You can't go wrong with brownies; hardly anyone dislikes them, as in Nobody Doesn't Like Brownies (with apologies to Sara Lee). Over the weekend I was planning to make Espresso Brownies for the Coffee Hour at the Episcopal Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Tucson, and I found some pretty cute chips at Walmart off Campbell, near Interstate 10 here in Tucson. This is the new Walmart in town, by the way.
The chips were semi-sweet chocolate mixed with some orange-colored chips made from white chocolate, and the point was the Halloween colors, of course. I threw them into the brownies and I must say they were very much in the spirit of the season.
This recipe calls for unsweetened baking chocolate, and I emphasize that it is important for you to adhere to this. I didn't have any so I substituted semi-sweet baking chocolate, and I ended up with milk-chocolate-and-espresso brownies, which were good but not what the recipe author had in mind.
This recipe comes out with not enough batter to fill a large rectangular baking pan, and too much for a square baking pan, so plan on using two eight-inch round cake pans, or nine-inch if that's what you have. If the final recipe that goes in the oven is spread too thin in a large baking pan, it will become hard and burn easily--and chocolate burns easily as it is.
2-1/2 cups organic all-purpose or Spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1 cup organic dark brown sugar
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
2 large organic eggs at room temperature
2 sticks organic butter at room temperature
2 ounces unsweetened organic chocolate, melted with 1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 cup organic semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a rectangular baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan or in a glass dish in your microwave oven and set it aside to cool somewhat.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and espresso powder. Set this mixture aside.
Beat the eggs with the sugars until they become fluffy. Beat in the butter.
When the butter is completely incorporated, add the chocolate and beat again. Finally beat in the vanilla.
Lower the mixer speed to Fold and add the flour mixture in three increments. Fold just until it is thoroughly mixed, and then fold in the chocolate chips.
Transfer the batter to the baking pan and bake it for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your baking pan; thin brownies will cook faster.
When the brownies are firm on top, they are done. Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan until they are no longer dangerous. Cut them into bars and store them in an airtight container. Freeze them if you won't be serving them immediately.
These brownies will be deep and dark, rich with chocolate and flavored with coffee that makes them an ideal dessert. They could be served with coffee-flavored ice cream on the side, which would be truly elegant. Of course I don't rule out vanilla ice cream or chocolate, but if I were serving it, my first choice would be coffee, drizzled with a good caramel sauce.