Inspired by some brownies I brought home from The Chicago Food Swap, Ancho Chile Brownies are fudge brownies with just a tiny kick of heat. While they do call for ancho chile, the Ancho Chile Brownies are not majorly spiced like Chipotle Brownies and some others.
You can cut Ancho Chile Brownies any size. The food swap brownies were 4 inch squares, which is perfect for wrapping individually and selling at bake sales. And I like how these brownies were wrapped and labeled – very simply, with a black and white label touting their status as Texas State Fair Best of Show. This was the Chicago Food Swap, but the lady who brought the brownies was from Texas.
Unfortunately, food swaps move quickly and I wasn’t able to get the brownie recipe. To figure it out myself, I made a few different ancho chile brownie recipes including one from The Texas State Fair. The State Fair recipe was not exactly like the swap brownie, but close!
Ancho Chile Brownie are both cakey and fudgy. They look cakey until you bite into them and find they are fudgy. They are better with high quality unsweetened chocolate, though you can also use everyday baking chocolate if needed. Definitely use unsweetened, though.
As for the ancho, ancho chile powder is usually found with the spices, on the Mexican aisle or in some cases, the produce section. Some ancho seems to have a little more heat than others which may have to do with freshness. If you really want it fresh you can grind your own. Just remove the stem and seeds from an ancho, toast it a bit in the skillet and put it in a coffee grinder.
Ancho Chile Brownies
- 1 stick 114 grams unsalted butter
- 2 ounces 56 grams best quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped***
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup 200 grams granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup 70 grams all-purpose flour**
- 3/8 teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
- 1 1/8 teaspoon ancho chile powder
- 1 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with nonstick foil.
- Melt the butter and chocolate together in the top of a double boiler, stirring often until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Beat eggs on high speed of an electric mixer. Gradually add sugar and vanilla, beating 3 minutes or until thick and pale.
- With a heavy duty scraper, fold in the chocolate mixture until blended.
- Thoroughly whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and ancho powder together in a separate bowl, then stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Make sure the batter is not so warm that it will melt the chocolate chips, then stir in chips.
- Pour into the pan and bake on center rack at at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes. They're done when a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 210. Let cool in a pan set on a wire rack for about an hour, then transfer to refrigerator and chill for another hour or two or until very cold.
- Lift foil with brownies out of pan. Cut brownies into 4 Texas size squares. You can then wrap the four squares or cut each square into smaller servings.
Use unsweetened chocolate -- not 85%, 70% or semisweet. Using anything other than unsweetened chocolate will change the brownie. Ancho chili powder can usually be found in the spice section or in the Mexican food aisle. Make sure what you're getting is pure ancho powder without any additional salt or seasonings. Alternatively, you can make your own ancho powder by removing the stem and seeds of an ancho pepper (dried poblano), toasting in a skillet, then grinding in an old coffee or spice grinder. If you want a little more heat in the brownie, add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne in place of the same amount of ancho powder.