Black Pepper Brownies

black pepper brownies

Recipe ©Christine McFadden from Pepper: the Spice That Changed the World published by Absolute Press/Bloomsbury.

  • Plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) 200g/7oz
  • Unsalted butter 115g/4oz
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder 3 tbsp
  • Eggs 3 large
  • Sugar 250g/9oz
  • Vanilla extract 2 tsp
  • Salt ½ tsp
  • Black peppercorns 1 tbsp, freshly ground
  • Plain flour 150g / 5½oz

Makes about 20

These brownies are very dark, dense and immensely rich, best served in small portions. The subtle bite of black pepper helps balance the richness.

Preheat the oven to 180℃/350°F/Gas 4, moving the rack to just below the middle. Grease and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking parchment, using enough to hang over the sides.

Break the chocolate into small pieces and put it in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Place the bowl over a pan of steaming, but not quite simmering, water, and stir until the chocolate and butter are melted and well mixed. Gradually sprinkle in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, salt and pepper until well mixed. Gradually beat in the still-warm chocolate mixture, then stir in the flour, mixing well.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out very slightly sticky - brownies are meant to be gooey in the middle.

Leave in the tin until completely cool. Lift from the tin using the overhanging baking parchment. Slice when ready to serve.

Cook’s notes

  • For extra texture, stir in 100g/3½oz chopped walnuts when you add the chocolate mixture.
  • No matter how tempted, it really is a good idea to wait until the brownies are completely cool before you slice them.
  • Brownies will keep for 4-5 days if you wrap them in foil.

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