It’s Sugar High Friday, the monthly blogging sweet tooth event. When the lovely hostess and veggie evangelist Alanna revealed the theme "Surprise Inside" I knew I wanted to participate by using an ingredient in a surprising way. I began with an idea for adding ground ancho chili and cayenne pepper to a classic chocolate brownie recipe. The addition of cocoa and cinnamon along with the ground peppers would give it that Mexican twist. But I wanted to take my idea a bit further. So I went eastward and my curried chocolate brownie was born!
Combining curry powder with chocolate is an exotic idea, at least to me. Among some boutique chocolatiers, the trend is to use chocolate with ingredients like kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, or wasabi. I haven’t tried any of these chocolates yet, but it would be fun to taste them at least once.
So how did my curried chocolate brownie turn out? Surprisingly good (no pun intended, well, maybe a little). Overall, the brownie was well received. Most tasters didn’t realize it was curry powder until I told them. They just assumed the spiciness came from pumpkin pie spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. They were partially correct. I used Penzeys Spices’ sweet curry powder which, according to label, contains turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, cinnamon, black & white pepper, cardamom, cloves, cayenne. Some people with more "seasoned" palates could detect the coriander and cumin.
I can’t say this brownie is for everyone. Some people didn’t even want to taste it because the idea was just too strange for them. And as adventurous as I am when it comes to food, I hate to admit that I didn’t really like it. It just wasn’t something I’d eat again. I mean, I thought the curry spices complemented the semisweet chocolate very well and the brownie had a nice texture and flavor. The curry powder was definitely unmistakable, but it wasn’t so dominant that it overwhelmed the chocolate. The extra cinnamon and ginger rounded out the heat of the curry powder and the orange zest provided a fruitiness that added some depth. Even though I didn’t like my own brownie creation, many people really enjoyed it. So I guess this recipe is a keeper.
Curried Chocolate Brownies
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp sweet curry powder
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp orange zest
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter parchment; set pan aside.
Sift together flour, cocoa, curry powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate together stirring until smooth. Remove from bowl from heat, and mix in sugar and orange zest. Then mix in eggs and vanilla.Add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the batter. Bake until tester comes out with moist crumbs, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.