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Dessert, Spices

Cinnamon, Cayenne, and Coffee Brownies

I have been inspired by the Unprocessed October challenge put on by Andrew Wilder on his blog  Brownies are one of the few dishes I make out of the box.  I’ve always wanted to try them from scratch, but I have always felt a little intimidated.  I have a tendency to mess up box brownies (I have an issue with following recipes exactly.  That doesn’t work well with baking).  Plus, I live in Denver and I have to adjust every baking recipe to account for the high altitude.  But, I am really set on sticking with this pledge.  I should admit though that this recipe does not abide by all the Unprocessed October rules.  I do use store bought chocolate and some refined sugar (I do replace half of it with whole wheat flour).  This is due to the fact that I am a 20-something and, as a result, a little short on money.

Of course, if I was going to make these on my own, without the help of a box, I wanted to make something unique.  Something you couldn’t find in processed food.  So I did some research and found the right type of uniqueness for my taste.  I have recently gotten into making a lot of chili for football parties, so I have gotten very comfortable with making heavily spiced, Latin American food.  This is probably the reason why the Mexican section of my spice list is so large.  I also love the movie, Chocolat.  I know, such a chick flick!  But it really did get me very interested in the history of chocolate in the Americas and the way chocolate was prepared before Europeans appeared.  I know, brownies are not what Native Americans made, but I feel that this recipe is in honor of that tradition.

The recipe I’ve chosen to use is Cinnamon, Cayenne, and Coffee Brownies from the What We Love Most blog.  I’ve replicated the recipe below for your convenience, but I encourage you to try out this blog.  I’m sure I will now become a frequent visitor.


  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour ( I used half refined flour and half whole wheat flour to make it a little healthier)
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (folded in the batter last)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coffee beans, fresh ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×9″ pan.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate chips together on the stove top*. Once melted, remove from heat.  Stir in the sugar and molasses until well combined.  Add in the eggs, one at a time**.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ground coffee, and cayenne pepper.
  4. Add the wet batter to the dry mixture and fold delicately.
  5. Add in the 1/4 cup chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish and bake the brownies for 30 minutes or until the sides of the brownies are separating from the pan.
  7. Let cool for a few hours before cutting.

*to melt chocolate over the stove top use a double boiler.  I usually place a pot on the stove, filled with water about half way then put a metal bowl over the top that sits above the water.  I place the butter and chocolate in the bowl and bring the water below to a boil.  By cooking the chocolate and butter in the bowl, an even heat is created for melting the chocolate.  Placing it directly into the pot will burn the chocolate.

**Make sure the chocolate mixture isn’t too hot when adding the eggs.  The eggs will scramble and the mix will be ruined.  I mixed the dry ingredients while waiting for the chocolate to cool down.  If the chocolate is comfortable to touch then it will be cool enough for the eggs.

I was surprised to find out that brownies are not that difficult to make from scratch.  In fact, they take about the same amount of time from scratch as they do from the box.  Cooking (30 minutes) is what takes up most of the time in both cases.  I think I might reduce the amount of cayenne pepper by half next time.  It’s a bit overwhelming.  I believe that flavors should meld, not overwhelm.


About 20somethingsfoodguide

I grew up in Hawaii, but now live in Denver, CO. I love food, traveling, photography, and everything in between.


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