Dark Chocolate and Chilli Brownies

Ah it’s that time of year again. Valentine’s Day is here again. I’m not one for big displays of affection; I don’t appreciate poems of love and teddy bears bearing hearts and our PDAs never amount to more than a little kiss or a hand hold. Everyone has their own way of telling someone they love them and we have ours. Not that I judge you if you write poems for your beloved, although I might feel a little uncomfortable if I were made to read it via some form of social media.
 
Soppiness aside I welcome love and affection displayed through the gift of food, especially chocolate. I love love love chocolate. I am a chocolate fiend. It is awesome and frankly the best thing nature has ever given us. Baking Mad asked me to pick out a recipe from their Valentine’s Day selection to try and I very excitedly chose the chocolate and chilli brownies. I love spicy food and I really liked the idea of adding a little kick to the chocolate. I included the 50g of 100% dark chocolate that Rachel from Food Nerd4 Life sent me in January’s Foodie Penpal box. It was perfect with the chilli. The brownie wasn’t as sweet as other brownies but was wonderfully rich with just a hint of heat from the chilli. I adapted the original recipe slightly as I forgot to buy chocolate with chilli in it and just used dark chocolate and a whole finely chopped fresh chilli. I also sprinkled a little fleur de sel on top to bring out the chocolate flavour a little more. Seriously, chocolate, salt and chilli is a dream combo.
Obviously today is Pancake Day but I’m bringing you this recipe today so you have time to go out and buy the stuff should you wish to shower your loved one with spicy chocolate treats. If chilli is not your bag, Claire has a gorgeous Rolo Brownie recipe over on her blog. Today is my last chance to fill up on chocolate as it’s Lent tomorrow and I have chosen to give up chocolate again. I started the blog a couple of days before Easter last year so giving up chocolate didn’t affect me quite as much but this year I either have to avoid baking with chocolate for 40 days and 40 nights or I just have to resist eating any of it. As I said, I am chocolate fiend, but it’s good to take a break from it and it’s nice to be able to prove to myself I can give something up. 
Dark Chocolate and Chilli Brownies
(recipe adapted slightly from BakingMad)
150g unsalted butter, softened
50g 100% dark chocolate
150g 70% dark chocolate (if you can’t get 100% just up this to 200g)
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
75g plain flour
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Pinch of fleur de sel
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/340°F. Grease and line a square or rectangular cake tin and set aside.
  2. Place 150g of the chocolate into a bowl with the butter and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Gently stir until it has melted. Remove the bowl from the pan and cool slightly.
  3. Beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture using an electric whisk or in a stand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time until all combined. Sift in the flour and beat until the mixture is smooth. Break up the rest of the chocolate into little chunks and add it with the chilli and mix until evenly distributed through the mix.
  4. Pour the mix into the tin, sprinkle with the fleur de sel and bake for 30 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean. Leave to cool before turning out. Cut into squares and serve.