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Fudgy, Spicy Cinnamon Chile Brownies

[Photograph: Andrew M. H. Alexander]

This is a pretty classic brownie approach, but these are anything but boring. I've modified the classic (and well-loved) Baker's One Bowl recipe to produce a firmer slice with a stronger chocolate flavor, which, while tender from ample butter, isn't greasy. These brownies are definitely sweet (sugar helps form superb chewy crusts) but they're balanced by some salt and plenty of spices. Fudgy brownie fans: This is for you.

I'm of the firm belief that a brownie is not a flourless chocolate cake, so this recipe is as much about texture and butter as it is about chocolate. But brownies also provide excellent opportunities to mix chiles and chocolates. I used a chocolate with a roasted coffee flavor profile, something deep and rich and almost smokey. Since it's diluted in a sweet batter, a chile that complemented its toasty flavors would get a little lost. Instead I opted for something to contrast the heaviness of dark chocolate, and chose a bright, oily, and acidic chile: guajillo.

You can pick them up at any Mexican market, and increasingly many mainstream ones; they're sometimes labeled as New Mexico chiles. Aleppo is another great chile for this, though it's a tad too bright and I miss some of guajillo's peppery richness. As for the cinnamon, fresh and spicy "Saigon cinnamon" is best; it rounds out the flavor of this brownie to make the closest thing I know to a universally adored dessert.

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