Anyone fancy salted espresso brownie bars with whipped dark chocolate coffee ganache? Yup, us too. Safia delivers the goods.
If a survey were carried out on the sweet treat most commonly ordered with a coffee, I’ve got a feeling the chocolate brownie would win by a mile.
Chocolate and coffee are incredibly well suited, and that’s particularly true in baking. You’ll often see coffee in recipes for chocolate cakes, cookies and brownies, but it’s not to add the flavour of coffee. The coffee actually brings out the depth, earthiness and intensity of the chocolate, meaning recipes containing coffee are even more chocolatey. As if we needed another reason to love coffee.
I’ve increased the coffee content in these rich, fudgey brownie bars to emphasise the espresso, and I’ve smothered them in whipped dark chocolate coffee-spiked ganache. They’re finished off with a sprinkling of sea salt for good measure, as salt makes chocolate seem even sweeter.
This recipe does everything possible to get the most out of the chocolate, but it’s still important that you use the best possible quality chocolate you can get, with at least 70% cocoa solids.
Ingredients (makes 12)
For the brownies
225g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate, chopped
1tsp vanilla bean extract
85g plain flour
85g cocoa powder (I recommend Dutch-processed)
4tsp instant espresso powder
¼tsp sea salt flakes
170g soft dark brown sugar
170g caster sugar
3 large eggs
For the ganache
200ml double cream
1tsp instant espresso powder
200g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
Sea salt flakes, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a 20cm x 30cm baking tray with parchment paper. Leave some overhang at the edges to make lifting the brownies out of the tin easier.
Melt the butter gently over a low heat, being careful not to let it bubble. Remove from the heat once almost fully melted and stir in the dark chocolate to create a smooth, glossy mixture. Add the vanilla and aside side to cool to room temperature.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt in a bowl and set to one side.
Using an electric whisk or free-standing electric mixer, whisk together the sugars and eggs at a high speed for 5-8 minutes, or until almost doubled in volume. The mixture should be thick, pale and glossy.
Pour the cooled butter and chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture. Gently fold together with a spatula, taking care not to knock out any of the air. Fold from the bottom to the top in a figure of eight, and stop when almost fully incorporated.
Sift the flour and cocoa mixture into the bowl, and again gently fold in. Don’t over-mix, but ensure no large chunks of flour remain.
Pour into the prepared baking tray and spread into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Take the brownies out just before they are fully baked so they remain fudgey inside. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
To make the ganache, infuse the cream with the espresso powder in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. Bring the cream to scalding point, but don’t allow to boil. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Transfer the ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer or use an electric whisk and whip until fluffy and lighter in colour.
Carefully lift the brownies out of the tin and spread the whipped ganache over the top. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut into 12 bars. Store in an airtight container.