Saturday, November 19, 2011

Espresso Brownies

I inherited my love of chocolate and coffee from my Mom.  Some of my earliest memories include sipping coffee (diluted with lots of milk) from my little coffee cup while watching my Mom fix herself what seemed to be an insanely giant cup of black coffee.  (everything is giant when you're 4) We would sip it together in our tiny kitchen on Circle Drive.  It tasted pretty good, but it was the whole ritual that made it special.  I mean, I got to drink coffee with my grown-up Mom, OK?  And I wanted to be just like her.  

And chocolate.  I think her favorite was the Hershey's Eggs that are out around Easter -- you know, the candy coated solid chocolate eggs?  They are basically M&Ms on steroids.  Or on car trips it would be peanut M&Ms.  She also eats books for breakfast.  Just kidding.  She loves to read because she is a person who never wants to stop learning.  I have always admired that about her.  Coffee, Chocolate, and a book = the Mom trifecta.  

The first thing we do when we get to visit is make lots of coffee, sit on the couch and catch up.  Maybe nibble on something chocolate.  I love that time.  My Mom is always interested in what is going on with me and she's been my biggest cheerleader all my life.  And believe me, it's been a wild ride at times!  She is one amazing woman.  If you're lucky enough to know her, then you don't need me to tell you just how wonderful she is.  Any time I make a recipe like this I think of her.  I'm always pleasantly surprised by how much food connects us with memories and the people we love.  

So let's talk about these brownies.  This is yet another super simple recipe that makes you look like a rock star.  I mean just say espresso brownies to someone and they immediately respond with "Oooooo!"  Start by making a big cup of instant espresso.  I use 3 tablespoons of instant espresso per 8 oz. of water.

Now get your ingredients together and dump everything in a bowl and stir. I told you this was easy!

Stir everything until smooth and dump this in a foil lined 8x8 pan coated with cooking spray.  Foil is your friend when you're making brownies or cookie bars - when they're done you just lift them right out and it's so much easier to cut them.

Now for the glaze! 

When the brownies are done and completely cool - spread the glaze over them and dot with more chocolate chips (or chocolate covered espresso beans!)  I like my glaze a little thicker so I end up using more sugar than the recipe calls for.  

Lift the foil out of the pan, cut, and enjoy!

See Mom?  I do read the books you send me!  You know, I hear a lot of people groan when they look in the mirror and say they see their Moms.  I love that I have so much in common with my Mom on so many levels.  We even sound the same on the phone.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Espresso Brownies
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.


  1. Those look delicious and beautiful!!

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your mom!! But you know me!! I'm all about peanut butter!!!! Could it be that your mom ate ALL the chocolate when we were growing up? Great work Liz! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. When are you going to get back to baking and trying my Cheesecake recipe :)
    -Brandon aka Soph