Hey folks, it’s sunday and you all know what that means. It’s recipe time again.
Given everything that’s been going on this month, though, I wanted to keep my april recipe simple and use only items that I had on hand. Since, you know, going out for ingredients more than you need to is a bit irresponsible right now.
So, with that in mind, I thought I’d revisit the idea of brownies and spice them up in a whole new way. One that’s a bit more about the spices and a little less about the infusion of superhots.
I have, after all, been wanting to play with pink peppercorns for quite some time.
For today’s recipe, I’m going to pair those peppery little dried berries with some equally dried pul biber flakes and a hefty helping of crystallised ginger. Here’s the full ingredients list:
150g brown sugar
125g salted butter
100g plain white flour
80g crystallised ginger
50g very dark chocolate (I used 100% black)
2 medium eggs
2 teaspoons of pink peppercorns
3 teaspoons of pul biner flakes
1 lidful of vanilla essence
But don’t worry if you’re missing some or even all of my spice trio. Even without my little extras, these brownies are simply divine. Though I’m sure the quality of my chocolate helps a lot, there.
To make them, we’ll begin by melting that chocolate, in a bowl, with the butter. Heating up a pan of water to suspend it over and never quite letting that water boil.
It’s a simple enough process but you’ll want to keep your chunk-size small and even, so that both butter and chocolate melt at the same rate. And you’re going to want to let the mixture residual heat melt the last little bits, to make absolutely sure that you don’t wind up splitting either ingredient.
When you’re done and both parts have become a single, smooth liquid, it’s time to add the sugar and stir as best you can. A little bit, or even perhaps a lot, of graininess is to be expected, here, depending on how large the granules of your sugar are.
Don’t worry, they’ll dissolve into the dessert once oven-heated. I promise.
From here, we’ll beat in the eggs, one by one, whisking in just a little bit of fluffiness before the vanilla and flour get added. Which, so long as you mix them in evenly, requires rather less care and attention than the rest of the recipe.
And then, tadah! You have brownie batter!
The batter to make some delicious, high-chocolate cake slabs with a slightly firm, yet almost melt in the mouth consistency.
But why stop there when we can add golden, rooty chew with our crystallised ginger?
Just chop those sugar-coated chunks to whatever size you desire – Though I’d recommend half-centimetre cubes – and chuck it in. Give it a quick stir through, as you transfer the batter to a greased oven dish, and everything’s ready to bake at the usual 180°C.
Now these brownies take twenty-five minutes to cook to completion but I’m going to bake them in parts, starting off with a fifteen minute oven session.
Why? Because my topping is at its best when pressed, ever so slightly, into the still-setting surface of the mostly cooked cakes. And I’m only just mentioning it now because, well, I hand no reason to talk about it any sooner. It takes mere seconds to prepare.
Combine one teaspoon of brown sugar – The larger grain-size the better – with two of pink peppercorns and three of pul biber. Then crush gently and wait for the brownies.
Once their fifteen minutes is up, sprinkle over the topping and press down gently with the back of a metal spoon, running it over the entire surface to ensure that every grain sticks. Then pop the brownies back in the oven for their remaining ten minutes.
And, while I doubt you’ll listen, with these beauties sat in front of you, I’d strongly recommend giving them another five to cool.
Then you can slice them up to your hearts content, making a good ten servings, should you wish to be sensible. But, honestly, who does?
They are, after all, deliciously more-ish, with all the flavour of a high cocoa content, yet none of the bitterness, and gorgeous ginger undertones to balance out the more aromatic and peppercorn-based
from their crispy topping.
It’s not especially hot, but the somewhat berry-like peppercorns make peace between the roots within and the red pepper without, bringing together two flavours that I love. And the pul biber isn’t just any red chilli but one that adds its own little saltiness to compliment the sweet.
Sometimes it’s less about the spice and more about the spices, though I do have some rather more chilli-heavy cooking planned for the near future.
Until then, give my brownies a go. You won’t be disappointed!