These rich and chocolaty brownies have a spicy ribbon of cream cheese and cayenne. A little fire and a lot of chocolate!
When I first created this recipe four years ago, it was during the Blogging From A to Z blogfest for which I created a recipe for every letter of the alphabet. To fill the slot for the letter "X" I named the brownies "Xocolatl en Fuego Brownies" - meaning chocolate on fire!
Xocolatl (pronounced “joe-co-LA-til” and thanks to my son for transcribing the pronunciation for me!) is the word for "chocolate" from an ancient Mexican/Aztec language called Nahuatl.
This, combined with the Aztec history of consuming cocoa drinks infused with chili peppers gave me all the justification I needed to name these spicy chocolate brownies Xocolatl En Fuego. Thank goodness too, because finding recipes for the letter "X" is more difficult than you may think!
Though it no longer has the xocolatl as part of its name, these brownies are still rich, chocolaty and pack some slow-building heat!
If you have never made brownies from scratch before I think you will be amazed at how easy it is, and the spicy-decadent flavor is worth experiencing any time of the year.
Bake them up! Once they're cool, cut yourself a slice, sit back and enjoy the deep chocolate flavor followed by a spicy tingle on your tongue as the cayenne fights its way to your taste buds!
Have you made these spicy brownies? Gimme your feedback: click the stars to rate this recipe and leave a comment for me below.
Spicy Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
- 5 large eggs, divided
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Make the brownie batter:
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Spray the bottoms and sides of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso and salt. Set aside.
- Mix together the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix in 3 teaspoons of the vanilla extract. Add in 4 of the eggs, mixing after each egg is added. With the mixer running on low, slowly add in the dry mixture. Once the dry ingredients are mixed in, increase the speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes.
Make the cream cheese layer:
- Have a separate medium-sized bowl ready. Add to this the remaining teaspoon of vanilla, the remaining egg, the softened cream cheese, confectioner's sugar and cayenne pepper. Beat the ingredients together until it is smooth.
Assemble the brownies:
- Pour half of the chocolate batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon all of the cream cheese mixture over this in an even layer. Top this layer with the rest of the chocolate batter. Pull a rubber spatula through the layers to create swirls of cream cheese batter in the chocolate.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. It should be baked through with the center just set - a tester inserted into the center should come out with a few crumbs.
- Place the pan on a cooling rack and let the brownies cool for about 30 minutes before slicing.
- Slice the brownies and enjoy. They can be stored tightly wrapped for up to three days. Makes 24 brownies.
Originally published in 2014. Recipe and post updated 2/6/20.