I was paid $25 to make this recipe. Well, technically, I was paid about $12.50, because Matt was paid the other half to make a loaf of his awesome bread. Why? Because an old co worker from his previous job had a Christmas party to go to and a twenty-five dollar limit to spend on a gift. So he contacted us and said, “Make a couple things.” The fun thing about these office party gift-exchanges is that the person whose gift got the most steals, or trades in the game, wins $100.
Gary won. :) So I guess you could say these are $75 brownies. Or $37.50. Or probably less, because as I well know, it was most certainly Matt’s bread that won the contest. Hey, Matt – guess what? You won 1st place for your bread. Only this time, instead of a $6 check like at the fair, some other guy got $100. That’s better, right? ;)
The brownies were indeed, great. I followed a recipe from Fat Witch Brownies (a most awesome brownie book) for an espresso brownie, and then I thought, “What could make this more show-worthy for a gift exchange?” Covering it in a rich chocolate ganache! Then, with some sprinkles of cocoa nibs, these brownies become a huge version of a chocolate-covered espresso bean, which in my opinion, is the ultimate adult candy. They’re like one big “congratulations” for getting older.
And so are these brownies! Enjoy!
Chocolate Covered Espresso Brownies*
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon hot water
1 cup AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 recipe dark chocolate ganache (see below)
cocoa nibs or crushed up coffee beans for sprinkling
Grease a 9×9″ baking dish with butter. Dust with flour. Or use that awesome flour spray. Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second increments, stirring with a rubber spatula after each time, until smooth and melted.
Cream the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth, then add the cooled chocolate mixture and continue beating until incorporated.
In a small dish, mix the espresso powder with the hot water until dissolved. Add it to the chocolate mixture and continue to beat until well combined.
Measure the flour and salt and then sift together directly into the batter. Mix the batter gently until well combined.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 1 hour. Make your ganache while the brownies cool. After they cool, cut them into 16 squares and gently remove and place on a drying rack, or on sheets of waxed or parchment paper.
Dark Chocolate Ganache*
makes 1 cup of goodness from the heavens
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
Over medium heat, place the heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat immediately after it has just started to boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let them sit for a minute. Then, with a rubber spatula, gently begin mixing the chocolate in tiny circles in the center of the bowl. You will think it will never incorporate. Keep mixing. You will think your cream wasn’t hot enough. Keep mixing. Chocolate demands patience. Then, just like magic, the chocolate will deepen its color instantly and you will only have a few more stirs, incorporating the sides and scooping down to the bottom of the bowl, to end up with one, big, glossy, gorgeous bowl of thick, dark chocolate ganache. Take this and spread over the tops and sides of your cut brownies and sprinkle the tops of your brownies with the nibs or crushed beans and let it cool till the ganache firms up.
*both recipes adapted only very slightly from Fat Witch Brownies. Go buy this book for someone for Christmas.