103: Espresso Brownies
I find it very fitting that my Espresso Brownies are the final recipe that I made in April – another milestone recipe! My husband doesn’t like coffee, so I knew that I would need company to help me eat these. We had a friend come to stay with us last weekend and a crowd at a barbecue to feed, so I finally had my chance to make them!
The recipe for Jamaican Coffee Brownies said I could use espresso instead of the special coffee, so that’s exactly what I did. Very finely ground espresso goes in the rich brownie batter, and brewed espresso goes in the ganache on top. I normally don’t make frosting or ganache for brownies – I believe that a good brownie doesn’t need adornment – but I did for this recipe, since the ganache would add flavor (from the brew), rather than just add sweetness and moisture as frosting generally does. As I made these, I could tell that the brownie batter would be rich and delicious on its own because of its high cocoa content. I did add the pecans because I thought that such a rich brownie might need the contrast, but I made the mistake of grinding them in my magic bullet instead of chopping them by hand, so most of the pecans disappeared into the batter.
While the brownies baked, I made the ganache. I didn’t understand why I would need to simmer the espresso, so I didn’t bother with it. I’ll tell you why it should be simmered – the hot espresso on its own is not hot enough to melt all of the chocolate chips. My bowl wasn’t microwave-safe, so I had a few partially-melted chocolate chips that ended up on the brownies. I don’t think that it hurt it any. I didn’t bother with any crystallized ginger – coffee and chocolate was enough for me.
These were really good. They definitely have a strong coffee flavor, so you have to love both coffee and dark chocolate to like these. These were very easy to make, if you have a coffee grinder and can make espresso/really strong coffee. The flavor is intense, so they’re not a brownie for the faint of heart! They were very moist and very rich. Our crew at the barbecue devoured them – they were much more popular than I had anticipated. I would definitely make these again if the right occasion arose.
- 2 cups sugar
- 15 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks minus 1 tablespoon )
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 3 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces (optional)
- 6 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee or espresso
- 1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
Melt butter in a large saucepan or large microwave-safe bowl. Add sugar, cocoa, ground coffee, and salt, and stir to combine. Cool mixture briefly. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to stir in flour until just combined. Stir in pecans if using.
Spread batter in a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs stuck to it. Cool.
Simmer coffee on the stove, or heat briefly in the microwave. (Otherwise, the chocolate chips won't fully melt.) Add 1 cup chocolate chips. Let stand for a few minutes, then stir until the chocolate chips melt. Let cool for about an hour, until ganache thickens. Spread over cooled brownies. Cut and serve.