Paprika Part V - Death by Chocolate

Over dinner and wine in sufficient enough quantity to warrant this kind of conversation (and inspired by http://www.mylastsupper.com), I recently asked my husband what his ideal 'Last Supper' would be. "My mom's shepherd's pie" he responded, without the slightest hesitation. "And you?" he asked, not one to initiate such discussions but now indulging me a little. "Ummmmm chocolate in some shape or form. Oh and something spicy of course!" I said, thinking hard about how that would indeed go down, were I to plan my last meal before departing the earthly plane. "OK - weird" he observed, and we moved on. 

Turns out that if I'm weird, so were the ancient Aztecs. Chilli and chocolate have been soulmates since as early as 1900 BC when they were consumed together as a frothy drink with additions of honey and black pepper. This mesmerizing sweet and savory combination has thankfully been rediscovered in modern foodie circles where it has been observed that the chilli augments the flavor of chocolate without being spicy, but rather provides a little heat as an after-taste. To wrap up our paprika series then, we went back in time to create this brilliant combination in the form of spiced chocolate brownies fit for the family table. You will want to make these again and again I promise. 

RECIPE

Adapted from Mollie's Brownies https://food52.com/recipes/10697-mollie-s-brownies

Paprika Spiced Brownies
12 months+, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Nutrition

Jeanne Louise Calment has held the record for being the oldest woman in the world (she died in 1997 at age 122) until Leandra Becerra Lumbreraswoman recently claimed to be 127, making her potentially the oldest person ever to have lived. Both of these women attributed their longevity to, among other things, lots and lots of chocolate. Jeanne Louise apparently ate 2 lb of chocolate a week until her doctor told her to give up sweets at age 119! Now I would be lying if I said these heavenly brownies are 'good' for you in the same way as the chocolate I imagine Jeanne and Leandra consumed. Chocolate has numerous health benefits mostly due to its flavanoid or anti-oxidant content. These range from cardiovascular improvements, enhancement of mood and cognitive abilities, insulin regulation and even assistance in weight loss! But all of these benefits come from chocolate that's 70% or higher without too much added fat and sugar which negates some of the positive effects (dammit). I can say, however, that these brownies are very very good for your soul and sometimes, that's reason enough. 

Yield

12-24 brownies depending on how small or large you cut them

Ingredients

4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
12 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika (or smoked paprika if you want no heat)
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour

Method

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Preheat the oven to 350 C. Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the paprika and cinnamon and whisk together to blend well. In a large bowl, blend sugar, eggs and vanilla at high speed for a couple of minutes. Add the spiced chocolate and butter to the mixture and blend well. Finally, add the flour and blend well again. Pour into an 8X8 inch greased pan and bake for 45 - 60 minutes. A toothpick should come out of the baked brownies with a little batter stuck to it but not wet (undercooked) or totally dry (overcooked). 

Serving Suggestions

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve as is with a glass of milk or with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. They also work beautifully with a glass of tawny port wine (adults only). Salut!  

Download the recipe here.