Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chai Brownies (Take 2)

This is my second go at Chai brownies, as the first resulted in something more like cardamom bars :) I was a bit more cautious with the added ingredients this time, and the result is far superior!

If you've never used cardamom pods before - to remove the seeds from the pods, place them in a mortar and tap lightly with the pestle so the pod cracks open. Pull the pod apart and dump the seeds into the mortar. Throw away the pod. Use the pestle to pulverize the cardamom. Look for a place that sells bulk spices; that's your best bet for finding the pods - and the cardamom will be cheaper and fresher. If you can't find pods (or don't have a mortar and pestle), you can buy powdered cardamom (though it generally costs an arm and a leg!). Either way, buy a SMALL quantity - you don't need much and it doesn't keep forever. Use the leftover in Indian curries, Indian Butter Chicken, add a bit to homemade granola, and more.

Cardamom, mortar & pestle
Chocolate Chai Brownies
Based on Steve's favorite Jungle Camp Brownies

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Combine in a medium mixing bowl:
   1 cup sugar (white and/or brown)
   6 tablespoons cocoa powder
   3/4 cup whole wheat flour
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (use less if your cinnamon powder is extremely fresh)
   2-3 cardamom pods, seeds extracted and crushed (or a pinch-1/8 tsp ground)
   1/8 tsp ginger
   dash ground black pepper

Mix in with wooden spoon (this is thick - don't use a whisk unless you just want an excuse to lick the batter off):
   1/3 cup oil and/or applesauce (I always use a combination)
   2 eggs, beaten
   splash vanilla extract (roughly 1/8 tsp)
   1/4 cup coconut ("optional" - if you hate it, leave it out. If not, use it!), plus some to sprinkle on top

Pour into greased & floured (or cocoaed) 8x8 pan. Sprinkle on top:
   Coconut and/or turbinado sugar

Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve with Vanilla Bean ice cream.

The verdict? Perfect :)