We don’t claim to be the first to think of sneaking something mind-blowing into chocolatey treats. That particular honour, if you’d like to call it that, goes to Alice B. Toklas, the longtime lover of literary giant Gertrude Stein. Toklas’ 1954 self-titled cookbook contained a recipe for hashish “fudge” that “anyone could whip up on a rainy day”. It was the forerunner of all manner of contraband-containing cookie and brownie recipes, leading many a hippie who had never so much as picked up a wooden spoon to discover a hitherto unrealised passion for baking.
Indeed, we’re not the first to combine chocolate and chilli: Mayan and Aztec nobles in Central America liked to drink a frothy, invigorating liquid made of crushed cocoa beans, chilli and water. The drink’s stimulating properties were such that Aztec ruler Montezuma was said to increase his consumption in preparation for a hot date, although the object of his affections may have been denied the opportunity to do the same; Aztec women, according to several historians, were forbidden to touch the stuff.
We’ve stopped short of adding hallucinogens to this sparky brownie recipe, but we have included a touch of spice—coriander and clove—that works beautifully with the tea-soaked raisins. The amount of chilli powder is a matter for personal judgement: our resident chilli fiends at TMix+ find that a tablespoon is about the right speed but others may prefer about half that quantity. Feel free to vary this according to your own taste. Depending on how far you go, you may find that—as Toklas wrote of her hash-laced specialty, that it “should be eaten with care” and that “two pieces are quite sufficient”. Proceed with care.
Heat the oven to 175C fan-forced. Line an 18-centimetre x 27-centimetre slice tin with baking paper.
Place the chocolate and butter into a bowl set over barely simmering water. Leave undisturbed until both have melted, then stir together gently. Take off the heat.
Meanwhile add the chilli powder, coriander and cloves to the TM mixing bowl and toast 5 minutes/Varoma/speed soft. Tip out into a small bowl and set aside.
Add both the white and brown sugars to the TM mixing bowl and pulse Turbo/2 seconds.
Add the eggs and mix together 5 seconds/speed 6.
Insert the butterfly and heat 8 minutes/37 degrees/speed 4.
Leave the butterfly in place. Add the spices, weigh in the flour, then pour the chocolate mixture in down the side of the bowl. Mix together 10 seconds/speed 4.
Remove the butterfly. Squeeze the liquid from the raisins and mix them through with a spatula.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40–45 minutes or until beginning to crack. The brownie will have a lovely sheen on the surface and a skewer into the centre should come out moist but without any evidence of raw mixture.
Allow to cool in tin, and dust with a little cayenne pepper (optional). Cut into 24 small squares. Brownies keep well in an airtight container and freeze successfully.
Recipe adapted from Red Hot Peppers, by Jean Andrews (Macmillan 1993)