Although these brownies are more cake-like than fudgy, they are still spectacular. The paprika gives them a beautiful smokey aftertaste while the cinnamon adds a warm spicy note to the chocolate. The espresso powder adds another layer of depth and richness (like a handsome anthropology professor who plays the cello and can recite Shakespeare on a whim). I loved how all the flavours fused together and made these so unique and eclectic. The cinnamon frosting is simple and classic. You may omit the ground cinnamon but why do so when this recipe is already over the top? It's sweetness compliments the rich brownies perfectly and you can convince someone to clean all the dishes in exchange for licking the bowl. Quite a good deal!
(adapted from Taste of Home)
* printer friendly Recipe *
- 1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. of baking Soda
- 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
- 1 - 1 1/2 tsp. of paprika (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp. of espresso powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 3/4 cup of cocoa powder (I used Hersheys special dark)
- 2/3 cup of butter (melted, cooled, and divided in half)
- 1/2 cup of boiling water
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of chopped bittersweet chocolate (If you prefer you may use 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips but I really really think these are best made with dark chocolate)
- 6 Tbsp. of butter at room temp.
- 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
- 2 2/3 cup of confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup of half & half (or milk)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with tin foil. Allow the foil to come over the edges and fold for easy removal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, paprika, espresso powder, nutmeg, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and 1/3 cup of the cool melted butter. Add the boiling water and stir until thickened. Stir in the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and remaining 1/3 cup of melted butter. With a large spatula or wooded spoon, fold in the flour mixture. Stir just until the all the streaks of flour have disappeared. Fold in the chopped chocolate.
Pour into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.
Frosting: In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the milk, beating well each time until the frosting is spreadable. Add more milk in small increments if nessary.
Frost the cooled brownies and enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.