If you are a fan of Mexican Hot Chocolate, or the pairing of chili and chocolate, these brownies are the thing for you. They have a much more sophisticated taste; while they are fudgey, they are not overly sweet; and the spices add a complexity with a delightful after-burn that leaves your tongue asking for more. We made these with a full 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper, but we suggest starting with 1/4 teaspoon and dialing it up a bit in the future, if you decide you want a little more heat.
The meringue in this recipe is a slight alteration from our Marshmallow Frosting that we have used on the Ultimate Smores Cake, as well as our Spiced Pecan Sweet Potato Cupcakes. We decided to decorate these Mexican Chili Brownies with the meringue using a pastry bag, but if you don’t have one, you can always use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. To mimic this look you should make a swirl of dots from the center out, inserting the tip of the bag slightly and then lifting up after squeezing some meringue into the batter. Once you have your dots all arranged use a toothpick to drag through the meringue dots, connecting them and making a heart motif.
What if you love the concept of chili and chocolate, but need a gluten-free substitute? Try our Double Chocolate Chili Cookies. They are just another shining example of this winning combination of sweet and spicy.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped (plus extra for the pan)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 ounces Abuelita Chocolate, Mexican hot chocolate, approx. 1¼ "discs" chopped
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- Marshmallow Meringue:
- 2 large eggs, separated
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Butter a deep dish pie pan, spring form, or 9x13" pan and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the butter in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler). When it begins to melt, add the salt. Once the salt is incorporated mix in the sugar, cocoa powder, spices, and chopped Abuelita chocolate. Stir until the butter and chocolate have completely melted and are mixed together. The mixture may appear grainy.
- Remove the bowl from the double boiler and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
- While waiting for the mixture to cool, mix up the marshmallow meringue by mixing 2 large egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar with a whisk in a double boiler, or bowl set over simmering water.
- Whisk continuously until mixture reaches 160°F, or is warm to the touch and is starting to thicken and forms ribbons when lifting whisk from mixture.
- Remove from the heat and use a hand mixer to whip the mixture until it thickens into a marshmallow fluff and cools to room temperature.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Cover and set aside marshmallow fluff.
- Once the brownie chocolate mixture has cooled to room temperature, using a hand whisk stir in the vanilla extract and each egg, one at a time into the chocolate mixture, mixing well after each egg to completely incorporate.
- Using a wooden spoon, or a spatula, mix in the flour until the batter is smooth, it will be very thick.
- Pour the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Use a pastry bag to decorate the brownie batter with the marshmallow meringue or spoon the topping over the brownie batter, distributing evenly.
- Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the meringue is just starting to brown on top, if it is not fully covered in meringue you can insert a toothpick into the brownies near the center to test its doneness, the toothpick should come out with crumbs, or "non-runny" chocolate.
- If the meringue is browning too fast, tent with foil and continue to bake.
- Allow the brownies to cool to room temperature in the the pan before serving.