Five Spice Molasses Brownies

These brownies are not for the faint of heart.

Is there ever a bad time for a brownie? These decadent treats take the traditional dessert to a new level with Chinese five spice, molasses, and sweet potato puree; the result is richly layered spice flavor in familiarly chewy form. These smell like caramelized autumn. They taste like a dinner date with Michael B. Jordan in Ibiza. They are luscious, moist, and wildly fragrant; I want to put one in every empty hand.

Chinese five spice powder is a staple of East Asian cuisine that combines star anise, clove, fennel, cinnamon and Szechuan peppercorn. Different varieties can also include nutmeg and ginger. It can be used in savory dishes like Peking duck, a spiced whiskey sour, or in delectable brownies like the ones I’ve made here. I’m going to be using a ton of it this fall- tofu stir-fry and spiced banana bread are just a few things that come to mind!

My niece was born very early this morning and she couldn’t be more beautiful. Holding her felt like holding everything good about life. Days like this are overflowing with love. They are rare and make you want to savor every sweetness. Counting down the days until I can make these with her. Share this sweetness with someone you love and let me know how it goes!

Five Spice Molasses Brownies

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4-5 tbsps Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tbsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 large sweet potato (baked)
  • large pinch salt

Topping

  • half of standard dark chocolate bar
  • 3 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • dash cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash or puree baked sweet potato. Combine with coconut oil, sugar, molasses, and eggs. Combine all dry ingredients and add slowly to egg mixture. Mix batter just until no flour is visible. Lumps are okay. Pour batter into greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 40-45 mins or until center is firm but springy (skewer will emerge with moist crumbs).

To make topping, add all ingredients except cinnamon in a saucepan on very low heat. Add cinnamon when chocolate is fully melted. Pour over cooled brownie and spread thin. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar for a finishing touch.

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