I was flipping through the fig section of one of my favorite cookbooks the other day, Yossi Arefi's Sweeter Off The Vine, looking for fig inspiration. I came across her recipe for soft chocolate cake with figs and I pondered the combination of figs and chocolate for a moment. I'd never tried it but it sounded different and interesting in the best way so I thought about a brownie. Turns out the combo is incredible.
These brownies in particular are quite fudgy and rich themselves due to the high level of chocolate to flour ratio, which is the ideal brownie if you ask me. The chewy figs with their soft sweetness complement the chocolate really well and their flavor intensifies in the oven. The dukkah sprinkles are a fun and unexpected addition and really add a lot to the brownies. Dukkah, if you're not familiar is a Middle-Eastern spice blend most commonly used in savory dishes but I've made a sweet variation here. Dukkahs usually have a mix of toasted nuts and seeds and plenty of aromatic spices. The dukkah recipe makes a good amount so I've been sprinkling the leftovers on yogurt and it's so good! The aroma alone is enough to draw you in but the complex flavor is both cozy and familiar and exotic and new. It's super easy to put together, too and feel free to adapt it. I know most of you probably don't have dried edible rose petals lying around so feel free to put in whatever spices and additions you'd like. Don't like pistachios? Try hazelnuts! Use clove or anise instead of cardamom. Experiment and make it your own!
Figgy Brownies With Cacao Nib + Rose Dukkah Sprinkles
makes 16 brownies
12 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I'd recommend 60% or darker)
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 eggs, room temperature
1 T instant espresso powder
2 t vanilla extract
3/4 c organic cane sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t Himalayan pink salt
10-15 figs, washed and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 c shelled pistachio, toasted and finely chopped
1/4 c white sesame seeds
1/4 c cacao nibs
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cardamom
1 t fennel seeds
1 t coriander seeds
2 T raw turbinado sugar
2 T dried rose petals (culinary grade)
1/2 t flaky sea salt
make the brownies
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, sugars, and espresso powder together and whisk until smooth. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir to incorporate. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour batter into a parchment-lined quarter sheet pan (or a 9x13 in baking dish works too). Arrange fig slices on top and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. They may still feel a bit squidgy but that's good because these are fudgy brownies! Allow to cool then slice.
make the dukkah
In a skillet over medium heat, add the sesame seeds and cacao nibs and toast until sesame seeds are golden and fragrant. Meanwhile, crush the fennel and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle if you have one, or just place in a resealable bag and give them a good whack with your rolling pin. They don't need to be a fine powder, just roughly crushed. Add the sesame seeds and cacao nibs to a bowl and add the pistachios, cinnamon, cardamom, raw sugar, crushed fennel and coriander seeds, rose petals, and flaky salt. Toss gently to combine. To serve, add a dollop of soft whipped cream or ice cream to a brownie and sprinkle generously with dukkah.