbox One. I really didn’t mind. My kitchen is a shoebox and only has room for one person. I browsed my wall of cookbooks and came across this recipe in what could very well be my new favorite baking book.

I made a couple of changes to the original recipe: I added instant coffee and cayenne pepper. I firmly believe that coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, and I wanted the cayenne to add a little kick. Use the best quality chocolate you can get your hands on. My local supermarket sells various kinds of Valrhona, so that’s what I bake with at home.

These brownies are the perfect texture, balancing a fine line of fudge love and density without being cake like. Remove the pan promptly when the toothpick inserted into the center leaves a few moist crumbs behind. Once they cooled they set up nicely.

A cold glass of milk proved to be the perfect pairing.


“Baked” Spicy Brownies

adapted from Baked Elements, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito


  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee (I used Nescafe)
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces good quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (recipe calls for light, but I used dark)
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch glass or metal baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and butter the surface of the parchment paper.

Place the chopped chocolates, instant coffee, and butter in the bowl of a double boiler and bring up to temperature over medium heat. Once the double boiler begins to simmer the chocolate will melt. Stir occasionally until melted and combined. Remove from the heat but keep the bowl over the double boiler and add the sugars. Whisk well until completely combined. Remove the bowl from the heat let the mixture come to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt, and ginger and set aside.

Once the chocolate has cooled to room temperature add 3 eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk again until all the ingredients are incorporated. The book says to be careful not to overbeat the batter or else your brownies will be cakey. I whisked mine very well (while continuously wondering if I was overdoing it) and they weren’t the least bit cakey. You do whatever feels right.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the chocolate. Use a spatula and fold the dry ingredients into the wet chocolate mixture until there is a trace amount of flour mixture still visible in the bowl.

Scrape the contents of the bowl into your prepared baking pan and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out with a few moist crumbs still attached.  Allow to cool completely before you cut and serve them.

The brownies can be stored at room temperature, well covered, for up to 4 days (if they last that long).


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