warning: bad photos ahead [recipe: cinnamon chip cocoa brownies]

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)

140g butter
1 cup sugar
3⁄4 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1⁄2 cup flour
2⁄3 cup cinnamon chips, plus more for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line an 8-inch square pan with greaseproof paper.
  2. 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.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour the brownie mixture into the lined pan, and sprinkle more cinnamon chips on the surface.
  6. Bake at 160°C for 20-25mins, then leave to cool completely before serving.

23 thoughts on “warning: bad photos ahead [recipe: cinnamon chip cocoa brownies]

  1. the mister

    Ooooh! I ate these! Well diva as they may be, they got eaten right after their photo shoot… *nomnomnom*

    I’m growing to be a cinammon-fan too, progressing a lot from regarding them as just that twig in oh-so-many dishes!

    Oh yes, I read the title and, in the infamous word of Liza YM Lapanploh Lima, “Bedek sehhhh….

    The photos are lovely, luv! 😀

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Eh don’t anyhow quote Liza YM Lapanploh Lima okay; nanti dia datang seram ah! 😛

      Anyhow, I’m glad I’ve turned you into a cinnamon fan too. More cinnamon bakes for us both!

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      It’s my first time actually eating & baking with cinnamon chips! I know I know, I’ve been missing out on a whole lotta goodness 😀 It’s just so difficult to find here, and I grabbed the first packet I saw ~hehe.

  2. Joanne

    Brownies are kind of hard to photograph to begin with so don’t worry your cute head so much about it! I was sold as soon as you said cinnamon chips anyway. No photos necessary.

  3. oneordinaryday

    Bet they taste great, but I just don’t think there’s a way to get cinnamon chips to look pretty. They are a hideous color, but thankfully they’re delicious little things.

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Ah yes, cinnamon chips have such a bright [strange] hue which would probably look great amidst a creamy white vanilla ice-cream, but against an almost jet-black brownies? Not so much.

  4. teanoir

    Ok firstly, no matter what you say about how bad these brownies look when photographed, they still look absolutely scrumptious in my eyes! I think brownies really aren’t about looking beautiful. I mean, that’s what they are: Moist blocks of deep chocolate. Simple, basic – they’re not meant to look like fluffy pancakes and cream-filled eclairs. But they hit the spot every time. SO NO, YOUR BROWNIES ARE STILL VERY WONDERFUL Z!

    And secondly, OMG CINNAMON CHIPS EXIST??

    I’m so glad you’re blogging again, I hope things are going smoothly for you 🙂

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      cosmonavigator: Thanks for dropping by.

      teanoir: Awww thanks, doll 🙂 And yes, cinnamon chips exist! I was hunting down for butterscotch chips actually, and lo and behold (drama lah sikit), cinnamon chips sat prettily next to chocolate chips. Score! I’m pretty sure you could find them there as well, or maybe even more 🙂

  5. idakz

    i love cinnamon and you’re always making me want to bake these goodies. I’ve yet to find the time to try making the cinnamon toasts despite it being the easiest. now this? ahhhhhh need to find that time!

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Try harder!!! Hahaha 😛 If you’re a cinnamon fan, you should definitely get your hands on those chips. They’re like a pill of cinnamon shot or something 😛

  6. crustabakes

    I know exactly how you feel when it comes to photography. The stars somehow just refused to align together to give me decent pictures sometimes. And brownies are one of the things i hate taking pictures of cause they are so dull coloured and not as photogenic. But you did pretty well for this, i loved how u managed to capture the crackly top (my obsession as well) with the cinnammon chips. This seems like MY kind of brownie too, Very deep, aromatic, rich and fudgy!

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      Yay, a fellow cracklytop fan! I’m almost always looking out for brownies that give me the texture; it’s a promise of fudgy yummy decadence to come, most definitely 🙂

  7. thecoffeesnob

    Oh, I completely feel and know your pain when it comes to food photography! The rainy days lately haven’t been much help eh?

    Anyway I’m intrigued with these jet-black brownies- they sound and look so good! When ever did you find cinnamon chips though?

    1. ovenhaven Post author

      I found them by chance actually, right next to the chocolate chips at Hershey’s Store, Tampines. Funnily enough when I went to the RWS Hershey’s Store I didn’t see them at all! 😛

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