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Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Day + One: Recipe

I'm not sure why I feel this way but I love to have a hearty chili on New Year's Day.  Maybe it's becauase it's usually so cold and chili warms you up or maybe it's some tradition I heard about a long time ago but the New Year doesn't feel complete without a bowl of hot-spicy chili. However, this year I didn't get it together right and made, instead, a light Lemon Chicken with rice and a salad on New Year's Day.  Likely I made this "mistake" because it was nearly 50 degrees outside on New Year's Day...not exactly the "hunker-down" weather I described above!

So, on January 2nd, with temperatures down into the 20s, I made chili.  But what goes well with chili for dessert? Brownies, of course!

I made a batch of brownies but in my head they weren't intended for kids. Instead, they were made for a more sophisticated pallet - and one that could stand a bit of heat.  These came out even better than I thought they would - and I was really thrilled.  I've seen tons of trendy chocolate flavors and often wonder how one gets those in the kitchen - well...voila! I did it!  These have a very subtle undertone of cinnamon and spice and you don't even realize it until you've swallowed the whole thing.  The "heat" kicks up a bit in the back of the throat - but only slightly.  I served them with some vanilla/espresso ice cream and they were amazing.

Cinnamon-Spice Chocolate Brownies
makes 16

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon red wine
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray an 8" square pan with non-stick spray.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda,  cinnamon and pepper.  In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, water and wine and allow it to boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, immediately and add 1 cup of chocolate. Stir consistently until it's smooth and melted.  Next transfer the chocolate ingredients to a medium-large bowl and stir well until cooled.  Whisk in 1 egg and beat well. Gradually add in 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix well. Add in the remaining egg and beat well and repeat with the remaining half of the dry ingredients. Be sure all ingredients are mixed well and stir in the remainder of the chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and bake 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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