For the last week, I’ve been immersed in healthful cooking using things like brown rice flour, agave nectar, whole grains and carob chips. As rewarding as healthful cooking can be, it was time to unleash some sugary decadence in my kitchen.
My first foray produced a jarful of beautiful chocolate wafer cookies filled with crushed malted milk balls (whoppers) and bittersweet chocolate chips that vanished within hours.
My next experience, with flying sugar dust and flour, was an assignment to create some new flavors for cupcakes. It sounded like a fun proposal. It turned out to be very difficult and resulted in frustration.
I threw down my towel and within minutes, I altered my basic cupcake recipe, adding more sugar, a couple more eggs, and a few special ingredients.
Mole is a name used to describe a variety of sauces used in Mexican cooking. The most popular uses for the term, Mole, describe an avocado sauce called guacamole and a savory chili-based sauce called mole Poblano.
I’ve seen all manner of chili-head ideas in my day: jalapeño cupcakes, habanero cheesecakes and the like. Following the guidelines of a classic Mexican mole: chocolate, seeds, nuts and a bit of binder, I created a Mole Brownie.
Madame Donna’s Mole Brownie
½ cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs
½ teaspoon table salt
2 cups cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups all-purpose white flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons Pasilla chili powder
6 fresh jalapeño peppers, minced finely
½ cup lightly toasted chopped walnuts
¼ cup lightly toasted slivered almonds
¼ cup pepita (pumpkin) seeds
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Prepare a 7″x11″ baking pan or Pyrex dish by lightly oiling the bottom and sides or use cooking spray.
Toast the nuts and set aside to cool.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler then whisk to blend and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and chili powder into a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.
In a large bowl, or in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk or beat the eggs with the salt until foamy and light yellow in color.
Add the sugar and the vanilla and beat the mixture until well blended.
Add the cooled butter-chocolate mixture and stir just until it’s combined.
Add the flour/cocoa/chili pepper mix and stir until just blended.
Fold in the jalapeños, nuts and seeds.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake about 25-35 minutes (depending on your oven) until the top is glossy and cracks. The inside should still look moist.
Allow to cool completely before slicing.
These are chocolaty rich, spicy sweet and cake like. A tall ice-cold glass of milk or a snifter of Kahlua goes beautifully as a complement.