Brownies are much like porridge and tea, everyone likes them a particular way. These brownies are gooey in the middle and have a rich chocolatey flavour, whilst still being a light texture and hold their shape. The chilli finishes them off with a nice warmth (not spice!) that’s perfect for winter.
When I was little my parents and I made chilli chocolate brownies on multiple occasions and they became a family favourite. However that was a long time ago, so I decided to recreate them based on a Nigella recipe that I have tweaked to my liking. You won’t even know they’re “free from”. I’ll get straight into the methods and ingredients now because who even reads a recipe introduction anyways.
- 225g dark chocolate broken into squares (I used 125g 70% cocoa and 100g 50% cocoa)
- 100g finely chopped dark chocolate (I used the remaining 50% cocoa chocolate)
- 225g dairy free butter (e.g. block Stork or Pure, not spreadable Stork as this has buttermilk in it)
- 1.5tsp vanilla bean paste
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g soft light brown sugar
- 3 free range eggs (or vegan substitute: scroll to end of recipe)
- 100g ground almonds
- 50g self raising gluten free flour
- pinch salt
- 3tsp dried chilli flakes (seperated into 2.5tsp and 0.5tsp)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or gas mark 3.
- Melt the 225g dark chocolate with the butter slowly in a heavy bottom saucepan.
- Once melted take off the heat and add the salt, vanilla and caster/brown sugar, at this point the mix will become grainy and dull. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the top of the mix becomes glossy again.
- Cool the chocolate butter mix by pouring into a large bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes. This step seems long and boring, but it’s necessary if you don’t want to end up with chocolate scrambled eggs.
- Mix the ground almonds with the gluten free flour until homogenised.
- Once the chocolate butter mix is cooled slightly, add 2.5tsp of chilli flakes and mix well.
- Beat in the eggs and whilst mixing, add half of the ground almonds and flour.
- Gently fold in the remaining ground almonds and flour along with the 100g of chopped chocolate.
- Pour the brownie mix into a 9″/24cm square tin or silicon mould.
- Sprinkle over the remaining 0.5tsp of chilli flakes.
- Bake until the brownie is crisp on top but still squishy in the middle. About 35-40 minutes. If you prefer a more cake-like brownie bake for 5-10 minutes longer.
- Cut the brownies into squares and dust with cocoa powder, I made 12 large brownies out of this mix.
Brownies are very forgiving and can be tweaked easily to your liking or needs.
Student swaps (how I would make them if I was at uni with limited resources):
- 70% dark chocolate – supermarket own brand dark chocolate/cooking chocolate.
- Vanilla bean paste – vanilla extract or flavouring.
- Light brown sugar/caster sugar – just use all caster sugar or granulated sugar.
- Gluten free self raising flour – plain gluten free flour with 2/3tsp gluten free baking powder.
How to veganise the recipe (simply change the 3 eggs to one of the following):
- Flax eggs – 1 egg = 1 tbsp ground flax seeds (flaxmeal) and 2.5 tbsp of water, set aside for 15 minutes and then use as normal. Therefore for this recipe it would be 3 tbsp flax seeds and 7.5tbsp of water.
- Chickpea eggs – 1 egg = 3 tbsp chickpea flour with 3 tbsp water, mix until thickened. For this recipe: 9 tbsp chickpea flour and 9 tbsp water.
- Apple sauce – 1 egg = 3 tbsp apple sauce. For these brownies use 9 tbsp apple sauce, it may need pushing through a sieve if the apple chunks are quite large. Also you may need to reduce the sugar in the recipe if the apple sauce is heavily sweetened, start by adding 50g less sugar (25g of both brown and caster) and then add more depending on taste.
- Bananas (mashed) – 1 egg = 3 tbsp banana. 9 tbsp of bananas can be used for this recipe, the banana flavour may come through in the brownie so it might be best to remove the chilli flakes to prevent clashing flavours. As with apple sauce, use less sugar initially and sweeten batter to taste.
1 egg is roughly 3 tablespoons, so in this recipe the quantity of egg substitute needs to equal around 9 tbsp of wet ingredients. Disclaimer: I haven’t tried any of these egg substitutes yet however they are commonly used as egg replacements in baking so hopefully will work!*
Of course the recipe can also be made dairy-full and gluten-full if you don’t have specific dietary requirements.
*(The quantities and types of egg substitutes I have come across are a combination of many sources and are common knowledge within the vegan/egg free community, therefore they are not sourced.)