Chili and chocolate may seem like an odd combination, but the two ingredients are old friends. They began their partnership way back when the Aztecs used pepper, chili, vanilla, annato, and honey to flavor the drink that they made from pounding roasted cocoa beans in a mortar and mixing the resulting pulp with water.
Chocolate has come a long way since then, seducing people all over the world with its endorphin-releasing charisma. We associate it with love, guilty peasures, and comfort. It makes addicts out of us. Why not take that addictive quality into overdrive by celebrating chocolate's Aztec roots and adding a little touch of heat to the mix?
Yesterday, for my friend Dr. Vinnie's birthday, I made a couple of batches of dense, moist brownies using the basic recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. But to make sure no one forgot what they ate, I added a hit of chili: not enough to blow anyone's head off (it's still dessert, after all,) but enough to leave a little reminder in the back of people's throats.
They went down incredibly well (if I do say so myself,) and the suprise of the chili kept people talking about the brownies for the rest of the night.
Chocolate Chili Brownies
adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
200 g dark chocolate
175 g butter
325 g sugar
130 g plain flour
1/2 T dried ground red chili
1/2 T finely chopped fresh red chili
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan with a little boiling water in the bottom. Once it is all melted and smooth, take off the heat and mix in the sugar and flour until completely combined, then add the eggs and chili and mix again. Pour the mix into a greased rectangular cake tin, and bake at 170C/ 325F for about 30 minutes, or until cooked but still soft in the middle. Let them cool before you cut into squares, if you can wait that long.