Mexican chocolate can refer to several types of chocolate, including a hot chocolate drink, but all of these chocolates have one thing in common: they’re spicy. Mexican chocolate, in just about every form, is flavored with a variety of spices. Cinnamon is always present and some variations use ground chilis to add some heat to the mix. I like these spicy chocolates (especially when served as a thick hot chocolate) and like to spice up my chocolate recipes from time to time using Mexican chocolate as inspiration.
These Mexican Chocolate Brownies are definitely on the spicy side. The fudgy, slightly chewy brownies are made with dark chocolate and get an extra deep flavor from the addition of some cocoa powder. They’re flavored with cinnamon, cayenne pepper and chili powder, as well as vanilla extract. The cinnamon, cayenne and chili all come together to give the brownies a nice balance of spice and heat that really compliments the chocolate.
I also like to mix in some chocolate chips or chunks of chopped chocolate with this recipe, as the plainer chocolate helps to balance out the spices. The brownies are really complex, but not overwhelmingly hot or spicy. They taste better the day after they’re made, as the spices have time to meld together in that time. If stored for a few days (in an airtight container), the cayenne will actually become stronger and your brownies will be a bit spicier.
These are delicious as-is and I would only recommend cutting back on the cayenne if you are very sensitive to spicy foods, as a smaller amount will not be that noticeable against all that chocolate. If they get a little too spicy, warm them up and serve them with a side of cooling vanilla ice cream.
Mexican Chocolate Brownies
1/2 cup butter
2-oz bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup chocolate chips (pref. semisweet or bittersweet)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder until fully incorporated. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until brownies set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan comes out with only a few moist crumbs, not batter, attached.
Cool in the pan completely before slicing.
Makes 25 brownies.