Sexy Chai Brownies

What can be more sexy in food than chocolate and spices? As my chai obsession continues (see Gluten-free Chai Snickerdoodles), I paired the two together in chai brownies.

Normally I always put nuts into my brownies because I like the textural crunch they add. I did not want nuts to detract from tasting the spices in the chai brownies and so I opted for cacao nibs instead. Some may be surprised, but this was the first time I had ever bought and used Scharffen Berger cacao nibs. They added the perfect bit of crunch while letting the spice shine through in these chai brownies.

I took the chai brownies to a holiday party this last Saturday and they were a big hit. I had promised I'd put the recipe up in time for others to make them for this weekend's round of parties.

Sexy Chai Brownies

the spices
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup of unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-5 teaspoons chai spice (below)
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum if making gluten-free
1 cup of flour or gluten-free flour mix
1/4 cup cacao nibs

Chai Spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
Make chai spice mix: In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, and pepper. You can choose to add  some or all of it depending on the strength you want. I added 4 tsps to mine and found it the perfect strength. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9x9 pan and set aside.

Melt together butter and chocolate together in a double boiler over a steaming water. Melt only until just blended together, not to a point that the butter separates.

Remove from heat and mix in the sugar. The mixture will be grainy. Add one egg at a time, whisking each egg into the batter.

Add the chai spice mixture, vanilla, and salt to the batter and mix thoroughly.

Add flour (or GF flour + xantham gum) to batter and mix thoroughly.

Pour batter into pan and spread evenly, smoothing top. Sprinkle cacao nibs across the top. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until top has a dull finish and a tester comes out smoothly. Cool on a rack.