the baked brownie, spiced up

If you’ve made as many brownies as I have in my life–and that’s a lot. I mean A LOT. Just ask my hips.–you come to realize a couple things: There are no bad from-scratch brownies.* Seriously, not even the batch that I forgot to add the flour to when I was in middle school, that I am pretty sure my mother still brings up whenever someone mentions what a great cook her daughter is, was destroyed. A little charred at the edges, perhaps, but they still quite tasty in the middle. Because you know we totally ate them anyway.

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And if you’re me, the other thing you will likely realize is that it is impossible to have any brownie loyalty in this world. I can’t tell you how many times I have made a brownie and declared it the best one yet, and the one that would end all brownie-making experiments going forward. “Fat chance,” smirk the not-yet-auditioned brownie recipes, though I can never tell if they mocking my aforementioned hips, or simply my insistence that I will never have to look any further for Brownie Nirvana.

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For years, my perfect brownie was the One-Bowl Brownie, and when I’m in a rush, I still make them. Because they’re awesome. More recently, however, Cook’s Illustrated Classic Brownie became my go-to approximation of brownie perfection. And I still wouldn’t push any single one of them away.

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So what does one do when yet another brownie comes across the horizon promising to put all brownies before it to shame? Well, at first you might try to fight it. A few years ago, a friend of mine was working at a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn that was famed for their brownies, and all of their curious varietals, like espresso and key lime and chipotle. She insisted I try them.

“Meh,” I said, “Why do people always have to mess with a good thing? Are we that bored with brownies as we know them? I’m sure not.”

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Of course, that was until I tried them (right there, in the cab on the way home where I had impatiently torn into the package she’d brought me–I had shown a whole hour of restraint, mind you) and realized how wrong I’d been. First of all, this was the best brownie I had ever eaten. It was chewy with lightly crisped edges and a crackly top and an density that had not confused itself with gumminess, as too many rich brownies do.

the baked brownie, spiced up

Second of all, the flavorings were awesome. Do you know what the secret to putting wonky ingredients in baked goods is? Restraint. It’s one thing to make a lime brownie where the flavors fight each other for a seat in the front row–it’s another thing to have that flavor linger so delicately in the background that you really learn to love it there.

That’s what the guys behind Baked** do. And now you can get a piece of it without a subway ride.

the baked brownie, spiced up

* Unless you’re adding pureed carrots or flax seed and if you are, seriously, shame on you. Also: why? Why would you ruin a brownie like that? I demand an answer!

** Yes, this is the same bakery that I mentioned on Tuesday. No, I am not being paid to shill for their book, I am just that in love with it. Did I mention the banana espresso chocolate chip muffin recipe? The red hot velvet cake with cinnamon frosting? The milk chocolate malt ball cake? The pumpkin whoopie pies? And then there is the thing that I am going to bake next, so help anyone or thing that tries to get in my way: chocolate peanut butter bar that include some format of rice crispy treats. Oh, momma.

One year ago: 1-2-3-4 Cake with Lemon Filling
Two years ago: Key Lime Tartlets

The Baked Brownie, Spiced Up
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and the Baked Bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn

So, of course the story is even more complicated than this. You see, my friend jotted down the recipe they were using back in the day for the chipotle brownie, so I could try it at home. But I lost it. For three years. And only found it recently, coicidentally, just a couple weeks before someone gave me a copy of the Baked cookbook. Which turned out to have their brownie recipe, improved over the years with more chocolate and more butter (thankyouverymuch) but no chipotle version. And I really had liked that chipotle version.

Below, I have cobbled together the spices from the older recipe with the current one so you can attempt an unofficial version of their very subtly spicy brownies. Not interested in spices? Just skip the chipotle, cardamom and cinnamon. Either way, welcome to your new brownie nirvana.

Yield: 24 brownies

1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 tablespoons (10 grams) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle powder (I didn’t have this and used smoky spicy paprika, with a very similiar flavor profile, instead) (for the spicy version)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (for the spicy version)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (for the spicy version)
11 ounces (310 grams) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (105 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cocoa powder and spices (chipotle, cinnamon and cardamom), if you’re using them, together.

Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them int osquares and serve.

Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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190 comments on the baked brownie, spiced up

  1. Kelly

    You’re killing me here. Here I am, new and already loyal reader, attempting to stave off the temptation to try the bourbon peach pies in addition to the blueberry crumb bars this weekend, and you throw brownies at me.

    Really. It’s just cruel.

    (But thank you thank you thank you.)

  2. Dancer who eats

    I totally understand what you mean by “gumminess”. On the other end of the spectrum, most brownies are so dry they need the fudge topping. I prefer a brownie that is so outstanding it can hold it’s own. :D

  3. Those Brownies look gorgeous! I love the idea of spicing them up! Delicious! I’ve made Brownies with Curry powder and that was wonderful too…



  4. LC

    Oooh. *Drool* *Drool* *Slobber* Those sound and look wonderful. I think I’m going to have to try them sometime soon. I’m having visions of one of these still warm and topped with a scoop of homemade ice cream.

  5. I just *have* to make this and see how it stacks up (mostly in texture) with my absolutely favorite brownie recipe to date — from Cooks Illustrated (not the light version). The spices sure appealed to me right away. Awesome! Just in time for the weekend.

  6. Susan

    Oh, gee Deb! I currently have a crush on the mascarpone brownies (though they aren’t really like a brownie at all but more like a flourless chocolate cake in texture.) Now this? Great..just great. I leary of the idea of the spices. I still think I’d rather add chocolate as a spice to something else rather than bastardize my chocolate goodies. Did you read about Lebovitz’s chocolate cumin balls?

  7. britta

    I just finished eating the brownies from Cooks Illustrated that you made a while ago. Is it bad to make two batches of brownies in one week?

  8. I’m a huge fan of spicy chocolate, and have been searching for a good spicy chocolate chip cookie for a while (kinda invented my own). This! Oh my god I can’t wait to make this!

  9. Erin

    Your mention of the chocolate malt ball cake reminded me that Food & Wine featured a recipe for such a cake awhile back. I’d always meant to make it, and my birthday’s coming up in two weeks, so it’s the perfect opportunity! I went to look it up online to see if I was remembering correctly (and if I could get the recipe there instead of digging through my old F&Ws)…and sure enough, it’s the Baked recipe!

    So thanks, Deb, for the reminder. Now I’ve got my b-day cake all picked out!

  10. courtney

    the first thing i ever tried to bake all by myself was angel food cake. i forgot the sugar until right before i put it in the oven . . . so i poured that sugar right into the bundt pan, gave it a quick stir and voila!! a layer of crusty sugar on the top of a dense, tasteless cake. haha, i ate the crusty sugar and we threw the rest out. no matter, i can now bake any member of my family under the table. and i’m sure these brownies are just the thing to remind them how freaking awesome i am . . . and by that i mean, how freaking awesome i am at looking up recipes while i’m at work . . .

  11. Once, I forgot to add the eggs to my brownies. I think that’s probably worse than forgetting flour, but when we pulled them out, we just ate really warm brownie batter. Not that bad of a mistake :)

    Also, I LOVE CARDAMOM. Can’t wait to try these.

  12. You’re going to hate me. I am not a baker but I looove brownies and on many occasions have tried to make them from scratch. Don’t ask me why, but I never like them! I never like bakery brownies either! I am more satisfied (and addicted to) the brownies that come from a box! I know, I know, this is a terrible thing to say. HOWEVER, since you have raved sooo much, I am going to give your recipe a try! Maybe the boxed brownie spell someone must have put on me will finally be broken! :-)

  13. And I thought for sure nothing could ever beat the Ina Garten brownie recipe you had here maybe a year ago. I STILL make those and hide them in the freezer so no one else can have them! Perhaps I’ll have to give in and try these as well, but without the spices, I’m not that daring yet! Heck I’m still trying to get used to the fact that you talked me into putting coffee in my brownies!

  14. Nicole

    It *is* hard to ruin brownies. My husband made a pan of from-a-box brownies when he was younger and he forgot to spray the pan before he poured the batter in. So he sprayed Pam *into* the brownie batter and stirred it in. Apparently it actually worked!

    Please let us know ASAP if you make the milk chocolate malt ball cake! Yikes that sounds good.

  15. rachelk

    I thought you hated cardamom? So these must be fabulous then. SO So needing you to try and report back on those chocolate peanut butter bars, they sound amazing!!!

  16. Rachael

    First, your photos are wrecking havoc on my diet. I crave everything you post! I am a brownie connoisseur and am partial to Nigella Lawson’s recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess but that’s just me. I am so going to try these out! Those peanut butter things sound good! My sister in law makes something similar called Special K’s that have (surprise) Special K, peanut butter and chocolate in them. They’re amazing.

  17. These sound spectatular. Chocolate, chipotle mmmmm… I made it over to Amazon to look have a look at the mentioned book… only needed to look a the cover to know **bad** things will result of purchasing it.

  18. Tracy

    Do you use Dutch Process cocoa powder or regular cocoa powder in this recipe? I know there is a difference, but I can’t remember what it is, and if it will ruin (??is that possible???) the brownies.

  19. The blueberry crunch bars were a hit when I took them to the Thrift Shop where I volunteer. They ate them up because they said blueberries are good for you – I didn’t tell them about the 2 sticks of butter!!

  20. jane

    Bet you never thought this was possible… I ruined a batch of brownies from a box. The very first time I ever made brownies “all by myself” I was old enough to read yet young enough to have very little experience with measurements. Yes, I added a cup and a quarter (maybe it was a cup and a half) of oil to the mix instead of just a quarter (or half) of a cup. A very proud daughter cut into the floating brownies to give her very proud father the first bite he requested. That one, now hilarious, then very disappointing bite, was the only one taken.

    Now I love making brownies from scratch, but if I go with a mix Ghirardelli with chunks of chocolate in the mix are soooo good!! I’m pretty sure I ate near half a batch that had chocolate-mint frosting on top at a Christmas party one year. Half a batch! (maybe more? Discreetly taken throughout my time at the party of course. ) I wasn’t even in the privacy and comfort of my own home! And it was an office party, not an all girls get together or anything!

    Well now I have the longest post of the day. Time to go, and eat brownies.

  21. Nancy

    Please, please, please, please (a la James Brown) stop what ever you are doing and work on the chocolate peanut butter bar that include some format of rice crispy treats. I’m waiting. I haven’t had anything today except coffee, a bit of cooked oatmeal and a peach, because I wanted to save myself for a dinner out tonight. I would gladly forego the best crabcake on the East Coast for one of these! There is only one thing in the world better than Port and dark chocolate and that is peanut butter and dark chocolate. I’m still waiting.

  22. Esther

    Thank you so much! I have a favourite recipe, but love trying new ones.
    I can hardly wait to try this one. Chipotle powder is one of my favourite spices!
    Thanks again!

  23. Jasleen

    DEB! I have admired you since i was first introduced to your blog last christmas! Let me tell you that i have officially started my recipe project which consists of putting together all tried out recipes and marking recipes i want to try out on a single format and printed properly in an official recipe binder! My dream of becoming a pastryshop owner seems to become plausible day by day! Btw, recipes from your website were the first ones i put in my collection! These brownies are definately going into the must try recipes! Thank you for the immense amount of scrumptuous inspiration!

  24. You might not be trying to sell this book, but I can’t take it anymore. I am going to pre-order one on Amazon today. My boyfriend is going out of town next week and I already had the raspberry bars on my list of things to cook because I picked nearly 20 pounds of raspberries last week. Now, I can’t resist the brownies either. My co-workers will be fat and happy!

  25. MMmm, brownies… I love the idea of lavender brownies, for some reason this post made me think about how I want to try them.

    And, oddly enough, I read this and realized that just last night I made your “one year ago” 1-2-3-4 cake. Which may not be that odd, but struck me as such, since I have meant to make it since that one year ago post and finally got around to it just now, on its anniversary (and it was fabulous – all that beating makes it extra special, somehow – moister, fluffier, something…)

  26. Tina

    After eating a rather bland salad with chopped up veggie burger and then treating myself to a lovely combination of cinnamon and lemon gelato to kill the awful after taste I log on to this! I’m baking these this weekend and I may not be sharing!

  27. Yum Yum! These are very similar to Barefoot Contessa’s. I think the chile is a great addition. I must try them, not sure if my friends will be game though, they are so tender of palate.

  28. barbara

    Oh, wow! The spicy brownie recipe reminds me of the movie “Chocolat,” where hot chocolate is served with just a bit of chili powder. Mmmm.

  29. allison

    When I was in middle school, I tried to make my mom’s amazing chocolate chip cookies all by myself for the first time… and used wheat flour instead of all purpose. The batter turned out more like pancake batter than cookie. Lesson learned: brownies may be impossible to mess up, but cookies are not. With that said, I will definitely be baking brownies this weekend! Thank you!!

  30. These look incredible. I just read Saveur magazine where they dedicated a whole section to brownies. I think they forgot to include your brownies, they looks divine ( and I usually don’t use that word.)

  31. Rosie

    Brownies look fab- i have a recipe that includes chunks of chocolate in it (Lindt 70%, swoon) and I can’t go past it, but might possibly be tempted by the addition of spices. Gotta love the cardamon!

  32. Adalheidur

    Thanks for all your gorgeous posts! You are becomming my favorite source for new and interesting recipies and I visit your site daily. One curiosity question: from where do you draw your inspiration and (second to New York Magazine) what is your favorite source for recipies?

  33. cheryl

    I can’t wait to make these. The spice will be real interesting, I think I’m in love all ready. My current favorite brownies are Dulce de Leche Brownies which are so perfect I can’t stop thinking about them. I may have to try these out this weekend. Thanks for the new idea:-)

  34. “Unless you’re adding pureed carrots or flax seed and if you are, seriously, shame on you. Also: why? Why would you ruin a brownie like that? I demand an answer!”

    As do I, Deb, as do I – carrots and flax seed do NOT belong in brownies!!

    I’ve heard great things about that NY bakery – fabulous-looking brownies!!

  35. i am a longtime reader and big fan. do you know the dessert truck? this recipe reminds me of their molten chocolate cake with just a hint of olive oil and sea salt sprinkled on top. it’s heavenly as you can imagine. anyhooo… if you ever need an unbiased (and experienced) food tester, let me know and i will get on the subway and be there to ‘help’ in a jiffy.

  36. JC

    Pumpkin Whoopie Pies? Yes, please. I’m pre-ordering the book. In the very least these boys owe you a gift package of assorted goodies.

    Brownies going in the oven shortly! Chocolate coma a very happy family makes.

  37. My goodness! The brownies look amazing. I’m in need of comfort food big time! This has sparked me to make mint chocolate brownies. Yum! Just a touch of summer to add before the weather gets too crisp.

  38. First time poster, long time drooler-over-your-pictures-er: I literally just made these, since my reaction to this picture was what they describe on those eharmony commercials – instant love. They are amazing, though my oven’s temp is off by maybe 50 degrees (I need to get a thermometer and figure out exactly how far off it is) so I undercooked them in the middle a bit. That’s ok though because they are still crack-tastic! I used 70% dark chocolate – I think next time I make these (tomorrow?) I’ll use 62% or so. But still – thank you!

  39. Matty

    OK, I made the spicy brownies.

    I’ve never made brownies in my life!!! But you inspired me and I gave it a shot…

    They turned out perfect! Texture, size, taste everything! But I have to admit, to me brownies just shouldn’t be spicy. They’re good, and I suspect they’d be even better served with Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream and some milk – but to me the spicy nature of them just isn’t something a brownie should be. Thank you though!

    Since finding this site I’ve been inspired to cook more things than just my ‘basics’, and I can’t wait to try out some more of your recipe’s!

  40. I completely agree with you when u say there is no end to the quest for the perfect brownie! countless number of times i have found the perfect and i mean THE perfect brownie, but alas it was overthrown by the one in my mouth!
    btw i did find a low fat version of a brownie – it had applesauce instead of butter and it was very good!

  41. Sarah

    I came here to look up the one-bowl brownie recipe and I see this??!!!
    These brownies look and sound absolutely amazing. I am going out to buy eggs right now to make these – can’t wait!
    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

  42. Colleen

    Definitely trying these – on a recent night out, I had an ancho chile-spiced chocolate pot de creme and it was amazing, so I bet these brownies are fabulous as well. You might also try Chinese five-spice powder in place of the spice combo here- last winter, I used it in several chocolate cookie and brownie recipes and it was fantastic. Perfect blend of spices for winter – sort of like chai tea and that elusive “something else” all wrapped into a chocolate package!

  43. Megan

    First time poster–love your blog! Did you get an advanced copy of the book Baked? It’s not available on Amazon yet and I’m totally wanting it.

  44. Susan

    Just tried these and they are AMAZING! I love the whole chocolate and spice combination. Also amazed that my local supermarket in rural England stocked whole chipotle as I’d never heard of it before!

    Love your blog, keep up the good work!

  45. I’m not sure if these would even last for three days in this house. LOL After my experience with some pumpkin curry cupcakes, I’m all for integrating “non-traditional” spices. :)

  46. Tori

    I’m still completely in love with the Barefoot Contessa brownie that involves more chocolate than I’ve ever seen in any other brownie recipe (over 2 pounds) and a full pound of butter. Just 1 1/4 cups of flour. Baked in a half sheet pan and rapped against the counter halfway through baking to settle any air out and make it the dense brownie it should be. Delish!

  47. I actually can’t make brownies. Oh, how I’ve tried, how I’ve tried… but it always comes out too dense and too much like a really, really, really thick and undercooked soft cookie than a brownie. Even from the box, even from scratch, even everything. I think the only decent brownies I made was from a box and with a dose of chocolate milk ’cause my mom and I were giggly and decided to add chocolate milk. I don’t know why I can’t make brownies. This recipe is torturing me ’cause I love spicy chocolate (my mom puts a little bit of paprika in a really rich hot chocolate or mocha and it’s so yummy), but I am really scared to spend so much money on good baking chocolate and all those other ingredients only to end up with Chare-brand brownies… ie., failed brownies.

  48. “there are no bad from-scratch brownies”

    I made some and forgot sugar once, was pretty hard to deal with the bitterness. In the end I soaked it in rum, made some Vodka jello and a zabaglione and combined them into a very alcoholic trifle. So you’re dead right, there is no such thing as a bad from-scratch brownie :)

  49. deb,
    oh my!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. I made a batch without all the spices but I did add cinnamon. I love their rich, dense, chewy but not gooey texture.

  50. deb

    I see that I missed just a few comments when I jetted out of town after posting this. Let me try to get to them now:

    Erin — That malt ball cake is from Baked. It’s their recipe, also in the book.

    Sally — I actually have no idea. I was using ground, and always thought it was a pinkish grey.

    Rachel — I DO hate cardamom. But like most other flavors I hate, I am finding that when there is just a tiny bit of them and they’re not the dominant flavor, but maybe an extra dimension added onto another flavor, I can deal. All of this is my way of saying that I don’t recognize cardamon in the brownie when I eat it, so it can stay.

    Tracy — Because they don’t specify, you can use either Dutch or non-Dutched cocoa powder. However, in their intro, they go on about the importance of a really good dark cocoa. As dark as you can get. I believe they like Valrhona.

    Adalheidur — I get my recipes from anywhere and everywhere—books, magazines, web sites, food blogs, family friends, my mother and mother-in-law, etc. I get a lot of my inspiration, though, from trying things in restaurants.

    Beyond — I’ve seen/been to (because I can’t imagine seeing it without stopping in) the Dessert Truck only once, but obviously ordered the wrong thing. The peanut butter cookie I had was good, but nothing to fuss over. That said, I love that such a wonderful rolling bakery exists.

    Janice — I use whatever I can get. In this case, I had a bag of large Ghiradelli bittersweet chips, which just hapen to come in 11.5 ounce packages (just enough for the recipe and a few to spare for snacking). But I would never say no to Valrhona or Callebraut or a zillion others.

    Megan — A friend of mine edited the book and gave me a copy. I believe it is out this week.

  51. Whatever brownies I’ve decided to make the one thing they share in common is the little burst of chocolate I get in each bite since I love adding chocolate chips or chunks of chocolate to my brownie batter! NEVER too much chocolate!!


  52. It’s so hard to even label the “perfect” brownie because everyone has a different definition of what that is. I prefer mine to have crackly tops, chewy firm edges and gooey (but still cake like) middles. The extra spice flavor sounds like the perfect addition and I will therefore have to try this recipe.

  53. RZH

    I lost no time and made them last night, without the spices. You are right, this is my definitive brownie recipe to date (Cook’s Illustrated has been ousted). They are very moist and fudgy without having that stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth gumminess. A very good find indeed.

  54. Deb Adkins

    Oh, I do hope the Red Hot Velvet Cake is on your “to bake” list and you will share here. It is my absolute favorite and instantly transports me to my childhood in the deep south.

  55. Bonnie

    Made these last night – they are fabulous! I used my husband’s homemade chili powder which is a mixture of many different dried chili’s. Absolutely fantastic!

  56. Liz C

    You know, I never make home-made brownies. I always settle for the quick-fix box brownies. However, as autumn inches nearer (still in the upper 80’s lower 90’s here in the South), I anticipate some baking weekends, and I believe these brownies will be the debut.

  57. Bad with Brownies

    Can someone please help me – I’ve made this recipe twice and both times its come out gooey in the middle to the point that I can’t cut them without falling apart. I made it a second time thinking I must have made some mistake the first, but I get the same results. I even baked it for 40 min (I also have a separate thermometer in my oven so I know it holds the right temperature), with a toothpick coming out clean with only a crumb or two, if that. Am I underbaking? overbaking? Please help these look so delicious!

  58. Emily

    Yummy! I also did not have chipotle powder – but I did have chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I chopped up a couple and added them to the batter…came out great. My husband sold them at a work bake sale for United Way, and they went super fast. Thanks for the great recipe.

  59. Sara

    I just tried these brownies and hands down they are the best things I have ever baked, not to mention the best brownies I’ve ever had. I was nervous about having to melt the chocolate and add the eggs and it’s all just a wee bit more complicated than I’m used to, but since these turned out so well, I’ll definitely have to try some more stuff that will challenge me! Thanks so much for posting these and for continuing to inspire me to try new things.

  60. sadie

    I just made these, and they are so delicious! Who can actually wait until they completely cool?

    I made plain trial brownies the other day and they were horribly over-gooey. I’m in Colorado and baking at 6000ft. So I tried baking at 325 for 35 min, but I think I ended up going for 40-45min. That was perfect.

    Also, I only had 1 stick of butter and was going to substitute oil for the other stick. I completely forgot the oil, but it did not seem to affect them adversely. Yay!

  61. Linn

    Right! I’ve just popped a pan of these beauties into the oven. Can’t wait to cut the first piece out…
    I’ll get back to tell how the turn out got, I’ll tell you this though, my place smells like chocolate heaven.


  62. Thanks for the recipe. I had been meaning to find something to do with the big block of chocolate I bought a while back. And then Hurricane Ike came and knocked out my power, which provided me with an incentive to use up all those eggs… anyway, they turned out great. I ended up omitting the cardamom (because I had no power to power the spice grinder) and substituting ancho chile powder for the chipotle powder.

    I still don’t have power at home (I’m typing this at work) but at least I had some delicious brownies to barter for power and beer!

  63. Oh. My. God. These are SO amazing. I don’t think I quite realized how decadent these would be until I saw all that butter and 11 oz of chopped chocolate in my bowl. These are seriously the most decadent things I have ever baked. And also possibly the best.

    I live in London where chipotle powder is difficult to come by, but I love cinnamon and chocolate, so just used the cinnamon.

    I just discovered your blog a few months ago, and since then have made about 5 of your recipes. They have all been wonderful – you are my new go-to ‘cookbook’!

  64. Danielle

    Deb, I made these for a Geek camping trip and they were so good I almost got attacked by campers. I’ve already had to give the recipe to 3 people. Thanks so much for recommending this book. I can’t wait to try something else from it. I’m thinking the Sweet and Salty Cake. Thanks!!!

  65. Oso

    I’m with Sara-105 on this one. These brownies are so good that I’m going to link this page on my blog, not that I have nearly as much traffic as you do.

  66. Amos

    Hi, Just wondering how long would these keep in the freezer? Would be nice if i could do a huge batch in case anyone pops over(:

    1. deb

      That will depend on your freezer and how well you wrap them. I like my baked goods triple wrapped in plastic, or wrapped very well and then slid into a freezer bag. I don’t like to keep things in longer than 3 weeks or at least in my freezer, they pick up freezer odors. Yours may vary. I believe they’d be safe in the freezer for at least 8 weeks.

  67. amos

    Thanks for the reply! think besides that, i was more concerned over the fact that there were eggs involved and i wasn’t too sure if they’ll keep so long,,

  68. patsy

    Have you ever tried Zingerman’s Magic Brownies? Crusty, chewy, and rich, they’re the best brownies I’ve ever had. And they are made with unsweetened chocolate (I have to settle for Scharfenberger because I can never find unsweetened Valrhona or Callebaut)and seemingly less sugar than most brownie recipes I’ve come across. And it’s totally not weird to back 2 batches of brownies in a week. I once did 3 in 3 days, baking until I found the most satisfying recipe. Your blog is wonderful, and Congratulations on the little one!

  69. Matt

    Is it wrong that I’m adding pot to these and taking them to a music festival? I have the feeling I’m going to end up gobbling the whole batch and taking a trip to the moon instead. Perhaps a clearly labeled “normal” batch, just to be safe…


  70. Charlie

    As a long time brownie hater (I know weird right!) but regular cooker of brownies for my friends and brownie loving husband, you have done the unthinkable and converted me after I made these this morning and ate most of them this afternoon. Only problem is I useually make brownies as a treat for people when I am dieting (as they useually don’t tempt me) but these are having the opposite effect! Thankyou

  71. Noah

    These are AMAZING. I was a little suspicious of the lack of leavening, but they are chewy and fudgy and fantastic. My girlfriend tells me that she would elope with them if she could.

  72. So I’ve already commented about my first (and what became my second) experience (and what became a love affair) with these here: (#227) but I made these again tonight, and swirled some peanut butter on top of about half the pan pre-baking, as an experiment. OH MY. Delish– they’re like mole brownies! I made them for a friend for whom chocolate, all things spicy, and peanut butter fall at the very top of her list of great food loves, so I don’t think she’ll hate them.

    Also, I just moved to Brooklyn two months ago post-undergrad, and after falling in love with SK my senior year, it’s been so cool to see a handful of things I’ve read about firsthand: from going to Baked for the first time, to working at the City Bakery–most notably the day I came in to discover the first caramel cranberry almond tart of the season had found its way to the counter, and after stumbling upon your gushing post on that beauty, seeing it in the flesh was something not unlike a celebrity sighting-HA. Smitten Kitchen has added another dimension and delight to this many adjective’d experience, so, thank you!

    Oh, and need I say it? (Wait. Of course I do.) Jacob? Is scrumptious.

  73. Lindsey

    I work at Callebaut and I am going to try making some of these for our office baking competition this week! I’ve had spicy brownies at my old job (another chocolate company) and loved them, but I never thought to try making them. Excited to see how they turn out!

  74. These were soo soo delicious. I’ve made them both with the spices and without–they just melt in your mouth and are by far the best I have ever tasted. I subbed 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips the second time around because I didn’t have dark chocolate, and just used the organic cocoa powder from Trader Joe’s. They still turned out great. Also, the first time around, I completely forgot the eggs! Luckily, I caught my mistake before actual baking. I don’t know what I was thinking…but they still turned out delicious!

  75. Paulina

    HEY!! I’m writing from Chile to congratulate you! Your recipes are amazing! I can’t believe it, but thanks to you I just found how to make the brownies I’ve always dream about!!!!!!! Fudgy but on the outside crispy…JUST LOVE THEM!!


  76. I made these last night, and for some reason it took like 1 hour for the middle of the brownies to not be wet? Even after it formed a nice crispy crust on top, the center was still not set… Maybe because I used an 8×11″ pan? The flavor was still really good (even tho I didn’t have cardamom), an interesting change from the usual!

  77. Kim

    Great recipe! I made these yesterday to have as a dessert with friends (including kids). What a wonderful, flavorful, moist, delicious brownie. We did not miss a frosting or topping at all. I halved the recipe and baked in a 8″ X 8″ pan for 20 min. Used Hatch chile powder (1 tsp), raw organic cocoa (not Dutch processed) and Callebaut bittersweet chocolate pieces and finely ground espresso roast coffee (1 tsp). Didn’t add the cinnamon or cardamon so I could see what the warm, chocolate/mocha flavors would produce. We were all very happy with the results and my 10 year old declared it the best ever …and he has enjoyed a few homemade brownies in his time :) Paired it with a scoop of locally made coconut ice cream. Divine!
    Thank you Smitten Kitchen for always reading my mind on what I’m craving even when I don’t know it myself.

  78. Tim

    Made these last night for some friends on Cinco de Mayo. The four of us nearly ate the whole pan… they were so good!

  79. Hey Deb,

    I am wondering what I can sub for the chipotle powder… I have smoked sweet paprika but not sure if that will have a lack of a kick… what about Aleppo chili flakes?

  80. Nan

    Awesome recipe! I live in Zurich and have never come across smoked paprika before but I was in Istanbul on the weekend and wow… brownies taste great with the market fare.

    I’m really making an effort to stop eating them from the pan. The smell is just great too.

  81. bklynweeks

    These are the best brownies of my life. I made them exactly according to the recipe except I did them in a mini-muffin tin (for about 15 mins) since I thought that was adorable when you did it in another brownie post. Thanks for suggesting the spicy additions! These are perfection!

  82. Texas Monthly had a similar brownie recipe years ago (before 2005, when I was laid off from my job, because I have a printed copy and I only printed when I had free printing – now, we pay for the toner and paper at home, so I just bookmark things instead).

    Ah! Found it! 2003. The original source was Meatless Mexican Home Cooking by Nancy Zaslavsky.

    Their recipe has 1/4 C toasted sesame seeds and 3 tablespoons of ground ancho chile. I added 1/8 tsp of cayenne.

    I like the idea of the cardamom. I will try that next time.

  83. delirium

    Few things in this world combine as harmoniously as dark chocolate and chiles. Thank you for posting this and converting more to the spicy side.


  84. Shannon

    Vimala of Curryblossom Cafe (Chapel Hill, NC, for those of you who live in the area!) has turned me onto brownies with tons of freshly ground cardamon mixed in. Irresistible!

  85. mert

    I just made some not-so-great jalapeno brownies yesterday. I should have known when I saw it was from someone named Mr. Chillihead from his cookbook titled, “Adventures in Pain” or something. Now I’m so annoyed that I didn’t stop by here first!!!!

  86. Just made these yesterday and they are FANTASTIC! Rich, dense and slightly spicy. I added some coarse sea salt on top and it really set these brownies over the edge. I was glad I had people to feed them to or I might have eaten the whole pan! Thanks for the recipe!

  87. Jennifer

    Just wanted to say that I made these for a party tonight and they were FANTASTIC. I skipped the cardamom (my Publix had it, but at nearly $10 for a little jar I gave it a pass), but used the cinnamon and chipotle powder. SO. Good. And even if I’d skipped the spices altogether, the texture was spot on. In a glass pan in my oven, they took about 35 minutes total to bake.

    Once again – THANK YOU Deb!

  88. Charity

    The Best Brownies Ever! Wow…these turned out better than I expected. I was a little nervous since I have never made brownies from scratch before and hemmed and hawwed about making this recipe since normally I do not like brownies. But I loved it.

    I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of chipotle powder, increased the cinamon to 1 teaspoon, and used the cardamon too. I also used 1 3/4 teaspoons of instant coffee since I did not have instant espresso. I used my Pyrex pan instead of metal.

    My husband and I cannot stop eating them! I shipped someone to my two best friends in their holiday packages too. Next time I am going to half the recipe since these make a ton of brownies!

  89. Jackie

    I’m an English teacher in France, and today was my last day. Since French people love brownies (which leads to terrible imitations of them in otherwise brilliant bakeries) and think of them as the quintessential American dessert, I made these brownies for my (shh, favorite) students. They were incredible! Everyone loved them; they were a huge hit. Merci beaucoup from the other side of the ocean.

  90. Made these brownies when I was flavor-profiling chipotle on my blog and they were a hit. Everyone who ate them loved them. I used all of the spices in full quantities. Thanks for publishing such a solid recipe! I will continue to recommend it!

  91. Michelle

    The thing about these, and I feel like you perhaps didn’t give enough of a warning, is that when you make them you should be prepared to eat the whole pan in one sitting. Because I might do that.

    Another note: my disgusting roommate eats these with salted peanut butter, and I don’t agree with his decision, because the spices are so lovely and the chocolate so delightful on its own. Shame on him.

  92. Jenney

    I was going to mention that my dog wouldn’t even touch my weight watchers black bean brownies, but then noticed you did add that remark that adding weird ingredients nullifies a homemade brownies yummyness. Good thing I’ve given up that crazy lifestyle and have gone back to good old fashioned deliciousness like these gems.

  93. I know that you put this recipe up forever ago, but holy guacamole, these brownies are spectacular. Not only have you made them very easy to assemble, but the yield is enormous, which is extremely important considering how fast they go! I am now making them for the second time and at the party where I debuted the first batch, they were, indeed, declared “the best brownies!”

    Thank you!

  94. Sarah

    I was so excited to make this. I really thought it would end up being my favorite brownie recipe. But I was kind of disappointed by the brownies. They seemed undercooked and almost too chocolate-y (can this even be possible?) Oh, and even though I don’t have a spicy-seeking palette, I expected more of a chili punch. Anyway, I don’t want to be the downer at a party, but I wanted to say something just because I seemed to be the only one who felt this way. I wish I had made it first before taking it to a potluck. Oh well. Good to hear that others love it.

  95. mert

    just wondering if you’ve tried the official Baked brownie recipe. I found the recipe on Oprah’s website and have made them about 3 times now. They’re pretty amazing but now I’m wondering how they compare to your recipe. Guess I’d better make them and see.

  96. cynth

    I just made these amazing brownies. I halved the recipe (used 3 eggs) and it came out PERFECTLY. Lightly crisped edges and top, chewy with NO gumminess. I baked at 350 in an 8×8 glass dish for about 25 minutes. Since I didn’t have chipotle, I just threw a few dashes of red pepper powder in with the cinnamon and cardamom. Just unbelievable. New favorite recipe!!

  97. These brownies turned out so nicely, I am impressed with the exactness of texture. I added 2 TBS of flour to make them a little more cakelike and cooked for 34 minutes for my 4,500 ft elevation. They really turned out perfect. Thank you!

  98. Liz

    Hey Deb – I was just wondering if you have a specific brand of instant espresso that you like. I’ve heard good things about King Arthur, but haven’t found it in any brick and mortar stores. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  99. Merri

    The crazy thing is is that I am neither a dessert person, a chocolate person, OR a brownie person (please don’t ban me from your site I am much too addicted). However, this chipotle brownie has me intrigued. I just might try it!

  100. Karen

    I know this is a sacrilege when it comes to tweaking these incredible brownies, but is there any alternative to the 2 sticks of butter? Fine for me, but unfortunately cannot be consumed by a spice-loving, diet-challenged friend who would crown me Queen of Everything if an alternative could be used.

  101. HS

    Loved the recipe. One question though, is it meant to have a dense unbrownie type texture or am I doing something wrong? Either way, I loved them

    1. deb

      I am not sure what you meant by an unbrownie texture… the brownie is dense/moist/rich, I’d say fairly typical for a rich American-style brownie.

  102. HS

    What i meant by unbrownie texture was that it wasnt chewy when I made it. Was making it of a very picky little nephew and want to make it perfect. :-). I thought they were good but clearly wasn’t for a 4 year old :-)

    1. deb

      HS — Aah! I do love a chewy brownie too (though I’m convinced SK readers are divided between cocoa brownie and uber gooey brownie alliances; few share my preferance). I need to share my recipe for the easiest brownies on earth, highly chewy but intensely chocolaty. I call them naptime brownies because I can make them in very small margins of time! Soon…

  103. Angie

    I made this yesterday and they are the perfect perfect brownies. Moist and delicious and I have made a lot of brownies. Thank you. When I was looking for a recipe I knew to come to your blog too look for one. I’ve only started reading your blog the last couple of months and I have already made about ten of your recipes and they’ve all been unbelievably delicious. I am at a loss for words to describe just how
    good these brownies are. My daughter who is 18 and her friend and I have been eating them since they came out of the oven. I made them without the spices and I used Scharfenberger bittersweet chocolate. Amazing!

  104. Hi, I am crazy for these brownies, I usually eat them at a local mexican restaurante at home and since I tried them I have obssesed with finding a good recipe to bake myself. So I have a question; they dont sell chipotle powder at home, but I do get the canned type, have you any experience using that version? It comes with a kind of sauce so maybe I could use some of it so it mixes well with the rest of the wet ingredients…
    Heres a pic:


  105. Jessica

    You won me [and it wasn’t even close] the charity bake-off at work with these. I’d share my winnings with you, but the prize was self-satisfaction. I’ll share that with you, though. Thanks!

  106. deb

    Hi Nathalie — I would not use the canned stuff as it is roasted chiles and quite savory/salty/very spicy! Instead, I’d use the hot smoked paprika I mentioned. If you can’t get that, use sweet smoked paprika with a pinch of cayenne. If you can’t get sweet smoked paprika, use regular paprika and a pinch of cayenne. Happy baking!

  107. Sara

    I’ve been making these with and without the spices as holiday gifts. They are DELICIOUS! The texture and flavor are incredible. I went with the smallest amount of chipotle powder and it provided just enough heat without being overwhelming. Thank you!

  108. Meg

    Can you add the metric/weights to this recipe? It’s not that I can’t use my cups/spoons, but I’ve gotten rather used to using my kitchen scale, particularly for flour. Thanks!

  109. Joanne

    Like Cynth I baked these in an 8×8 metal baking tray with half the recipe, using 2 eggs and some extra egg white (as that’s what I had). In my fan-forced oven these were almost overdone at 21mins, so I’d give them 18 next time. They are amazing but even with cutting down the sugar a bit as I used 54% chocoate (just under 1/2 cup white and 1/4 cup brown) they are still overly sweet. So next time I think I’d halve the sugar entirely unless using unsweetened chocolate.

  110. CJ

    These smelled SO yummy – my sister made them for a baby shower this weekend and I really REALLY wanted to eat them . . . . Which brings me to the “why add weird things to brownies” point . . .
    Adding carrots doesn’t make sense to me either. (Bleh!). Other things, like flax or chia, do – mostly because some of us can’t eat normal things like wheat and most amazing brownies are wheat based . . .
    I’m just starting to learn about the wonderfulness of almond and coconut flour, so I’m told there is hope. Maybe one day I’ll figure out the Gluten free version of this goodness. :)

    1. deb

      CJ — I don’t think it’s weird to adjust ingredients to be gluten or wheat-free. I was mostly commenting on hiding ingredients in brownies to make them supposedly healthier. I’d personally so much rather eat a real, fattening brownie in a smaller portion less frequently than an altered one daily. But, there’s no one right way to make anything, just the way that works for you.

  111. BrownieLover

    Wow. I have been looking for the perfect brownies for many years now and these are definitely them – fudgy, moist with that perfect brownie crusting on top. I substituted cardamom for 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and they were seriously beautiful. A big setback to dieting strategies!

  112. Tone

    On the off chance that you actually read comments on a years old recipe..
    Ive made these brownies in the past – they’re delicious!
    Unfortunately, after 4 months of green mucous poops (as a first time mom I had no idea these weren’t w/i the realm of normal) I’ve had to cut out all dairy/soy. Do you think I could use coconut or olive oil for these? Have you ever tried such blasphemy?
    If you’re like me you’re probably working on a freezer stash for post baby. Learn from my mistake and don’t rely, heavily, on mac n cheese and other dairy laden foods!

  113. These are in the oven right now and I can’t wait for them to come out and cool enough to go in my belly. Meanwhile I thought of posting a comment and thanking you for sharing this recipe. The batter tasted great!

  114. Anna

    Hi there, I love the recipe but wanted to experiment with different spices. Is it also possible to add the spice to the melted chocolate instead of the dry ingredients? would it make a difference in the end? I thought this would be the best way to get an idea of the flavor before baking.

  115. nancy martin

    I appreciated your comments about trying so many brownie recipes; having a hard time sticking to one; same with chocolate chip cookies. I am exactly the same way. I made this yesterday and they are amazing! I really expected them to be too spicy; but they turned out just nice and hyper-flavorful. I used paprika also, as I didn’t have any chipotle; only the flakes, and thought that would definitely be too spicy. I’m not crazy about cardamom, so used only a little and could not sort it out from any other flavor in the finished product. I love cinnamon so used that and again, just a nice mellow flavor. I tend to always undercook brownies, which is what I prefer, but my husband likes them more done, but the soft, slightly gooey center was just perfect in these. Thank you for another amazing recipe!

  116. I just made these brownies followed the recipe and no substitutions. I noticed that the amount of butter and eggs seemed generous! They came out tasting okay…couldn’t really appreciate the spices so much (maybe mine not super fresh!) but the texture was odd. Very egg-y. The butter bubbles up around the batter. I read through your recipe several times. Where could I have gone wrong? Any guesses?

    Thanks! I love your site. Been following you for many years and you usually do me justice in the kitchen! This one just seemed off…

  117. subtlespeak

    I’ve made six trays of this to give out for Christmas, and I gotta say, out of all the brownie recipes on SK that I’ve used, this is the most economical one. You can scrimp on the chocolate (always the most expensive part of a brownie recipe!) and use chocolate compound instead. The spices and espresso powder keep the brownie flavorful and delicious!