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Brownies & Bars

Dirty Chai Brownies

4.67 from 6 votes
If you’re looking to step up your brownie game, this dirty chai brownies recipe is the way to go! They are rich, decadent, and fudgy, but with a slightly unique twist.
Dirty Chai Brownies stacked and topped with ice cream.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

NOTE FROM GEMMA: Welcome Vedika back for another one of her incredible recipes! She’s going to teach you how to make her incredibly decadent and fudgy Dirty Chai Brownies. Here she is:

If you’ve taken a train in India, you may know of the chaiwala, or tea seller. As he walks down the train aisle, he calls out, ‘tea, hot tea!’ What he pours out into small paper cups is a brew of steaming golden liquid. It’s a sweet, milky black tea infused with fresh spices: ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper, that warm every cell. 

It tastes like home. 

Brownie Recipe Must-Haves

When it comes to brownie recipes, this one has it all — everything that I consider to make a perfect brownie. Here’s what you can expect:

Crackly Top: It is universally acknowledged that a good brownie must have a crackly top. In this recipe, I found that beating the eggs with the sugar until the sugar has mostly dissolved is the perfect way to go about this.

Rich Chocolate Flavor: I use a combination of cocoa powder and chocolate for a luxuriously rich chocolate taste.

Add-Ins: of nuts and chocolate take these to the next level. Nuts add a nice crunch, and the chocolate adds a burst of gooey, melty goodness.

Fudginess: A lack of leavening agents and a small amount of flour keeps these brownies fudgy instead of cakey. You’ll also want to bake these till just cooked, any longer and these will be more on the cakey side. You want fudgy brownies.

What Is Dirty Chai?

The spices that go into chai are versatile. They are key components of Indian curries, but can some of the flavors are also present in our mithai or sweet recipes. And you might recognize quite a few from your own pantry: Cinnamon, cloves, and ginger frequently used in Western desserts, such as pumpkin pie or carrot cake. They are warm, sweet and have the ability to make other flavors shine. 

Cardamom — which may be slightly new to you — is one of my favorites. It’s an ingredient for several recipes in my new cookbook, 52 Weeks, 52 Sweets, and I’ve even added it to my favorite blueberry muffins. 

If you’ve never sampled cardamom, its flavor profile is slightly similar to cinnamon in that it is warm, and its aroma is sweet. Unlike cinnamon, it reminds me of fresh flowers and it’s not quite as sharp when you sample it by itself. I love to add it to my coffee. 

I was introduced to ‘dirty chai’ in the Netherlands. Essentially, it’s coffee… but with more complex undertones. 

A grid of brownies.

Why Add Dirty Chai Flavors To Brownies 

Coffee and chocolate is a delicious pairing: the earthy, bitter undertone of coffee does magic for chocolate. And since chai spices have been used in other desserts, I thought, ‘why not?’

When developing this recipe, I wanted a brownie that was rich, fudgy, and full of chocolate, with that crackly layer on top, but one that left a beautiful, warm aftertaste – the kind you get when you drink a nice, hot cup of chai. The kind that lingers ever so slightly, evoking reactions of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ that all good desserts get. 

I chose to use the spices and coffee flavors only, as opposed to adding tea leaves (I felt that the flavor of tea wouldn’t come through because of the intensity of the chocolate). I also wanted the right balance of spices: nothing too powerful: subtle but present. Instead of using fresh spices, I opted for dried ones, because I wanted the texture of the brownie batter to be smooth, and the spices to be accessible. Further, I chose to omit the black pepper that is often added to chai, because I felt like that would be venturing a bit too far out of my comfort zone (although feel free to add a pinch if you like!). 

What You Need To Make Dirty Chai Brownies

This is an elevated brownie, and with that comes some extra ingredients. Make sure you have them on hand before you start!

Ingredients

  • Spices. Since these are dirty chai brownies, you’ll need ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, and ground cloves. Now. If you don’t feel comfortable adding all the spices, add the ones you like. You’ll still have a slightly more complex flavor in the brownies.
  • Instant espresso powder. I add this to any recipe with chocolate in any case. You don’t need a lot, just a little bit. But if you don’t want to add any in, just omit it.
  • Chocolate. This recipe calls for both, chocolate and cocoa powder in the batter, and flecks of chocolate that will be folded in later on. Use good quality chocolate, because you really taste it. I use around 65% cacao solids for the batter, and milk chocolate for the bits that are folded through. You can use a stronger variety for a more pronounced chocolate flavor.  
  • Salt. It helps bring all the flavors together and balances the flavors.
  • Flour. Not a lot, just a little bit to keep everything together. 
  • Eggs. These give the brownies volume and work with the sugar to give you that crackly top.
  • Sugar. I use demerara sugar, which is raw brown sugar. Use granulated sugar instead, if you like.
  • Nuts. I like walnuts, pecans are great. Nuts are not necessary but they add a nice crunch. 

Tools

Simple tools for a simple recipe.

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • A bowl and a whisk
  • A stand or electric mixer (if you don’t want to do it by hand, but I like to!)
  • A 9in square baking pan

A stack of dirty chai brownies.

The Hardest Part Of Making These Brownies

If you’re going to be using an electric or stand mixer, you can ignore this section altogether! Nothing is essentially hard or difficult about this recipe, but if you’re going to be whisking the eggs and sugar by hand, just be prepared to do it for upwards of 10 minutes. I like to do it as it gives me complete control and a feel for the process, but there’s no shame in going electric! Watch the video below to get a look at the entire process.

And without further ado, get the recipe down below!

Make More Brownies!

If you like my Dirty Chai Brownies, you’re going to love Gemma’s.

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Watch The Recipe Video!

Dirty Chai Brownies Recipe

4.67 from 6 votes
If you’re looking to step up your brownie game, this dirty chai brownies recipe is the way to go! They are rich, decadent, and fudgy!
Author: Vedika Luthra
Servings: 12 brownies
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
If you’re looking to step up your brownie game, this dirty chai brownies recipe is the way to go! They are rich, decadent, and fudgy!
Author: Vedika Luthra
Servings: 12 brownies

Ingredients

  • cup (3oz /85g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1.4oz/40g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (6.5 oz/185g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (6.5 oz /185g) dark (bittersweet) chocolate, at least 65% cacao solids, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cups (9.7 oz /275g ) sugar, demerara or granulated
  • cup (3.5 oz/100g) milk chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips
  • ½ cup (1.8 oz /50g) walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
  • Ice cream and/or chocolate sauce to serve

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 9 inch (22 cm) square baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Combine the flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and salt, stirring gently till everything is incorporated.
  • In a small saucepan, add the dark chocolate and butter. Place over very low heat, stirring slowly but constantly until the chocolate has melted completely. You can also do this step in the microwave: place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl, then place in the microwave stirring after every 30 seconds until the two have melted and are homogenous. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, add the eggs and sugar. Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the eggs till they are pale, fluffy and more than double in volume. If you lift the beaters, the eggs should fall in a ribbon, and you’ll be able to see the ribbon for 2-3 seconds before it merges with the rest of the batter. This step is crucial, as you want the sugar to dissolve so that you get that crackly top. It takes about 10-15 min by hand, and 5-10 minutes using an electric beater.
  • Gently fold or whisk the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture, till just combined.
  • Next, fold in the dry ingredients, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, till everything is incorporated. Folding the ingredients helps retain the volume of the batter, which gives the brownies a bit of height.
  • Finally, fold in the chopped chocolate and nuts.
  • Pour into the prepared baking pan, spreading it out to all the corners.
  • Bake for 23-25 min or until a toothpick comes out clean, perhaps with a few damp crumbs (careful not to pierce one of the chocolate pieces).
  • Let the brownies cool for around 20 minutes at least, before cutting. Chilling the brownies in the fridge makes these easier to cut as well, but I love warm brownies.
  • Serve as they are, or with some ice cream and chocolate sauce. Store leftovers, covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Storing: These last up to a week if sealed and stored properly.
*Replace the milk chocolate with dark chocolate or white chocolate if you prefer.
*If you prefer to omit the spices, feel free to do so, you’ll still get a super delicious brownie.
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stephanie ledford
stephanie ledford
5 months ago

There is an error in the directions for this recipe. It says beat eggs and butter and beat until ribbons. I think it should read beat eggs and sugar until it ribbons. Because you melt the butter and chocolate together in the 1st step.

Bee
Bee
5 months ago

Hi ya. Just to clarify, Chai is not Indian spice. It’s Indian name for Black tea brewed with milk for a while to extract maximum taste of black tea.
However, in Indian hot drinks variation, spices are added to Chai(tea) aka Masala(Spice) Chai(tea).
I thought that the recipient has used Chai (black tea).

Dawn Seow
Dawn Seow
1 month ago

I left a comment earlier but it must have gotten lost! Retyping it. Living in singapore, which is in south east asia, indian cuisine and masala chai tea is easily available..so was really intrigued to see how it works in a classic american dessert. I used brown sugar instead of white as I like the caramelly notes it brings. The brownies were deliciously fudgey, with a warm earthy taste in the background. Tastes great warm with vanilla ice cream, or my personal preference – just out of the fridge when its cold and fudgey! I’ve also posted a pic, hope… Read more »

Dawn Seow
Dawn Seow
1 month ago

Was v curious to try this out as I live in Singapore, which is in south east asia so indian cuisine is really common here. It indeed has a chai-inspired flavour! It’s fudgey with a subtle warming and earthy taste in the background. I used brown sugar instead as I prefer the moistness and caramelly notes it tends to bring to brownies. Can eat it warm with a scoop of ice cream, or my personal preference – pop it in the fridge so it is cold and fudgey! Will submit a pic, hope it would encourage more people to try… Read more »

Asma mughal
Asma mughal
5 months ago

Ooh these look interesting just wondering if we Can we make Blondies out of these instead of brownies ? Thanks for another inspiring recipe Gemma!!

Retired baker Dude
Retired baker Dude
5 months ago

Death by chocolate!! By the way, the error that the previous commenter pointed out (beat eggs and butter, instead of saying eggs and sugar) still shows up incorrectly when you print the recipe. Delicious whatever you want to call them!

Lynda Patsalos
Lynda Patsalos
5 months ago

Dont mean to be mean n i like her recipes but honestly the pics of “diry brownies n blondes” does not look appetizing at all. Would not make me want to make or serve them like that nor eat them. A brownie with a scoop of ice cream would have made for a mouth watering desert. Sorry

mandy
mandy
5 months ago

Omg I cannot wait to try this recipe! I was just wondering, is the oven fan assisted, or not? Thank you 🙂

Mary Jo
Mary Jo
5 months ago

This recipe looks awesome and I can’t wait to try it, but where do I find instant espresso powder?

Kalpesh
Kalpesh
5 months ago

Yum. Will make them over the weekend. thank you.

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Dawn Seow

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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