Cinco de Mayo Brownies (Chocolate, Chilli and Lime)

Wow, it has been so long since I've baked anything, so I'm very very sorry! I've been extremely busy with university lately, so trying to fit in any time to get in the kitchen has been pretty difficult. But I'm back at it and I thought I'd make my baking come back with something a little bit different for me. Now, I'm not opposed to spice, but I do find it difficult to eat anything super spicy, so I have no idea what I was thinking when I imagined up these brownies. I actually conjured the recipe up in my head whilst we were in Krakow, so I've been meaning to do this for almost a month now! But without further ado, let's get into it.

I think we've all heard of the phrase 'Cinco de Mayo', but do we actually know what it is? Well, it's celebrated in the States on May 5th to mark the anniversary of Mexico's victory over the French Empire way back in the 1800s. There are re-enactments, parades, giant feasts and parties all across the USA, but particularly in Mexico, of course. And as this celebration is quickly approaching, this is what inspired this batch of brownies.
It's definitely a stereotype that the majority of Mexican food is spicy. I've never been to Mexico, so I can't really speak from experience, but because of this stereotype, I knew I had to include a bit of chilli powder in these brownies. I only added around a quarter teaspoon in so that the heat is subtle, but if you want a bit more of a kick, double it up! I absolutely had to include some lime zest and juice too - it's the done thing after tequila, the classic alcohol from Mexico. I added some into the batter, then topped off the whole thing with a little sprinkle on top of the white chocolate drizzle. I decided to add some red sprinkles on top too to emulate the Mexican flag and I think it looks pretty cool. All together, the whole thing is a pretty delicious flavour explosion and is something that you need to try before you judge. You may just surprise yourself!

You will need:
225g plain chocolate
225g unsalted butter
3 eggs
225g caster sugar
2 tablespoons black coffee
Zest of 2 limes (plus zest of another for the topping)
Juice of 1 lime
75g self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
Quarter teaspoon chilli powder
200g milk chocolate chips
100g white chocolate
Red sprinkles

  1. Preheat your oven 180c/gas mark 5. Line a 13" x 9" tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Break the plain chocolate into squares and place in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture is melted and smooth. You could also do this in the microwave if you wish, taking care not to burn the chocolate. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, lime juice and the zest from 2 limes until smooth, then gradually beat in the cooled melted chocolate mixture. Don't worry if you don't like coffee, you really can't taste it. It just helps to give the brownies that gooey texture!
  4. Sift the flour, salt and chilli powder over the mixture, then fold in together with the milk chocolate chips.
  5. Pour your mixture into your prepared tin, and spread it right to the edges, making sure to have an even spread of chips. Then pop the tin into the oven and bake for around 35-40 minutes or until just firm in the centre. You won't want to bake it for too much longer than this, as your brownies will be dry.
  6. Leave the brownie to cool fully in the tin before turning them out.
  7. Once cooled, melt your white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water or the microwave, making sure to stir regularly to avoid burning. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the brownies, and sprinkle over the lime zest and red sprinkles to finish.
  8. Cut into squares or bars and enjoy!
You can see just from these images how dense and fudgy these brownies are, so they're a real treat. And the best thing about them is that the longer you leave them before eating, the more intense the flavours become. It's almost like marinading a piece of meat - the longer you leave it to soak in the sauce mixture, the more tender and flavoursome the meat is. I took these photos the day after I made the brownies and the scent of the lime with the chocolate was to die for. Of course, that means that the chilli becomes slightly more intense too, but if you only use a quarter teaspoon like I did, you'll get a slight kick in the aftertaste. It's actually super delicious!

Like I said, this is one of those bakes that you have to try before you judge, but they're perfect for the Mexican-themed celebrations!

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