Time for a bonus recipe! In the back of Cook This Now, Melissa Clark previews some recipes from her cookbook In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite. She describes this selection of recipes as dear to her heart and several are named for her mother or a person. The bonus recipe for March is Kate’s Impossibly Fudgy Brownies with Chile and Sea Salt. Now, I’m not sure who Kate is, but she sure can bake good brownies. I made this recipe a couple weeks ago. When I saw it added to the list, I couldn’t wait to make them. I did make myself wait until March even though I was tempted to try them in February.
The recipe is a standard brownie batter with the exception of two unique additions: sea salt and cayenne pepper. The batter came together very easily. Can I just interject here a moment: made-from-scratch brownies are so simple to make. You should really give them a try before reaching for the box mix next time. You have much more creative power by making them yourself. You can adjust chocolate ratios, types, mix-ins, etc. to create a wonderfully unique brownie. I only have one rule about brownies: use good butter and don’t skimp. I’m convinced it is the secret to the perfect brownie. And I used the full 2 sticks and 2 tablespoons in this recipe. Back to these brownies: the cayenne got mixed in the batter with the flour and salt. I did skimp on the sugar just a tad; 2 1/2 cups just seemed like overkill. Once the flour mixture was folded into the chocolate mixture, the batter was spread onto a 9×13 inch baking sheet. The top got an even sprinkle of Maldon sea salt before baking in the oven.
These brownies were really fudgy. The recipe called for just the right amount of flour to keep them from being too cakey. I would certainly use this brownie recipe again as a base for other mix-in ideas. The chile part was very subtle. I didn’t even notice the tiny bit of spice until after I ate the brownie and wondered what that little tickle in my throat was. Next time I will up the cayenne a bit and see if it makes the spice a bit more noticeable. The most intriguing part for me was the sea salt. I love the mix of sweet and salty. This recipe brought chocolaty to the party and things got really fun. I shared these brownies with many different people and made sure to get a review from everyone. People were divided; they either said yes or no. The no’s were mainly turned off by the salt. Everyone was tricked by the cayenne. It was barely noticed by tasters until I mentioned it was in there. That usually led people to reach for another to see if they could taste it again. I cut these in small bites and was very glad I did so I had plenty for sharing.