Introduction: Krampus Brownies
Krampus is Santa Claus's nastier half, depending on interpretation of folklore. He is a horned, goat hoofed, creature who takes the bad children away on Christmas night, leaving a lump coal behind, and then proceeds to either beat/whip or eat the bad children. Again this all depends on who to interprets the folklore.
So per say one has a nasty child, who horrible though they are one doesn't want them to be taken away and eaten. How do you compensate the Krampus beast? Well you leave cookies for Santa, you leave these brownies for Krampus.
These brownies are black due to special dark cocoa, like the coal Krampus leaves behind. Hot and spicy like the place he comes from and is also known to drag bad children to. Lastly these brownies are made with lard instead of butter. To better emulate the taste of meat and satisfy the Krampus before he eats one's nasty child.
Step 1: Acquire LARD!
Depending on where you are this might be easier said than done. I live in a liberal health conscious city and therefore the acquisition of lard was not the easiest. Lard got a load of bad marketing a while back and has yet to recover. Lard is making a comeback though as food scientists are starting to say that it MAY be healthier than butter due the unsaturated to saturated fat ratio.
Actually your large grocery store probably does sell lard. It's just that it's probably the Morrell Snow Cap Lard you see above. It is definitely lard and it will definitely work, HOWEVER it is hydrogenated.
Whether or not lard is healthier than butter is something I don't think I'll ever known for sure. The one thing I know for sure is that Trans Fats appear to kill people. Whenever something is hydrogenated it means that trans fats have been added. So if you see lard in your grocery store be suspicious and check that labeling!
Now my urge for you to check labeling is more about you knowing what you're eating. Given that there is only 4-6 ounces of lard in this whole recipe I'm not sure you would be getting enough trans fat in 1-2 servings to make a difference. And unfortunately the hydrogenated kind is the cheapest at 1.99 for 16 ounces. So you might just accept that it's bad for you, and no matter what kind of fat you use it is, and not make it very often.
You can find non hydrogenated lard from farmers markets, maybe in some grocery stores, you can also check mexican grocery stores. Each source varies in price, because I didn't have luck at any of the above places I ended up going with Amazon. You really can find everything there, however it is 15 dollars for 12 ounces. That is leaf lard which is cheaper and has less of a pig flavor. You can also use normal lard from the same farm it is 16 dollars for 12 ounces and has more pig flavor.
The last source requires a bit of elbow grease and still money. You can buy two pounds of American Style bacon and render the lard out to use. Depending on how clean you get the fat the less bacon taste you will have the final recipe. King of Random actually has a great tutorial on how to render lard from bacon available here. This method is also pricey not to mention time consuming.
Step 2: Gather Ingredients and Equipment!
1.4-6 ounces of lard by weight, the more lard the more fudge like the brownie is.
2. 1 Tablespoon of Chili Flakes
3. 1 and 1/2 Cups of Special Dark Hershey's Cocoa Powder, if you use norma cocoa powder they will not turn out black and the taste will be less dark.
4. 1 Cup of sugar
5. 1/2 Cup of flour
6. 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
7. 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
8. 4 eggs
1. Large Bowl
3. Fine strainer or sieve
4. Small pot
5. 8 inch by 8 inch square baking pan
6. Large Spatula, also in some places known as a Scraper.
Step 3: Melt the Lard!
Once you decide your lard amount take it out of your container and put it into your small pot. I approximate the amount based on the container because the amount is based on weight. So for the 12 ounce container of organic lard I take out either a third or half depending on how fudge like I want the brownie. I like both versions of the brownie and I made both in my testings.
Once in your small pot add 1 tablespoon of chili flakes and put on to medium heat until the lard is completely melted. Then take the pot off the heat and set a timer for 10 minutes. You can leave the lard for quite a while and it will still be liquid but you HAVE to wait at least 10 minutes for the spicy lard to be cool enough to not scramble the eggs. Trust me you don't want scrambled eggs sitting in greasy partial brownie batter, it is nasty.
I like 1 Tablespoon of chili flakes. It give a low burn that you absolutely feel, but it's enjoyable to me. It also keeps me from eating the brownie too fast as the more you consume in the less amount of time the stronger the burn is when it hits.
Now I'm little bit of wimp when it comes to spicy levels. I don't do hot sauce, but I have plenty of wasabi on sushi, put chinese mustard on everything, and love REALLY fresh horseradish. So I like burn but not a TON. Feel free to add more chili flakes depending on how spicy you like your food.
If you don't like spicy necessarily but still want to try this brownie I recommend trying a 1 Teaspoon in your brownie recipe at first and then moving up from there. 1 Teaspoon allows for a little bit of heat to hit in the back of your mouth and throat without a real BURNING sensation.
Step 4: Grease and Flour Your Pan
Now you can use any kind of solid fat (butter, lard, refined coconut oil) you like to grease your pan. I used butter because I have a small piece that hangs out in fridge specifically for the purpose of greasing things: pots, pans, and griddles. Make sure you get a good coat of butter and then throw in a handful of flour.
Then shake and tap the pan so that all of the grease is covered in flour. I have yet to figure out how to do this without making a mess, if you know a hack let me know by then make an awesome instructable on it.
Set the pan aside and set your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5: Whip It Real Good
Crack your four eggs into a large bowl then take your whisk and get to work. You want to whisk those eggs until they are a light yellow and frothy. The best way of telling if they are thoroughly whisked is the sound. When you first start the eggs will sound like liquid sloshing around. Once whisked if you listen carefully you will hear a different sound. The best description in my opinion is the eggs will start to sound like two pillows being dropped on top of each other, kind of a "poff" sound.
You might be saying, but MsSweet I don't have a electric mixer or kitchen aid. Well neither do I, and so to all the hand whiskers out there I say this: We get to eat more brownies with less guilt! Calories were burned in the making of this dish!
Step 6: Gently Add the Dry Stuff
Add your 1 Cup of sugar, 1 Cup of Flour, 1 1/2 Cup of Special Dark Cocoa, 1/2 Teaspoon of salt. Lastly add your 1 Teaspoon of cinnamon, perhaps using your Jack Skellington Measuring Spoons?
Now I like the combination of cinnamon and chocolate, but I know not everyone does. The point of this spice is to act as a bridge between the chili and chocolate so that the transition is pretty smooth. Many aromatic spices with only a little bit of heat works beautifully, my favorite is cinnamon, but ginger and cloves work great as well. Anything that gives you the mouth tingles but not the full on burn, and of course sounds good with chocolate.
Step 7: Add Your Spicy Lard
You have allowed your spicy lard to cool for at least 10 minutes, right? Like seriously scrambled eggs in partial brownie batter is disgusting TRUST me.
Anyway put your fine mesh sieve over your bowl and pour your spicy lard in. You can add the chili flakes you if you like and skip the whole straining process. The difference is that certain patches in the brownies will have a more sudden burst of heat as opposed to an even low burn being present throughout the entirety of each serving.
If you do strain the lard be sure to take your spatula/scraper and press as much of the grease out of the chili flakes as you can. You want every last drop of that delicious flavored fat in the batter!
Step 8: Mix It Up!
Using your spatula/scraper mix that batter up. Now if you made the brownies with 4 ounces of lard it may look like there's not enough liquid and it just won't combine. Keep going, I promise there's enough liquid. The above batch is made with just 4 ounces of lard and look it all combined eventually. It will no matter what be pretty thick so use those strong whisking arms and burn off some more calories!
Step 9: Drop and Spread
Using your spatula/scrap get as much of the batter out of the bowl and into the pan. Then using the same tool gently spread the batter out so that it's just touching the sides of pan. If you use only 4 ounces this batter will be thick and you will have to use some pressure to get this batter even in the pan.
Step 10: Apply Heat!
Throw your brownies into a 300 degree farenheit for 30 minutes. Or until the top has set and nothing gooey clings to a knife or skewer when inserted in the middle. Don't mistake crumbs for gooey batter or else you will over cook your brownies.
Step 11: Appease the Krampus!
My friend made me a quick stencil of Krampus's head and then added his eyes and long tongue using strawberry jelly. The flavor mixed oddly well with the spicy dark brownie. If you want a similar stencil I recommend just drawing a long head with pointy ears and long horns. I can't tell if mine looks like Krampus or like a bunny...
Either way a tall lean furry creature consumed the brownie in a flash and then proceeded to find the pan with the rest of the brownies and eat them as well.
Upon interviewing said creature he said the brownies were delicious. The taste is dark with just a enough sweetness to compliment the chocolate flavor. He considered them pleasantly heavy feeling both in mouth and his stomach, a very satisfying substitute for flesh. Then he felt his mouth warming with an aromatic favor of cinnamon and then in the back of his throat a nice burning sensation started. The burning stayed with him in the back of his mouth for at least 5 seconds after her swallowed. Which he found lovely.
Now the tall lean furry creature lives with me so he didn't leave. But given his glowing reviews I could definitely see a happy Krampus leaving with a pan full of brownies instead of said bratty child.
Step 12: MsSweet, I'm Not Cooking With LARD!
Oh fine, spoil my fun. You can make these with butter. Substitute the 4-6 ounces by weight of lard for 8 ounces of butter by volume. However if you like the idea of using less fat but not lard you can actually put in 4 ounces of butter, your brownie will just have a less fudge texture.
Or you can even make these with REFINED coconut oil, you want 6 ounces by volume. In case you don't want any dairy but at the same time no lard. Sorry no ideas for how to make these vegan, the eggs are pretty important and tasty. Perhaps ask thevegetarianbaker.
Wondering why I know so much about the different fats you can use in this recipe? Well I just tried them all... I knew my immunocytochemistry skills would come in handy some day! For those that don't know, that means I spent time developing ways to get the results that were wanted in various laboratories. That meant a lot of trial and error, and notes. SO many notes.
Step 13: Now Go Make Them!
I hope you enjoy these brownies, or at the very least my silly instructable. They are very dark, which I love a lot, and due to the chili flakes they leave you feeling warm, perfect for the season in my opinion.
Another friend suggested making some bacon cracking it up and sprinkling it on top so as to give a crunchy top. I, as stated before, am not a huge fan of bacon, and not a fan of crunchy brownies. That's right no nuts, chili flakes, or bacon in my brownies. But if others try it I imagine it is quite tasty!
If you make these brownies I want to see it! The first 10 people who post pictures of their brownies, preferably either with you in costume or with decorations, get 3 months of PRO membership! 9/10 3 month PRO memberships are still left!