Mexican Chocolate and Cherry Brownies /

Mexican Chocolate and Cherry Brownies

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Revised April 2018, after much noodling to get a chewier texture; revised again February 2023 to use ancho chile powder instead of chili powder because ancho chile-with-an-e powder is ground chiles, while chili-with-an-i powder is a ground chile and seasoning blend that typically includes garlic and onion and I’d rather not have those flavors my brownies (although chili powder could be used in a pinch)

Laced with cinnamon and ancho chile powder, these brownies have dried cherries tucked inside and cocoa nibs sprinkled on top. If you like things with a kick, add a little more cayenne.

Makes twenty-four 2-by-2-inch brownies

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 2 ounces 50 to 60% semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened dutched cocoa powder (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup cocoa nibs (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, allowing the excess to hang over at least two edges of the pan. Coat the foil with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the coffee to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, chile powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugars and butter and beat at medium speed until well combined. One at a time, add the eggs, beating after each addition until well incorporated. Add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and the chocolate mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Fold in the cherries. Transfer to the prepared pan, spreading the batter into the corners and smoothing out the surface. Sprinkle on the cocoa nibs, if using, and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean, 28 to 30 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool to room temperature, then remove the brownies from the pan by lifting the foil overhang. Cut the brownies into squares and serve. (You can store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to about a week or in the freezer for up to several months.)

NOTE Dutched or alkalized cocoa powder helps make these brownies chewy and dense. If you prefer brownies that are more cakey, go with natural cocoa powder.

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