Monday, April 5, 2010

Cappuccino Brownies with a Twist

Well,  the sugar cookies didn't last long on the plate so I had to get back to baking!  I love the combination of chocolate and coffee so I thought that I would try something different.  This brownie has been adapted from "Bars and Squares".  All brownie recipes start somewhere and this one is no different.   The end result was shear decadence.  The brownies were dense, moist and rich in flavors.  The chocolate and coffee flavors were perfectly balanced - one did not outshine the other which is the way that the flavors should be.  The only problem with this brownie is that it is a three step process - which means that you can't dive in right away. Patience is a virtue and this brownie is worth the wait.   It is composed of a chocolate brownie that is the base for many of my brownies, a cappuccino buttercream middle and a chocolate ganache topping — and that is where the twist is.   Remember to have all your ingredients at room temperature.

Triple Chocolate Brownie

5 ozs. semi-sweet chocolate (you can use chips)
2 ozs. unsweetened chocolate chopped
3 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
3 large eggs 
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8x8 or 9x9 pan and line with parchment paper with an inch overhanging the sides.  This will make it easy to remove the brownies.  

Melt both chocolates and butter in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water.    Stir as the butter melts to incorporate all the chocolate.  Sift the cocoa powder into the melted chocolate and stir (the sifting will prevent the cocoa from clumping)  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In another bowl combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt with a whisk.  I vigorously whisk for a minute until the eggs are fully combined and light and fluffy.   Add the chocolate mixture (make sure that it is not hot or the egg mixture will curdle) and whisk until combined.   I sift the flour right into the bowl and then gently fold.  

Pour into prepared pan, put into the center rack in the oven and bake for 32 minutes.  (as I do with all my recipes - I under bake slightly because they continue to cook as they cool).  Place on a rack and allow to cool for at least an hour.  It is ready for the cappuccino buttercream.

Cappuccino Buttercream

1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
2 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream
2 cups of confectioner's sugar - sifted
4 tablespoons of room temperature butter

Combine the espresso powder with the liquid.   Add the butter and confectioner's sugar and using an electric mixture beat until light and fluffy.  If it seems too stiff add a drop of liquid at a time until it is soft and creamy.  Taste - if need be add a touch more espresso powder;  this is a personal choice.   

Spread evenly on cooled brownie and place in the refrigerator until set and hardened.  This will take about an hour.  The buttercream should be hard to the touch before you add the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup dark or semi sweet chocolate chopped
1/3 cup heavy (35%) whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put the chocolate and the whipping cream in a heat proof bowl over simmering water, stirring until melted and glossy.  Add the cayenne powder and cinnamon and stir.  Remove from heat and let cool until it is lukewarm but still spreadable.  Remove brownie from the refrigerator and spread the chocolate mixture over the frosting layer.  Place back in the refrigerator for an hour and a half until fully set.

Gently remove the brownie from the pan lifting by the parchment paper.   You can cut this brownie into  24 pieces as it is very rich.    This brownie is good enough to stand all by itself.  The only thing that I might is a glass of ice cold milk.

Enjoy.  Please let me know if you make this and how you like it.

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