A reunion of chili and chocolate

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
3 eggs
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.


Sue said...

NEVER would have thought of this, but will try it for an upcoming group potluck event. Can't wait to see the reaction!

Nic said...

That is the perfect combo, chocolate and chilli - these have my name written all over them!
Super photos, am drooling over the keyboard!!

Stella said...

Rich and pretty. I love chocolate with some heat to it!

Stephfret said...

Sue- I hope your party enjoys them!

Nicisme- Chocolate=good, chili=good, choolate+chili=amazing! Thanks for the lovely compliment.

Stella- It is a great combination, thanks for stopping by!

Unknown said...

They were gorgeous, the chilli stuck with me all the way to the train station, yum yum! Couldn't wait to get the recipe :D

Unknown said...

I second what Joyce said...these were awesome !

Stephfret said...

Hey! Nice to hear some comments from some guinea pigs, er, partygoers! So glad you both enjoyed them!

Unknown said...

I have had a bar of chocolate with chilli before and your right, great combination. Cant wait to try these.

Stephfret said...

Thanks q-
Sometimes you find chili in hot chocolate- there is a great bakery in Union Square in New York that does it...City Bakery I think. Anyway, hope you give the recipe a try!

Cacophaning said...

I know I'm late to the party, but this is one of my favourite recipes now, I make it for almost every occasion when it has to be good! One thing I should add though - all the talk of the 'surprise' of the chili got me excited to give it to people without forewarning them that it was a bit of a spice and see what their reactions were, but this meant that someone who was allergic to chili nearly bit into one - that could have put a damper on things! So it might be worth warning people if you don't know about their allergies - it turns out chili allergy does exist. Amazing, chewy brownies, though.

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