I don’t use the expression “best-ever” often. It’s a weighty pronouncement to make, especially when it comes to brownies. I will say this: if you like fudgy brownies and have a weakness for espresso-flavored desserts, then these are the best-ever espresso brownies. Are you headed to the kitchen yet?
When you add instant espresso and chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans to the fudgiest brownie of all time, you’ll find yourself on the path to brownie nirvana. Add a layer of espresso frosting and you’ll reach espresso bliss. You also may find yourself slightly more caffeinated in the process!
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp instant espresso
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp chocolate-covered espresso beans, finely chopped
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp low-fat milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp instant espresso
Unsweetened cocoa, for dusting
12 chocolate-covered espresso beans, halved
Preheat oven to 325°F and line a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with 1 sheet of parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over each end. Place butter, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso, and salt in a large bowl and stir the mixture until combined – the texture will appear granular at this point. Stir in vanilla; add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each one. When the batter is thick and shiny, add the flour and stir until completely incorporated, then beat briskly for 40 more strokes. Fold in espresso beans. Spread batter evenly in lined pan.
Bake for 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist with batter. Cool completely on a wire rack (chill 20 minutes in the freezer to speed cooling). For the frosting, beat butter and cream cheese in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Combine milk, vanilla, and espresso in a small ramekin, stirring to combine. Add to butter mixture and beat on medium speed until airy. Spread evenly over brownie layer with an offset spatula. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve, lift up the ends of the parchment and transfer the brownies to a cutting board; cut into squares using a sharp knife. Dust brownies with cocoa and top with a halved espresso bean. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Yield – 24 brownies (serving size: 1 brownie)
Calories – 165
Carbs – 21