Chipotle Brownies

25 Nov

Entirely without meaning to, and with very little indication that I would ever do this, I just marathoned the first season of Downton Abbey.  I’ve heard wonderful things about the show, but hadn’t been actively planning to watch it.  In fact, tonight I had planned to watch a kung-fu movie and knit, but then Downton Abbey happened and I randomly felt the need to clean the bathroom.

This was after I deposited the trash in the apartment’s bins via my window, which for some reason never stops being amusing.

So vacation’s going well, in other words.

But before vacation, there were brownies.  Specifically, these brownies, which hail from a magazine called Better Homes and Gardens, which published a special Chocolate Edition that my sister sent for my birthday.  How and where she found it, I do not know, but I am very happy she did.  It is essentially a magazine of chocolate recipes.  It is exactly as amazing as it sounds.

So there brownies in particular… they’re very exciting.  Not only do they have ground chipotle in them, they have espresso, so they really have an extra punch.  I wouldn’t say they’re overtly spicy, but they have a decided heat to them, which really changes the character of your typically sweet, fudgy chocolate.


  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped or in individual squares
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp ground espresso (be sure to grind it very fine, or your brownies will be gritty)
  • 1-2 tsp ground chipotle pepper (my roommate and I trekked to Whole Foods to get this)
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Melt the chocolate and butter together on the stove with a double boiler or some improvised contraption of your choice.

While this is going down, combine the dry ingredients with the exception of the flour.


Once the butter-chocolate has melted and cooled, pour into the sugar mixture.


Beat together for about a minute, when the ingredients should be thoroughly combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each edition.  Then, beat in the vanilla.

Gradually add the flour, mixing until just combined.


Pour batter into a greased 9×9 and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or underbake them so extremely that they are essentially pudding with a thin crust.  Whatever makes you happy, or happens to happen…


Dust with some more cocoa powder for fanciness.

Coming up, there is biscotti that I have consumed at an alarmingly rapid speed, and I’m making Christmas cookies tomorrow, which means a ton, a ton, a ton of pictures.  I got some cookie cutters in the shapes of – wait for it, because this is glorious – a christmas tree, a snowflake, a brontosaurus, and a bee.

Yeah.  They make bee- and dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters.

Get excited.


I’m going to recommend the new film Anna Karenina instead of a book today because a) I’m in the middle of a book currently, and b) critics do not seem enthused by the film, which they damn well should be.  Don’t listen to any negative chatter over this movie, and don’t be put off by any lack of chatter (which is also a problem!  Why??)  To call the set design genius would be a terrible understatement.  The set is treated like a play, where you see it change before your eyes.  There are no scene changes, only moving doors and backstage areas, gangways and auditoriums.  It really emphasized the performance aspect of society in those times, which I think was invaluable in helping the viewer invest in the characters’ problems.  It’s so easy now to think, “How could she be totally ruined by divorce?  People divorce all the time now!”  It’s hard to be convinced by the problems of a period piece, that is.

Until you consider that you were expected to play a very narrowly-defined role on a perpetual stage on which the curtain never fell.  Then, the disgrace of a divorce and the pressure to save face makes sense.  That’s my favorite thing about the movie, but of course the cast is stellar, the costumes are delectable, and the score is very exciting, unlike John Williams some.  It’s not for everyone, but it has the potential to rock your face off if you give it a change.


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