March 31st. Last day of the month. Last Monday of the month. It can only mean one thing: it’s a food blog party, The Secret Recipe Club Reveal Day!  I knew that March was going to be a particularly busy month, with a trip abroad followed by Spring Break, which for us has little to do with a break, quite the contrary.  We profit from the fact that the students don’t have classes or TA duties to set the accelerator on experiments. So, I jumped on the assignment right away, and that was a good move because my secret blog, Healthy Delicious has been around for a long, long time!  Talk about a veteran food blogger, that is Lauren defined to a T. She is a recipe developer and food photographer, most of her recipes take less than 40 minutes to prepare, and are in perfect tune with her site’s name: healthy and delicious! 😉

I was having my share of secret fun bookmarking many options, but then I stumbled on her post on Chai Brownies and noticed the date of its publication. March 11th, 2007.  I know well a person who was born on March 11th.  No, not 2007, but who cares?  A few years here, a few there, compared to the time since the Big Bang, it’s a blink of an eye.  I looked no further.

Still, let me share with  you some of the other recipes I had in mind: Prosciutto and Artichoke Quiche (oh, my!), Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas (check this recipe out, very nice interpretation of a classic), Lamb Meatballs in Cumin Scented Sauce over Spaghetti Squash (I must make this soon), Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pecans and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce , Mussels in Saffron Tomato Sauce (simple and irresistible), and her Lemon Chicken Soup with Tortellini.  But there’s a lot more, as you might imagine from a food blog that has been around for seven years!

And, before I move to the recipe, take a look at Dorothy’s site, Shocklingly Delicious, to see which recipe she chose from my blog (one of my favorite cakes ever and the most popular recipe of BK last year). She wrote such a wonderful post about it, I cannot stop smiling…. Thank you, Dorothy!

(slightly modified from Healthy Delicious)
for spice mixture:
1/4 cup low-fat milk
a dash of cardamom
3 whole allspice
a dash of cinnamon
3 cloves
for brownie batter:
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 + 1/2 cup  flour
3/4  cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Add the ingredients for the spice mixture to a pot and bring to a quick boil. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain into a large microwave safe bowl.

To the bowl of chai, add butter and chocolate. Microwave about 30 seconds until melted. Stir until smooth. Let cool for a minute. Add egg.  Sift in remaining dry ingredients and mix until it forms a stiff batter.

Bake in a Pyrex dish sprayed with oil, about 25 minutes until set. Let cool, and cut into pieces.


to print the recipe, click here

Language pet-peeve alert! Language pet-peeve alert! 😉

In the United States,  chai often describes what should be instead called masala:  a mixture of spices such as cardamon, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, that can be used to brew black tea, creating masala chai. By itself, “chai” is a word that means tea, and has its origins in Chinese. Interestingly enough, it is the same word used in Portuguese – chá –  although the pronunciation is slightly different in both languages.

I love the flavors normally associated with masala chai, and thought that the marriage of a good old-fashioned chocolate brownie with such warm spices would be perfect. And perfect it was!

I did not have whole allspice berries in my pantry, but decided it was worth getting a jar, so now I am the proud owner of two allspice products, one whole, one ground.  Gotta put them to good use before they lose their punch.

These brownies brought a lot of excitement to a cloudy and cold Monday morning in our department.  I loved the delicate flavor of cardamon in the background, and the texture of the cake, with a crackled surface was wonderful too.

Lauren, it was great to get to know your blog better, and I urge my readers to stop by her site and browse through, particularly if you like to see recipes that are lightened up without loss of flavor.

For those interested in joining our virtual monthly party, click on the crazy-looking amphibian smiling at the end of this post.

ONE YEAR AGO:  A Small Tribute to a Big Man

TWO YEARS AGO: Still got stout?

THREE YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: Spring Rolls on a Spring Day


    • I love it when a blog I am stalking has so many options tempting me… for some reason, I almost always go for sweets, which is odd, since we tend to almost never eat sweets. I guess the department folks don’t mind…;-)


  1. There is an appalling lack of brownies in my house right now, which I can soon remedy with this recipe. Well done! And thank you for the shout out about my post on your apple cake. Truly one of my new faves. I am wearing out my Springform pan baking it repeatedly. Love being in SRC with you, Sally!


  2. What a great idea!! Love chai but would have never thought to use this flavour combination in brownies (not sure why…) — I’ve used it in puddings, mousses and all kinds of things, just seems natural to have it in chocolate too😉. Bet these brownie delights would bring a lot of excitement any day of the week🙂.


  3. Hello Sally, I love the idea of chai brownies! I always add cinnamon and cardamom to any chocolate recipe, they add a nice warm depth of flavor.
    As for chai, the Arabic word for tea is shai but it means plain tea. Spiced tea here is called Adani tea because it is popular in Adan in Yemen


    • I love to learn bits and pieces of any language – Adani tea, how beautiful! Well, I think the “chai” thing in the US is a losing battle. Once Starbucks started callling it wrong, everyone will happily use it wrong too 😉


    • Glad to see I am not the only one having fun with the “Tea Tea” – but, as I replied to Sawsan, it is a losing battle. I fought similar battles already, like using “hamburger” as interchangeable with “ground beef” – boy, that makes me mad. It is NOT hamburger unless you shape it into patties! Don’t tell me you will buy “hamburger” if you intend to buy ground beef…. 🙂 See? I am a pain to be around….


  4. Oh, I’m so pleased you called the misuse of chai thing – it’s one of my pet peeves too. That said, I love the idea of the masala spices in these brownies – I actually never would have thought of that, but when you think about it those flavours are perfect with chocolate. A cuppa chai on the side would be alright too🙂


  5. Oh my. Now if only I had a big cup of coffee and one of these brownies beside me. I would be in Heaven! They look so good Sally. I’m sure your department was thrilled! Thank you for sharing all that you do with us🙂


    • Well, Dorothy is the one who did a wonderful, super sweet post about my blog…. she is a very active and major participant of the Secret Recipe Club, I am so happy she got my blog this month, made me feel great!


  6. I am so far out of the loop, Sally. I’ve never used quinoa nor have I prepared chai anything. I haven’t even been to THAT coffee shop for a chai tea. I did make something with chia seeds, though, so there’s still hope for me — I hope. These brownies do look good and it’s easy to see why you’d choose them for your post. I may be out of the loop but this is my lucky day. I get a great brownie recipe and a new blog to check out. Not bad, eh? Thanks, Sally.


    • John, that chia seed thing made me laugh….. I understand it so well, each year it seems that one ingredient it “in”, and if you don’t cook with it, you are “out”.

      Heck, I don’t follow any rules, I cook what I like to eat, and as far as healthy stuff goes, I think I’m doing just fine, thank you 😉 😉 😉 😉


  7. Lauren and I have hung out on a number of occasions, and she is great! As is her food.🙂 I haven’t made these brownies of hers, but they are moving up on the to-do list! Your pet peeve with “chai” reminds me of my old roommate’s pet peeve with “curry”, which really just means sauce. It drove her crazy when I said I was making curry because it’s not really a specific thing.


    • Ok, now you got me with the curry… have I been using it wrong for all these years? That REALLY bothers me…. off to google and some intense soul searching of the gastronomic kind….😉


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