Spice Brownies

I am supposed to be writing. Perhaps you can tell? I am supposed to be writing field notes. I went back into the field yesterday. I sort of feel that another week off would sort me out and then I’d be full of energy but sadly, the school system here disagrees and so I got up yesterday at 6am to go and find out about food in my new school. The school is awesome and I had a really good, if overwhelming first day, but when I got home I found I couldn’t write anything. I made a whole lot of notes whilst I was in the field, surreptitiously writing during breaks, around the corner and in the staff room (which is strangely mostly empty) but when I got home I found that I couldn’t put finger to key board. So I didn’t write anything last night and now this evening I’m supposed to be writing an account and I just have a total block against it. So I made these brownies instead – at least my procrastinating results in edible food products. It doesn’t help that Word has decided to go on the blink and although I’ve now managed a good thousand words, the document just won’t open so for the moment, I can’t write any more. So I’m going to tell you about these brownies and hope that the computer starts to cooperate later.

These brownies are adapted from Baked Elements, which I’ve mentioned here and here. I had a sudden craving for very dark chocolate brownies and these are made with chilli powder which adds a kick of spice that gets you at the back of your throat right at the end. They’re dark, dense and totally addictive. I made only half the recipe as I wasn’t sure about the chilli. I also changed the sugars to suit what I had in the cupboard. I ended up putting the brownies into the fridge to firm up slightly and the result is a squidgy, soft texture. They’d be rather good, I think, as a dessert at the end of a dinner party, possibly served with just vanilla ice-cream.

Spice Brownies
Adapted from Baked Elements
1/2 + 1/8 cups plain flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp ancho chilli powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
130g dark chocolate
35g milk chocolate
115g unsalted butter
1/2+1/4 cups golden caster sugar
1/4 cup golden granulated sugar
2 1/2 eggs
Makes 16 small squares

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a square baking tin with parchment paper. I halved my usual tin using a foil barrier which worked fairly well.
Combine the flour, cocoa, chilli powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolates together – you can do this in a microwave (I did) or over a double boiler. Whichever you choose, make sure the mixture doesn’t get too hot. To do this successfully in the microwave, buzz the mixture for 30 seconds at a time, stirring and giving it time to cool in between. Whisk the sugars into this mixture, followed by the eggs. Try not to over combine things. Stop mixing when it’s all come together.

Mix the flour into the chocolate mixture. The book advises not to over-mix this either and recommends leaving some of the flour not entirely mixed in. The mixture obviously splits easily which is why you can’t mix it too much.

Pour the mixture into your baking tin, smooth it out with a spatula and bake for about 30 minutes.
The brownies are done when the mixture is risen slightly and a skewer inserted brings out a few dry crumbs. Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Now I shall return to field note writing.

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