Ancho Chili Chocolate Brownies


Do you love Chocolate? Do you love a bit of heat or spice in your food? Then these outstandingly rich and fudgy brownies are a must-try! Made with good old cocoa powder and chocolate, but kicked up a notch with a teeny-tiny addition of ancho chile powder, these are a perfect introduction to adding heat in chocolate desserts. I had heard about Mexican hot chocolate, which uses this, and since then I wanted to try something like this. These brownies have a hint of spice without overwhelming the flavors of the chocolate and cinnamon, and they are perfect to enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert!

The key to making these brownies is to use good quality of ancho chili powder, made from ground chile peppers. The ancho is the sweetest of the dried chiles, and when fresh, it is referred to as Poblano pepper. It is a staple in authentic Mexican cooking. Red Chili powder, often found in grocery stores contain powders from different types of chilies, and will not be a good substitute to use. So take that extra step and buy some Ancho chili powder from the supermarket next time you go shopping. Photo & recipe courtesy of Whole Foods market.

Chili Chocolate Brownies
Yields 12-16 brownies

2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder(or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with enough foil so that the foil extends a few inches over 2 sides of the pan (this will make it easy to lift the brownies out after baking). Butter the foil.

Put chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until butter and almost all of the chocolate has melted, about 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes (any remaining chunks of chocolate should melt).

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, chile powder, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Pour the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir just until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake just until the top of the brownies begins to look dried and a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs but no raw batter sticking to it, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the brownies in the pan for 10 minutes and then use the foil on the sides to lift the brownies out and place on a rack to cool completely. Peel off the foil and cut the brownies into 16 squares.

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