Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel

Salty and sweet treats are always welcome in my kitchen, but so are spicy and sweet ones. These Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel are delicious twist on a traditional brownie, loaded with the sweet heat of ancho chilis and topped with a buttery cinnamon streusel.

The Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel start with a fudgy brownie recipe. Into the batter, I added a generous amount of ancho chili powder. You can buy whole dried ancho chilis, but the powdered spice is much easier to incorporate and minimizes the chance of getting a big chunk of chili in a bite accidentally! The chili powder has a mild, warm heat that is easily paired with chocolate in my savory dishes, such as moles, so it works really well in this dessert. I added a moderate amount of chili powder, so you should be able to taste the spice without being overwhelmed. If you love heat, feel free to increase to taste.

The brownie batter also includes a generous amount of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon, which ties the chocolate in nicely with the streusel topping. The buttery cinnamon topping adds a contrasting crunch to all of that rich chocolate. It also gives the brownies an overall Mexican chocolate flavor. The streusel can be added to other brownies and bars, so feel free to bookmark that alone for future reference!

You can bake these brownies up any time of the year, of course, but I happen to think that they are perfect for Halloween. The spicy chili packs a bit of a “trick,” while the fudgy brownie base and buttery streusel are firmly in the “treat” category. They’re delightfully different and surprisingly addictive. If you like a little spice in your food, these brownies just might be a new favorite dessert.

Ancho Chili Brownies with Cinnamon Streusel
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 batch Cinnamon Streusel

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate in the microwave. This should be done in 30-second intervals to avoid overcooking the mixture. Allow butter to cool slightly.
Lin a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa power, ancho chili powder, ground cinnamon and salt. Whisk in cooled butter mixture, followed by the eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk in the flour and stir until flour is just incorporated and no streaks remain. Fold in chocolate chips and then pour batter into prepared pan.
Sprinkle streusel evenly over brownie batter.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with very moist crumbs attached.
Allow brownies to cool in the pan, then lift the foil to easily remove them before slicing.

Makes 16-20 (depending on the size you slice them).

Cinnamon Streusel
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt. Rub in or mix in (using a hand mixer on low speed) the butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Gather handfuls of the mixture and squeeze to form clumps.
Use as directed in the recipe.

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