Monday, July 21, 2008

Cinnamon Chipotle Brownies

These brownies came from a line of three distinguished bakers. The original version is from Alice Medrich's book, Pure Dessert. Cheryl of 5-Second Rule made a cinnamon-white chocolate version, which Charmain of Christie's Corner turned into a chocolate-chipotle brownie.

I've been wanting to do a brownie with chipotle for awhile, and seeing Charmain's excellent recipe finally motivated me. Knowing it came from a chocolate expert like Medrich and got the thumbs up from two trusted blogging buddies-slash-food writers made me feel certain that I'd have great results. I kept Cheryl's cinnamon, left out Charmain's walnuts and got my ideal cinnamon-chipotle brownie. I cut out the seeds and ground up some whole dried chipotle peppers in a spice grinder. Their sweet, smoky flavor is a natural with cinnamon.

This is a simple brownie loaded with chocolate. I like that it doesn't go overboard on butter and sugar (it's not light by any means; just not overly heavy); rather it uses plenty of richly flavored bittersweet chocolate. You've heard this before, but I'll say it anyway--use the good stuff.

The texture is moist and fudgy. On first look, the brownies appeared dense, but they feel light on your tongue and, yes, they melt in your mouth. I still love my Guinness Brownies and these easy peanut butter brownies that get their chocolate punch from Dutch process cocoa, but this one is a bit more nuanced and adaptable, as you can play with different types of fine quality chocolate. It is going into my permanent repertoire.

Cinnamon Chipotle Brownies
Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
I used the 70% cocoa bars by Lindt. Use any good-quality chocolate you like, but I would recommend staying over 60% cocoa. Whether you grind the chipotle chiles yourself or use a powder, heat levels vary. Taste your chile powder and use more or less depending on your preference. If you use flaky sea salt or other coarse salt for baking, use the higher amount.

Makes 12 or 16 brownies

8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 12 pieces
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick "release" foil or parchment paper (or use regular foil, then coat with cooking spray), letting at least 6 inches hang over two of the sides like handles.

Put chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium-low power 45 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave in 15-20 second intervals, stirring each time, just until chocolate is smooth; be careful not to over heat. You can do this in a double boiler if you prefer. Set aside to cool slightly.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, chile and salt in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and light-colored, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes (mine took exactly 32) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little or no chocolate; toothpick should come out clean when inserted near the edge.

Cool completely on a rack. To serve, use the foil handles to lift brownies out of pan. Cut into 12 or 16 pieces. Brownies freeze well.


Peabody said...

I am usually a purist when it comes to chocolate. But I made a coconut curry ice cream and liked it so I think I might try the spicy brownies.

Grace said...

two words that always pique my interest are cinnamon and chipotle. i don't usually see them together, much less teamed with chocolate, so i'm a little bit in love with you right now. :)

Christie's Corner said...

I had debated keeping the cinnamon and am so glad you gave this version a whirl.

The evolution of this brownie recipe certainly is a mingling of tastes.

Keep baking!

Hillary said...

Cinnamon and chipotle sound like the perfect addition to brownies! I love classics with a hint of something extra.

Mallika said...

Very creative twist. I would have never thought of a chilli chocolate brownie!

Cheryl said...

Love that you did this, Julie, and so glad that I played even a small part in your inspiration. Now about those peanut butter brownies -- were three more beautiful words ever strung together in a single phrase? I'm thinking not.

Gypsy at Heart said...

Seems like an interesting combination. Can't figure why I'd never thought to try adding spiciness to my brownies. Will do. Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

These brownies look yummy! If you like the cinnimon & chipotle combinaton, you may want to try it in grilling sometime. It is great as a dryrub on chicken or steak.

Sarah said...

Julie, one of the reasons I love your recipes is that you combine interesting flavors with chocolate! Chocolate is great with a little spicy kick; in fact, my wedding cake had a little cayenne mixed in with the chocolate icing. I love the idea of smoky chipotle in brownies--can't wait to try out this recipe!

Kristen said...

What a great idea for brownies. I am suddenly craving chocolate.

Anonymous said...

i came here and i got hungry lol since you love cooking, im sure you love to eat too, how do you stay in shape? :)

Julie said...

Anonymous: It's all about moderation. Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner and you have room for a brownie:)

David said...

Loved these!! The chocolate and sweet hit you as soon as you put it in your mouth; then, the chipotle comes in, nice and smoothly. Loved these!!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try this recipe. I was served these at a camp retreat this weekend and just had to find a recipe. I've never been big on dessert but I was dreaming about these brownies.