Chocolate Covered Espresso Brownies

Chocolate Covered Espresso Brownies

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!

Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Brownies

Chocolate Covered Espresso Brownies*
worth $37.50

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.

EAT! ENJOY!

Espresso Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Cream

Espresso Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream
I’m a pretty big fan of the combination of chocolate and cinnamon.  They compliment each other so well in baked goods and the combination nearly exudes warmth.  This flourless indulgence boasts the rich flavors of espresso, as well.  And if there’s anything the first year of motherhood has taught me, it’s that coffee is from the Good Lord.  Chocolate is, as well, but coffee has really become a friend in need this year.  Together, they have become our go-to desserts.  This cake should be enjoyed with coffee if you are into that kind of supreme happiness.  The original recipe doesn’t call for cinnamon, but lately I’ve been adding it to just about everything including the fresh whipped cream I made for this cake.  I put more cinnamon than I thought I should and it turned out perfect.  And then I sprinkled it with cinnamon.  Maybe I have a deficiency?

Either way – try this cake.  And don’t leave out the whipped cream.  It was extra special.  Happy weekend and happy baking!

Flourless Espresso Chocolate Cake

Flourless Espresso Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Cream*
makes one, 9″ round cake

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for cake pan
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 70 percent cacao, chopped
  • 6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons instant-espresso powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbs cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a springform pan. Melt butter and chocolate in a glass or other heat proof bowl in the microwave at 30 second increments until melting and stir together to fully melt and incorporate.  Set aside.

Beat together egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add espresso powder, 1 tsp cinnamon and salt; beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and melted-chocolate mixture; beat about 1 minute more.

In another bowl, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase speed to high; gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold into chocolate mixture in 3 batches. Transfer batter to pan and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Remove side of pan; transfer cake to a serving plate. Serve whipped cream alongside cake.  To make the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream in a mixer on medium-high until soft peaks form.  Sprinkle in the cinnamon and whip a little longer, but not too long – you want the cream to stay soft, not get clumpy (which happens from too much whipping.)  Serve with coffee and be sure and save some for yourself for breakfast tomorrow!

*adapted from Martha Stewart Living