I must say that I rarely need inspiration when I am deciding on a dessert to make. But just in case you have dessert baker’s block, I am highlighting three of my favorite desserts that say Fall and Halloween to me. And no, none of them have anything to do with pumpkin. Today is all about chocolate, and maybe a little vanilla. What’ll it be – brownies, cookies or flourless chocolate cake?
Rich mentioned last Sunday that he needed a dessert to take to work on Wednesday, for an office Halloween celebration. He wanted something decadent and chocolate. We thought of brownies, and then took it several steps further, as we almost always do.
We had just been to several outdoor parties, complete with fire pit and s’mores, which started the thought processes. A few times we have made s’mores at home with chili chocolate (Lindt makes a nice one). We have also used cinnamon graham crackers, sometimes with plain chocolate and sometimes with the chili chocolate. We have done a few desserts with the flavor combination of chocolate, cinnamon and chilis. Why not brownies?
We made our standard graham cracker crust with a lot of extra cinnamon and pressed it in the brownie pan. Brownie batter came next, with an addition of chipotle powder to give it a little kick. When the brownies were almost baked, we topped them with marshmallows and baked them a bit more. I also used my birthday present kitchen torch (thanks, Rich!) to toast the top of the marshmallows. I think the double cooking made the marshmallows a bit too chewy. Next time I will either just bake them, or just torch them, not both. I wrote the recipe for baking, since most people probably don’t have a kitchen torch (though I must say, it is a fun toy!).
And, thus, Spicy S’mores Brownies were born. Enjoy!
Spicy S’mores Brownies
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 30 small brownies
Adjust the chipotle powder to your tastes. As written, it provides a very subtle spicy kick. I will use more next time (maybe even double the amount). If you don’t have chipotle powder, you can use cayenne, but bear in mind it might be hotter than chipotle, so use a little less.
1 package graham crackers (about 11 full sheets)
¼ cup powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, cut 1-inch pats
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch pan.
Crush graham crackers in a food processor or place in a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin until finely crushed. Add powdered sugar and cinnamon to crumbs and mix well. Pour mixture into prepared pan and add ¼ cup melted butter. Mix well and press into a single layer. Set aside.
Heat ¾ cup butter and chocolate in microwave for 1½ -2 minutes, or until melted and smooth. Stir halfway through cooking time. Add brown sugar to chocolate mixture and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla and chipotle powder. Stir in flour. Spread batter gently over graham cracker crust, trying not to disturb the crust much (it will be fine if some of the crumbs end up mixed in).
Bake brownies for about 15 minutes, or until almost set. Spread marshmallows on top and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until marshmallows are puffed and just starting to color.
Cool in pan on a rack until room temperature before cutting. A wet knife will cut through the marshmallows with less sticking. These are rich – cut into small pieces.These keep well at room temperature for several days, stored in an airtight container.