Espresso and dark chocolate. These two luxurious ingredients were born soul mates in my book.
I throughly enjoy anything that incorporates the intensity and smokiness of espresso and the rich flavor and creamy texture of dark chocolate.
This unique recipe takes these two ingredients and combines them in what is probably the most extraordinary brownie I have ever tasted.
My family adored these espresso & dark chocolate brownies and, after making a few test batches, I decided to adjust the original recipe I found on a food site created by blogger, Kate at Foodbabbles.
Kate’s original recipe was delicious and my first batch disappeared quickly, but I needed to taste more of the espresso flavor. I decided to increase the amount of instant espresso powder and, just for kicks, I added espresso liqueur to boost the coffee flavor. Let me know what you think of my adapted version:
3 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 tbsp. good quality espresso liqueur
2 sticks unsalted organic butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed firmly)
5 large organic eggs
1 tsp. sea salt
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
2 tbsp. baking unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate (80% cacao), broken or coarsely chopped
1/2 cup semisweet dark chocolate chips
NOTE: I prefer using the top brand of chocolate for best flavor, try Ghiradelli,or Callebaut to see what you prefer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder; set aside.
In a medium skillet, add the chopped chocolate pieces, butter, espresso powder and espresso liqueur and place on medium heat, stirring constantly until chocolate and butter melt completely and the result is a thick, creamy blend. Remove from heat and quickly mix in the sugar until melted and well blended.
NOTE: I cook this mixture directly on the stove top, I prefer this vs. the double boiler method. The trick is to watch the heat and adjust as needed, always stirring and shifting the pan on and off the burner to make sure it does not boil over and burn.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla until well blended; set aside.
Once the chocolate mixture has cooled completely (be sure it is cooled when you incorporate the eggs, there is a risk the eggs will curdle and ruin the mixture); slowly fold in the eggs, 2 to 3 at a time into the chocolate mixture using a large spatula until well blended into a smooth and creamy texture. This mixture should seem to have a custard or pudding-like feel to it with a rich, dark chocolate color.
Take the flour mixture and add about 1/3 of it into the chocolate mixture; slowly fold in until well blended. Do this with the remaining flour mixture in two more portions until all is combined and very smooth. Now fold in the chocolate chips to add the final depth of chocolate flavor to the brownies and combine well (do not over mix at this point.)
Grease an 8″ x 12″ rectangular metal pan* and add the last mixture into the pan. Place in a preheated oven on the middle rack for about 30 minutes (rotate the pan 15 minutes into the cooking process for best results) until a toothpick inserted in the pan comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached.
Let them cool and then cut in small bite-size cubes to serve immediately. You can place them in a well sealed container in your refrigerator or freezer for extended storage.
* You can adjust the pan size for this recipe if you prefer thicker or thinner brownies. This size pan will result in a medium thickness and I cut them in bite-size cubes.
NOTE: I recently made a batch of these espresso & dark chocolate brownies for my first catering event (a special invitation to participate from a wonderful fashion boutique owner and friend of mine, Lynne Routhier at Enjewel) along with a collection of other food offerings I will be sharing in the near future.
It was Enjewel’s “2nd Annual Ladies Night” event and the beautiful women who attended that very rainy night seemed to truly enjoy the food, wine and the gorgeous fashion and accessories.
These espresso & dark chocolate brownies were a big hit, everyone loved their rich taste, creamy texture and their slight sweetness that compliments both the espresso and dark chocolate flavors.
Note: Photography provided by Annette L. Venditti & Carina Favale