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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Triple Chocolate Mayan Brownies

A few months back, my friend Barb forwarded me an email regarding a local restaurant that was hosting a dessert competition.  It was called the Dessert Throwdown in the Desert (or something like that).  The top recipes would be picked to compete in a cook off.  The winning dessert would then be featured on the restaurants menu for a year and part of the proceeds from the sales of the dessert would go to the winners favorite charity.  At first I thought, hey, I could do that.  Then self doubt quickly crept in.  I can easily convince myself that I am not a good cook.  I mean, really, most of the time all I really do is a follow a recipe, how hard is that, right?  I, then, convinced myself that I didn't have any recipes of my own, so I couldn't compete anyway.  Little by little, Chris helped pump up my confidence and before it was too late, I believed I had a shot. Unfortunately, I did not win the competition, but I did have a good time with it and in the end, that's what counts.

The competition had some guidelines, so of course, I couldn't make just any dessert.  It had to be a cookie, brownie, or pie.  No cakes.  I knew I didn't want to do a cookie.  I have a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, but who doesn't.  I didn't have a single pie recipe that I created, so brownies seemed the most obvious.  I got the idea for this recipe from a bundt cake I made a few years back.  It was a bundt cake that had chocolate and cayenne pepper in it. I thought the combination of the chocolate and cayenne pepper was a marriage made in heaven.  I love chocolate.  I love spicy.  What more needs to be said.

If you do not like fiery things, do not be afraid to cut back on the cayenne pepper, or even cut it out all together.  The cinnamon will still add a bit of a "kick" to what would be a standard chocolate brownie.

Triple Chocolate Mayan Brownies
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 9x9 or 8 x 8 -inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Grease lightly.

In a microwave safe dish or in a double broiler on the stove, melt the unsweetened chocolate, the semi-sweet chocolate, and butter until smooth.  Let cool for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl of a standing mixer, or in a large bowl, add the melted chocolate, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt.  If using a standing mixer, use paddle attachment and mix on low until blended.  If mixing by hand, a whisk tend to work the best to incorporate all ingredients.

Mix in the eggs, one at a time.  Batter should be smooth by the last egg.  Add vanilla.

With a spatula, fold in the flour.  As soon as the flour is incorporated into the mixture, add the chocolate chips.  Fold gently to combine.

Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies comes out clean.  (We like more fudgey brownies, so I take the brownies out when there are still a few crumbs on the toothpick, but it's not wet.)  Enjoy!

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