Kashmiri Pepper and Blue Cheese Brownies
These Kashmiri Pepper and Blue Cheese Brownies were a true labor of love. Two and a half months of recipe tweaking and four full batches made and tested, and the test last night finally got every aspect of these brownies PERFECT (in my totally unbiased opinion) and I am so excited to be able to share them with you. These brownies are super fudgey and rich, with enough Kashmiri spice that you feel it, but it isn’t overwhelming. After testing a few different cheeses for this recipe, I ended up using Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill, which is the perfect texture, and relatively accessible in terms of being able to get your hands on it no matter where you are. That being said, there are a lot of tweaks that you could make with this recipe based on your personal preferences! So let’s get into it!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2/3 c salted butter (yes, salted!)
- 1 1/4 c raw cane sugar
- 14 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tbsp kashmiri powder (medium spice level) OR 3/4 tbsp kashmiri powder (higher spice level)
- 1/3 lb Bayley Hazen Blue
- 1/3 c semi sweet chocolate chips OR dark chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp cool water
- Some quick notes: Use the smaller amount of spice if you don’t have a high tolerance, or if you’re serving them to a mixed crowd. Use the higher amount of spice if you love hot foods like me. In any case, make sure to use good quality spices – if you’re in NYC, I recommend buying from SOS Chefs, which is where I go, otherwise, head to your local spice shop! You can use semi sweet or dark chocolate chips, depending on what you prefer. I use semisweet, but I tested with dark as well. Again – good quality chocolate is key here! And last thing – if you can’t find Bayley Hazen, visit your local cheese shop and ask them for what is comparable. If you get something creamier than the Bayley Hazen, don’t add any water. If you get something firmer, you may need a little more water. This stuff is all very customizable!
- Okay, actually getting started here. First things first, preheat your oven to 325°F. Line an 8 x 8 pan with aluminum foil.
- Melt your cocoa, sugar, butter, and salt. You can do this in via double boiler if you prefer, but I am lazy and just pop all mine into a bowl and melt it in the microwave. Either way works fine. It’ll likely still look gritty from the sugar after melting, but that’s totally normal.
- If your melted cocoa mixture is hot, let it cool down a bit before the next step. You just want it to be warm for step #5.
- While your chocolate mixture is cooling a bit, crumble your blue cheese in a smaller mixing bowl, and add just a tablespoon of water. Whip the cheese and water together with a fork until cheese begins to form a creamy texture. It should be spreadable but not watery. Spoon the whipped cheese into a piping bag if you have one, otherwise a plastic sandwich bag with the corner cut off works just fine (that’s what I do).
- Now back to the cocoa mixture- stir in your vanilla. Then, add your eggs, one at a time, stirring in between each.
- Add your flour, and then beat for 40-50 strokes. The batter should become thick and shiny, and start to pull away from the sides of your mixing bowl. I recommend doing this by hand with a spoon, not a mixer.
- Next, add your chocolate chips and spice. Mix into brownie batter until fully incorporated.
- Spread your brownie mixture into your lined pan. Then take your blue cheese, dip the end of your piping bag (or ziplock bag) into the batter and squeeze cheese in. Do this in 9 spaces, 3 x 3 in the pan.
- Next take a butter knife and draw lines between your blue cheese dots, both vertically and horizontally, until you have a marbled mix of cheese and brownie in your pan. If you want, add a few extra tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Your batter should look something like this before it goes in the oven:
- Pop your pan into the oven and bake. Baking time will vary oven to oven. You should set a timer for 20 minutes at first, and then continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until done. I don’t recommend going over 35 minutes unless you want the brownies to be on the cake-y-er side.
- After removing from oven. let cool COMPLETELY before removing from pan or trying to cut. Trust me on this. If you are impatient like me, and try to do it while they are still warm, your delicious fudgey brownies WILL fall apart (this happened to me not once, but twice, because I hate to wait). Once your brownies are totally cool, lift them out of the pan using the excess foil to lift, set them onto a cutting board, and cut and lift them each off of the foil (this works way better than flipping them upside down and trying to peel the foil off the bottom).
- I recommend cutting them into small bite size pieces, around 1-2 inch squares, because they are super rich! Alternatively, you can leave them big / normal brownie size, and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds before topping them with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, which is what I did at 3 a.m. last night (you know. for the recipe testing. and not because I was just awake watching The O.C.)
- Enjoy! Let me know when you try them, I can’t wait to hear from all of you!
I mean…. just LOOK at them! I love these brownies so much.