Monday, February 17, 2014

Fudge Brownies with Espresso Ganache

Valentine's may be over, but chocolate is appropriate for, well, every day of the year, really, even if it comes with a big red and white sprinkles heart.

On a whim, I mixed up a pan of brownies last week to take in to work on Friday, and since it was Valentine's Day and all, I thought it only right to decorate the ganache with sprinkles in the shape of a heart.

For the brownies, I used my recently tested recipe for very dark, very fudgey brownies that I previously topped with Andes Mint buttercream.  After my sister made the recipe, she said that it was "the last brownie recipe she would ever need," and I have to say that I agree.  I've made lots of brownies over my past few years of blogging and this recipe is by far, my favorite.

I made half the recipe and baked them in a round spring form pan so that I could easily remove them and drizzle with an espresso ganache with a hint of coffee liqueur.  As I was to discover after bringing them in, people really love coffee and chocolate for breakfast.

One Year Ago:   Chocolate and Brown Butter Toffee Ice Cream Sandwiches
Two Years AgoCherry Vanilla Soda Cupcakes

Brownies with Espresso Ganache and a Sprinkles Heart

·         ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
·         1 cup granulated sugar
·         ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
·         1 teaspoon espresso powder
·         ½ teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
·         1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
·         2 eggs
·         ½ cup all-purpose flour
·         ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

·         3 ounces cream
·         1 ounce coffee liqueur (optional)
·         2 teaspoons espresso powder
·         4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
·         Sprinkles

Baker’s Note: To make the ganache without the liqueur, eliminate the liqueur and reduce the chocolate to 3 ounces.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Spray a round springform pan with removable sides with non-stick spray and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper (or, use a square 8x8 baking dish and line with parchment paper so the paper hangs over two ends).

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt.  Pour the melted butter over the cocoa mixture and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Add the vanilla, and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg; batter will be very thick.  Stir in the flour, just until moistened, then the chocolate chips.  Spread evenly into the pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist, sticky crumbs clinging to it.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the ganache, combine the cream, liqueur and espresso powder in a small saucepan.  Heat gently over low heat just until it begins to simmer around the edges.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; let stand for 3 minutes.  Stir with a spatula until smooth and shiny.

Remove the brownies from the pan and set on a serving plate.  Pour the warm ganache over the cooled brownies and decorate with sprinkles before the ganache sets.

For my simple sprinkles heart design, I just placed a large cookie cutter in the center of the ganache before it set; the cutter will sink slightly into the chocolate.  Quickly add sprinkles inside the cutter, then carefully lift the cutter away.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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