This Welsh spring weather is proving to be a real misery. Rainy, cold and dreary its left me feeling uninspired, lethargic, unmotivated and in need of a quick kick. What better than a heady blend of pleasure inducing ingredients all rolled into one rich, moist, sticky chocolate brownie.
This is not a brownie for the kids mind; in fact it is a decidedly grown up brownie and uses not one, but four reportedly aphrodisiac ingredients. A wickedly decadent combination of chilli, chocolate, stem ginger and cranberries. I guessed that would wake me up and put a spring in my step!
Chilli is a fantastic waker-upper. It’s an anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic ingredient that gives you a real zing as it releases natural endorphins in the brain.
Chocolate also has a long-standing reputation as a natural aphrodisiac. The Mayans apparently used cacao beans to pay prostitutes and of course they were the first to use chocolate in a drink, often with a pinch of chilli added (read more on eat something sexy a blog all about..well eating sexy foods!). When we consume chocolate the chemical phenylethylamine which it contains, acts on serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for feelings of happiness and wellbeing. So when you hear people say chocolate is better than sex? Well it does work in a similar way and both make you feel good!
Ginger is a another ingredient that works on our serotonin levels, primarily the circulatory system and acting as a natural antiemetic. My other half swears by ginger and claims he feels better (generally) after eating it.
Cranberries, while high in antioxidants, are more likely to keep your urinary tract in good working order than take you to the heights of pleasure and passion. Having said this they do contain plenty of vitamin A & C, both of which act on the areas responsible for sexual activity and reproduction. Hopefully then the tiny sweet-sour berries really do help you keep your pecker up (so to speak!).
In this recipe added stem ginger and sour-sweet berries hide within the squidgy chocolate centre and make a pleasant little surprise and perfect counterbalance for the rich chocolate and chilli. If you’re not keen on cranberries you could try cherries (as Jamie Oliver does in his brownie recipe here) or even the original “happy berry”, the goji berry.
100g Montezuma chilli chocolate & 150g Green and Blacks dark chocolate (or use 250g of Montezuma if you fancy a bigger kick)
250g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
4 tablespoons Green & Blacks cocoa powder
4 tablespoons self-raising flour
2 chunks of finely chopped stem ginger plus 1 tablespoon of the syrup
4 medium eggs
125g dried ready to eat cranberries, goji berries or cherries
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees C. Line and grease a baking tray.
Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl in the oven to melt. Mix sugar, cocoa, flour, a pinch of sea salt and the finely chopped ginger in a bowl and mix together.
When the chocolate has melted, remove from the oven and give it a stir. Leave it to cool for a few minutes before pouring into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Break the eggs into the bowl one by one and thoroughly combine everything. Finally stir in the berries or cherries and the tablespoon of ginger syrup.
Spoon on to the baking tray smoothing the top with a spatula until it is flat and even then bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until set, but not over done. Mark out squares and leave to cool for as long as you can bear the temptation…then tuck in. I guarantee you will be smiling and bouncing again…as long as you don’t over do it!