Four days until the release of A Taste of You, and I brought you a tasty treat – Valentina’s brownie recipe!
“Did your mama help you make these?”
“Well, I started with one of her recipes,” Valentina admitted, “but I changed it. And she suggested the chocolate, but she let me make a bunch of batches one day so I could try different kinds and taste them all at once. We labeled everything and made notes.”
“What chocolate did you use?”
“Bittersweet. I kept the wrapper so I can remember the name when we go to the store.”
“And the peppers?”
“Serrano. I made some with chipotle, too. Jalapeño was too hot if it wasn’t chopped really fine, and I like the little pieces of pepper.”
“Your mother let you dice the peppers?”
“I can’t use the sharp knives unless she is with me. She has to stand with me and watch, not just be in the kitchen. Is it any good, Uncle Garrett?”
Valentina puts chopped chilies in her brownie – which is something I love. You can add chilies to almost any brownie recipe. In addition to the little kick of heat, they really enhance the chocolate flavor. I have two go-to brownie recipes. This recipe makes a rich, fudgie brownie. Like Valentina, I usually put serrano peppers in mine and I like bittersweet chocolate.
BROWNIES with CHILIES RECIPE
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium serrano chili – chopped or minced
Preheat oven to 350°F. and butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.
Chop your chili and set aside. You can do a fine mince or a coarser chop to your taste. The fine mince will give a more even heat. If you wan little bursts of flavor, make the chop larger. You can also use more or less pepper to taste and experiment with different kinds of chilies.
In a heavy 1 1/2-quart saucepan melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring, until smooth and remove pan from heat. Cool mixture to lukewarm and whisk in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well until mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in flour and salt until just combined then stir in chilies.
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake in middle of oven 22 to 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack.
NOTE: I modified this from these cappuccino brownies on Epicurious.com – the original recipe is amazingly good. It’s about 50/50 the times I use the espresso powder and the times I use the chilies. I almost never frost them, though.
Hell’s Kitchen has nothing on the flames Giancarlo and Garrett ignite at Restaurant Ransom…