Cayenne, chipotle, black pepper—they’re ingredients you’re more likely to use in dinner than dessert. But then who says desserts are always supposed to be sweet? I mean yeah that’s the whole point of desserts, being sweet. But we love our spicy sweets. A little heat can be just the thing to contrast a cool granita, or play up the dark, earthy flavors of chocolate. Here are 9 spicy sweets we love, from spiced candied popcorns to aji-chipotle chocolate cookies.
Fudgy, Spicy Cinnamon Chile Brownies
A classic brownie style, but it’s anything but monotonous. The classic recipe has been modified to produce a firmer slice with a stronger chocolate flavor, which, while tender from ample butter, isn’t greasy. These brownies are definitely sweet but some salt and plenty of spices balance them.
Chocolate Chili Cookie
These are crunchy chocolate cookies with a dash of spice. The Ancho chili powder adds a subtle, smoky heat that deepens the flavor of the chocolate. Bite into one of these for a little chocolate and chili dance on your taste buds.
The lovechild of brownie and cookie, the brookie has the looks and slight crunchiness of a cookie but is fudgy inside like a brownie. Add some spice to it and you’ve got yourself bite-able Mexican Hot Chocolate.
Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies with Aji and Chipotle
These intense cookies have got two forms of chocolate, two layers of chile, and a fair amount of salt. The cocoa in the dough is highlighted by aji panca, a light and very fruity (almost blueberry-like) chili. There’s also some chipotle sneaked in for richness and a smokiness to contrast the cocoa’s brighter notes.
Spiced Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla has a dark, rich flavor that makes for an extraordinarily sophisticated dessert. The black peppercorns’ spiciness, the black cardamom’s smokiness, and the cinnamon’s earthiness highlight the vanilla bean’s flavor. The vanilla, though, is undoubtedly the star of the show.
Mint & Green Chili Granita
Essentially dry and slushy, granitas are a perfect dessert: light, bright, and ludicrously refreshing and no ingredient captures those qualities better than mint. Green chiles pair quite well with mint. Their spicy kick harmonizes with mint’s bright notes, and the lush flavors bring out mint’s grassy elements.
Hot & Spicy Chocolate Cake
Hot. Sultry. Picante. No, this isn’t a Sofía Vergara-starring hot fantasy; it’s a spicy adaptation of the molten chocolate cake. The lava cake is like any other except for a few extra layers of spice and insinuating heat.
Banana Foster Upside-Down Cake
A slightly spicy spin of the French Quarter classic made into a cake: the Bananas Foster Upside-Down Cake. The caramel is slightly enhanced by chile powder and black pepper in a gooey banana topping on top of a moist banana cake.
Spicy Peanut Caramel Corn
So this one can fill in as a superb movie night snack as well. Especially if you’re watching a thriller. The sweet caramel keeps you going but the sudden spicy cameo startles you like the murderer’s dagger.