So we learned toward the end of 2012 that when it comes to predicting the end of the world, we don’t need to be looking to the Mayans. And that’s a good thing. More time to enjoy that culture’s most excellent of contributions: cocoa combined with cinnamon and a touch of cayenne.
I’ve been adding cinnamon and cayenne pepper to brownies for years, even when using (perish the thought) a box mix. The result is a little edge that takes the basic brownie to a new dimension. I’ve long struggled, though with trying to make a brownie from scratch, using cocoa — not chocolate chips or bakers chocolate — that was moist and chewy. I trust we can all agree that it’s just not right that a box mix can be better than what’s stirred up from scratch with love and real food. I think I hit upon it this week. The key: lots more cocoa than most recipes call for, and ground walnuts using a food processor or coffee grinder. The result: moist and chewy, not greasy, and quite tasty.
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups raw sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup unbleached flour
- 3/4 cup ground walnuts
- Preheat oven to 325 and line and 8″ x 8″ baking pan with foil. Coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Grind walnuts in a food processor or coffee grinder. It’s not necessary to completely pulverize the nuts. Walnut chunks are always welcome in brownies.
- Melt butter and allow to cool slightly.
- Sift cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt. Combine sugar. Add butter is a steady stream, continuing to whisk.
- Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly. Stir in ground nuts, followed by flour. Stir until just combined.
- Pour batter into a prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top begins to crack.
- Lift the cooked brownies out of the pan using the sides of the foil. Allow to cool slightly and cut into squares.