Brownies have never done much for me. Maybe it’s the powdered sugar vs. frosting debate over what distracting flavor to throw on top of them. Maybe the whole concept of brownies was ruined for me by overcooked box mixes during my formative years. I don’t know. I just could never get excited about them. I am definitely in the minority around here, as the kids and hubby rather enjoy baking and eating brownies.
The Hippie Husband finally hit upon a brownie that I loved for a Super Bowl party a few weeks ago. I liked them so much, in fact, that I asked him to make more so that we could be sure that the recipe was sound and to take pictures. But mostly so that I could eat them.
The base recipe is from Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook, which I received as a Christmas gift in college. It is an excellent basic cookbook, and we still use it pretty regularly for simple recipes. We added espresso powder to the recipe, but otherwise left it unchanged.
My new secret ingredient for chocolate dishes is espresso powder. It makes chocolate taste more chocolatey – espresso powder adds depth, making the chocolate flavor more intense without adding extra sweetness. I’ve been throwing espresso powder in just about every chocolate dish and drink for the past few months, and I have yet to encounter a misstep with it. Even if you don’t like coffee, espresso powder in chocolate is a great idea.
I really enjoy the texture of these brownies. You can see that there are a few layers of texture – a little crisp on the outside, more dense and chewy on the inside. They are not at all cake-like, so if you are a cake-like brownie fan, you should bake a cake and quit pretending that you like brownies. Or just don’t make this recipe, because you will be disappointed.
These are not bake sale brownies. They are not beautiful. They would not fly off of a dessert display (until somebody tastes one and returns over and over). But trust me – these are really delicious.
Yield: 36 brownies (they will be tiny squares, but tall and rich)
- 2/3 cup butter or stick margarine (we use unsalted butter. It’s just over 10.5 Tablespoons [1 1/4 sticks])
- 5 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into pieces
- 1.75 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. espresso powder
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of a 9x9x2 square pan with nonstick spray.
- Melt butter and chocolate
- Beat sugar, vanilla, espresso powder, and eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for about 5 minutes. Switch the mixer speed to low and gradually add the chocolate mixture. Stir in flour just until blended.
- Spread mixture in prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes. Brownies will start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Place pan on a cooling rack and allow brownies to cool completely while still in the pan.
- Cut into thirds (9 pieces), then cut each square into quarters.