Confession: This has been the fourth, or maybe fifth, time I’ve made this recipe, each time with my own variation and adjustments, and to date, I have never shared any of the aforementioned versions. And believe you me, they turned out better and better (well, to my palate, specifically) with each newer treatment, but I never got around to sharing. Judging from the above photograph, I reckon you could guess the reason, yes? It just refuses;– and I mean that in the most horrifying terrible-three tantrum-throwing feet-stamping manner;– to be photographed! The day would start off bright and sunny, but once the brownies were cool enough to be handled (and photographed), the dark clouds would come stomping in, and the skies darken, almost shadowing the hue of these rich cocoa morsels. And then there would be an instance of baking-on-a-whim when the sun is almost retiring, and you postpone photography to the next day, only to be dampened when you find the not-so-pretty ones left. I could of course go on and on, but I’m sure anyone with a penchant for photographing their food can understand what I’m getting at.
Yet as vehemently diva-esque these brownies may act, the more insistent I am that good things must be shared, even at the cost of unjust presentation.
I am aware that I had earlier pledged allegiance to a specific cocoa brownies recipe;– not only was it a breeze to prepare, but yielded such fudgey decadent little squares previously only prevalent in a chocoholic’s dream;– but everyone raves about the simple cocoa brownies by Alice Medrich that I knew I had to give it a try one day. Whilst the addition of a little extra butter and cocoa powder lends a distinctive richness to these brownies vis-à-vis my previously-mentioned household staple, the winning factor for me is definitely the shiny, paper-thin, crackly crust, aptly fuelling my obsession. And thanks to the immense depth of its chocolate flavour (the original recipe calls for 3⁄4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder), the decadence of these brownies is perfectly balanced by the lingering warmth of the cinnamon chips, leaving a distinctive olfactory texture of something sugar, something spice, and everything nice. But of course if you’re not a cinnamon addict like me, or if you’re just having one of those need-a-chocolate-fix day, I can assure you they taste great on their own (refer to non-photogenic cocoa brownies below *sigh*).
Cinnamon Chip Cocoa Brownies
(adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet)
1 cup sugar
3⁄4 cup cocoa powder
1⁄2 cup flour
2⁄3 cup cinnamon chips, plus more for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Line an 8-inch square pan with greaseproof paper.
- Over a double boiler, melt butter, sugar and cocoa powder. Stir the mixture until it is well-combined, and hot enough for you to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping in to test. Remove from stove, and set aside to cool briefly until warm, no longer hot.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition.
- Stir in the flour until all of the flour is incorporated. Stir in the cinnamon chips; the warmth of the mixture will cause some of the chips to melt. Beat for about 40 strokes.
- Pour the brownie mixture into the lined pan, and sprinkle more cinnamon chips on the surface.
- Bake at 160°C for 20-25mins, then leave to cool completely before serving.