Orange-Chile Brownies, My Best Brownies Ever

Aside from a batch  I made in the 60’s, this is hands down my best brownie creation ever.

You happily share recipes don’t you? As food bloggers that’s pretty much what we do. Type them up and throw them out to the world to whomever is looking for a great brownie recipe. They can simply Google it, turn on their oven and share the love.


Have you ever run across someone who flat out refuses to share? Someone that replies “no” so quickly that it literally stops you in your tracks? And even the slightest attempts to negotiate fail?


Years, ago, there was the incident of co-worker, Joan,  who brought in some of the best green chile I’ve ever tasted. An impressive combination of Mexican flavors. She refused to share the recipe. After days and days of  hounding, she finally agreed, only if I signed a contract stating that I wouldn’t give it to anyone else. I didn’t enter into the agreement.


And then there was the case of Office Manager Syd, and her homemade Honey Mustard. Hands down, the BEST Honey Mustard I’ve ever tasted. It’s perfect addition of spicy heat had me clamoring for the recipe only to hear “I don’t share the recipe.”  I spent the next few hours guessing ingredients, each guess greeted with a “smug smile and a “no.”  I could tell that even if I guessed right, she was still going to say “no.”  I’ll never get that recipe.


With all that said I’m sharing my brownie recipe, but do have to admit I considered keeping it top secret… just so I could act smug. After many test batches, I unveiled the brownies back in August at my back deck tapas party. After reading my post and recipes about the party, one of the attendees sent an email which simply read “What about the f#*@*#* brownies?  :)  Let’s take a look.


I’m not a baker and will make no apologies for using a box mix for my recipe. Baking at our high altitude requires adjusting and tinkering and for me can be tedious, if not frustrating. When I retire and have the time,  I promise I’ll learn to bake. For now, I have found that Ghirardelli triple chocolate brownie mix is delightful. It’s a perfect blend of rich chocolate and the high altitude instructions on the box turns out a perfect Colorado brownie.

My additions are simple. Remember those wonderful pure citrus oils that Vickie over at Part Three sent me a few months ago? Boyajian is the brand and I’ve found so many good uses…vinaigrettes mostly. The pure orange oil is my secret ingredient for the brownies. Sprinkled with Znax2go, a salt and chile powder mixture and you’ve got a good combination of flavors. Znax2go , a chilito chile powder can be purchased at Mexican markets or online.


Affectionately referred to as “Fist Fight Brownies”, I’m officially sharing the recipe.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Orange-Chile Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1 Box Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix
  • 2 teaspoons Boyajian Pure Orange Oil
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons Znax 2go Chile Powder Mix
  1. Prepare brownies mix according to the instructions on the box.
  2. To the mixture add 2 teaspoons of the Boyajian Orange Oil and the chopped walnuts.
  3. Blend and bake according to instructions.
  4. Remove from oven. While still hot liberally sprinkle on the Znax 2go Chile Powder Mix.
  5. Gently press the powder onto the top of the brownies.
  6. Let cool then cut into squares and serve.


Chocolate Chile-Orange Brownies…They’re What’s for Dessert!

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  1. says

    You sure have brought together some interesting flavors and I can imagine they are super good. Thanks for sharing your SECRET recipe with us.

    • Lea Ann says

      Make that “top secret” Larry. :) Did I mention you’ll need to return the signed agreement before sharing? :) As you know, I’m not a dessert person, but do love brownies and especially these that end up being a little on the citrusy sasvory side.

  2. says

    I don’t understand why anybody wouldn’t share a recipe. I personally think that people that do that just crave attention. It is not worth asking a second time. But I am a food blogger, so that says it all.
    I know you already assume I will give you a hard time about using a box mix. No, I won’t, since I have to share a secret with you. Please, don’t tell anyone. I have one recipe where I use a box mix. Guess what, sorry, can’t share the recipe. It’s a secret! Sure, I will share it with you. It is a mint flavored Kahlua cake and it asks for a mix of devil food cake and instant chocolate pudding. I just made two for my son’s JV team dinner this week and the boys raved about it. It is also one of my husband’s favorite. There you go. Now it is out.
    Love the addition of the orange oil and the chile powder. I am sure it makes for a wonderful flavor combo together with the rich chocolate taste. May I should try this with my box mix cake, too. Yummy!

  3. Nancy says

    FINALLY!!! LOL!! Having been at the infamous back deck tapas party, I promise you these are truly fist fight brownies… I’m so glad you are sharing the recipe. LOL about the email you received…one of those where I can hear that person saying it (and no, Vickie, it wasn’t me although I wish I’d thought of it first!!)

    • Lea Ann says

      That’s a true compliment when you serve an evening full of good food and the only recipe not posted recieves that “request”. :)

      • Nancy says

        It was an appropriately awesome way to end an awesome meal and evening…and we got to enjoy them for a few days afterwards. Can’t beat that!

  4. says

    I had some fabulous shortbread cookies once that the owner of a Wild Bird Center had put out for customers for the holidays. I asked if I could please have the recipe. NO. Wait, what? Adamant almost rude NO, I never share recipes.

    I decided not to share my money and went to a different store for sunflower seeds…funny how I never forgot how downright rude they were…and to someone who was going to buy something from them. Don’t they know sharing is caring? :)

    I have a cake like Kirsten’s; something about cake mixes and pudding that seems to make it all better. It’s a rum cake I make over the holidays and I once thought to try and make it from scratch and reconsidered…there is nothing wrong with us using something that works; it does not make us Sandra Lee.

    My hot nuts and your hot brownies…quite the pair I would say!

  5. says

    One of my husband’s step-mothers was the best home cook we ever knew, but definitely would not share her recipes even if you begged. She didn’t even offer an agreement, or we would have signed. I out-foxed her one time and found her “secret” zucchini clam chowder and now we affectionately call it Wanda’s Zucchini Clam Chowder.

    The ingredients in your brownies sound so exotic and I love those little oils Vicki sent you. What a good friend. Makes up for those ahum…other one’s… that don’t share. Thank you Lea Ann for sharing your brownie recipe with us. My signed agreement is in the mail.

  6. says

    Ghirardelli is the best brownie mix ever. I love orange and chocolate together and love all things spicy, so I’m sure I could eat a pan of these all by myself. I’m not kidding. Really. I’m not.

    • Lea Ann says

      I love that box mix Karen and was so pleasantly surprised the first time I made it. My first orange chile test recipes were from a recipe made from scratch. They were ok .. but nothing like Ghirardelli.

  7. says

    What is it about people and their green chili recipes? I have a neighbor that flat refused giving her recipe to me saying it was her mother’s recipe and she was comtemplating opening a restaurant someday. Well, guess what, I came up with one I liked better than hers. Take that Julie!

    Your brownines look wonderful. I think you are forgiven using a box mix if you doctor it up enough. I think we’ve all got one or two. I can’t wait to give these a try.

    • Lea Ann says

      Green chili does seem to have it’s share of hoarders. I’m the same way Karen, I do believe i’ve finally perfected mine to the point where it’s better than Joan’s version ever was. Too bad I won’t share the recipe. HA!

  8. says

    Yeah for sharing #*&$ Fist Fight Brownies – you did the right thing. They are too good not to share and I can personally attest to their incredible yumminess. Thank you so much for making that box of deliciousness for our trip. They were so great with coffee the next day and I couldn’t keep my mother out of them. I loved her surprised expression when she tasted them. And since she has dementia, they surprised her every time. And of course you came up with a better green chili – you’re the best cook I know. 😉

  9. says

    And here I am not giving a recipe in my post today, lol, but it’s understandable since it’s not my recipe.

    My guess when people refuse to give up a recipe like that is:
    1) It was store bought
    2) Someone else made it for them
    3) They are full of themselves

    One of the three is usually true:)

  10. says

    I think I saw something about a new tv show featuring popular restaurant recipes. I am surprised, since so few restaurants will share. But I say, “why not?!?!” People eat out or eat a friend’s place because they don’t want to do the cooking and they want the environment! There’s enough recipe success to go around.

    ps – I totally want to make your brownies :)

  11. says

    What a great combination. One of my favorite dark chocolate bars is a chili and dark chocolate. I love slight hint of heat. I can’t imagine not sharing a good recipe. After all, it’s a compliment when people ask for your recipe. Don’t you think?

    • Lea Ann says

      I buy some chocolate bars at Whole Foods with the chile. LOVE them. I agree Kristi, when I have people over for dinner, if no one asks for a particular recipe, I’m sure it was ho-hum. :)

  12. says

    I don’t get it when people won’t share a recipe. We have friends who make a great pasta sauce and they (he especially) refuses to give me the recipe.

    These sound delicious and Thank You for the recipe :)

  13. says

    I always share! I can see why some restaurants don’t, but I’d be really surprised if one of my friends didn’t. I had a dearly loved aunt who was brilliant in the kitchen with sweets of all kinds. My sister and I think she omitted one ingredient from every recipe she passed on!! We’ve figured them out over the years though. :)

    Love the heat and citrus oils in your brownies, Lea Ann. I’ve not experimented much with them. They look delish!

  14. says

    I second your opinion about the mix, Lea Ann. I bake from scratch now and them and it’s wonderful to have a quick version when I’m short on time. Love the combination of chili and chocolate. I haven’t tried those oils but have heard from others they are great.

    • Lea Ann says

      Thanks Cathy. I’d love to be able to find those oils here in Denver … without having to order them. They are wonderful.

  15. says

    I believe in always sharing love and recipes!! Orange and chocolate are fantastic combination and pure orange oil is something I must try to find!!

    • Lea Ann says

      So far I can’t find them in Denver. I have to order them on-line. They have that little sampler kit that is a “must” buy. Plus they make great little hostess gifts.

  16. says

    The brownies sound like they have a wow factor to them that makes them irresistible. An unexpected flavor punch. And I like the sound of those oils – divine.

  17. says

    I’m like you – more of a savory girl than sweet, except when it comes to chocolate. Sometimes I make brownies from scratch, but to be honest I like the boxed Ghirardelli triple chocolate brownie mix. I think they should send you a few months worth now that you gave them such a nice plug.

    Hope to see you soon.

  18. says

    I can relate to high-altitude cooking down here in Little Rock. OK, no I can’t but one of Katherine’s favorite shirts a few years ago was ski Little Rock! Anyway, these look amazing to me. I love how moist they turned out! And spicy with sweet is great.

  19. says

    Lea Ann- I love the sweet and savory nature of this recipe. I can’t wait to give this a try. I don’t know where I’ll find that orange oil but I think I can find a good substitute if I can’t buy it online…. Plus, peppers + chocolate = yummy! :)

    • Lea Ann says

      Robyn, I’ve been looking around town for some of that orange oil. Can’t find anything but extract. The only place I’ve not checked is Williams and Sonoma. I think I’m going to have to break down and order it on line. And yes, that salty chili pepper blend is WONderful.

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