There is a candy that I enjoy when in the US it’s Hot Tamales; this Chilli Chocolate Brownie Recipe is a tribute to them. Hot Tamales are artificially flavoured, but my Chilli Chocolate Brownies aint! My Brownies are also gluten free – I like them that way.
My starting point is my Dad’s favourite blog post Chocolate Brownies, he loves them. I have blended this idea with my Candied Peppers Blog and hey presto a hot, hot, hot idea! I am using another product sent to me by Sugar and Crumb and that is Chilli flavoured Cocoa, with natural flavouring.
A word of caution here, not everyone likes a scorching hot brownie, so please do taste as you go along. When candying my chillies some of them were quite mild and some were too fiery. You have to remember that when used with sugar and fat the heat can be masked. Here is the science bit… the butter and chocolate coat the tongue and masks the heat. As your juices get to work on the tastes the heat can come through. So a slow burner can be good fun to some, I prefer a genteel building warmth. I also remove all the seeds and more importantly the connecting pith-like part (this is where most of the heat is). I also leave the chunk of chilli embedded into the surface of the brownie large so those of a nervous disposition can hook them out.
To calm the hottest of my chillies I simmered them in a little water for 4mins, drained the water off, rinsed them and repeated the process. Then put them in the sugar syrup.
To Make My Chilli Chocolate Brownies You Will Need
For the Candied Chillies
Start off by candying the chillies. In a saucepan put equal amounts of granulated sugar and water. Add your chosen spices, this is optional. Put onto a low heat and gently dissolve the sugar.
Next chop up your chillies, my mixture above make 16 brownies, so you will need 16 decent chunks of chilli to stud into the surface of the mixture. You will also need 16 thin strips to decorate, so cut your chillies accordingly. I always do a lot more than I need as I think they are stunning on ice cream!
Once sliced up pop the chillies into the sugar syrup and gently simmer for an hour. Strain off the sugar syrup, you don’t need it any more for this recipe, but keep it – again great on ice cream. The rings of chilli will be embedded into the brownie later. But now let’s turn our attantion to the thin decorative strips.
Twist the thin slivers of candied chilli around cocktail or barbecue sticks and pop them in a very low oven (90C/70Fan/190F/Gas Half ) for about half an hour to crisp up. When you take these out of the oven they will still be sticky, unwind them from the stick, re-shaping them and leave to cool and they will crisp up – magic! The large chunks of chilli do not need crisping up, they will be embedded in the mix and we want them soft.
- 250g unsalted Butter
- 200g Dark Chocolate
- 4 Eggs
- 250g caster Sugar
- 75g Sugar & Crumb Chilli Cocoa Powder
- 75g Gluten free Flour
To add to the mixed Brownie Batter
Line a 20cm/8 inch square tin with baking parchment. Lightly grease the tin before putting the paper into it, this will ‘glue’ the paper in place so it doesn’t slip around. Put the oven on at 180fan/200C/Gas 4
Melt together the butter and the 200g plain chocolate. I do this in bursts of no more than 30sec in the microwave, stirring thoroughly between each heating. For me it took 3 x 30 secs and I had an almost melted mix, give it a good stir and the residual heat will finish the job. You need melted and cooled chocolate, so if it gets too hot give it a moment, we don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs!
In a separate bowl mix the sugar and eggs until combined. Do not over-whisk with a machine or go too far with the hand whisk. If you over-mix the sugar and eggs you will end up with a fatty layer on top of the finished brownie, this will crack and flake off.
Whisk the cooled chocolate mix with the egg again whisking by hand.
Add the gluten free plain flour and the cocoa. I am using Chilli Chocolate Cocoa from Sugar & Crumb. I’ve useed their products before and the addition of chilli in the cocoa gives a good, blended flavour to the finished brownie. Sieving is very passé and is not needed with the Cocoa from Sugar & Crumb!
Once the flour and cocoa are sieved stir them into the mix so that when you whisk you’ll not end up with a huge cloud of powder. Then whisk for no more than 30 seconds, over whisking will change the texture.
Stir in the chopped mixed chocolate, then tip the mixture into the lined baking tin. Smooth off to level it out. Space out the 16 candied chillies across the top and push them into the surface of the mix.
Bake for 30-35mins checking at 25mins, they need to be just cooked – there should be a distinct wibble in the middle of the mixture. Do not use a cake tester – if they are properly cooked the tester should be wet, If it comes out clean then it is cake not brownie. Timings will alter a lot depending on size and shape of tin.
Put the tin onto a cooling rack and leave in the tin to cool completely. Chop into 16 squares and before noshing away top ech square off with a spiral of cripsy candied chilli strip. My father has a distinct penchant for these, so if he thinks they are good then they must be!