Put coffee in your brownies for extra fudge flavor! Try these frosted hazelnut espresso brownies for the ultimate in mocha-chocolate deliciousness.
I wouldn’t call coffee something I drink so much as something I do. It’s as much a part of my morning as brushing my teeth and my afternoon as checking the mail. The whole day feels off, wrong, without it. It’s not even that I can’t wake up without it; in fact, I’m kind of sure the caffeine doesn’t even register anymore because Sabrina and I will pick up venti iced coffees at 10pm and be fine to go to bed at midnight.
High school is when I started drinking it…back in the days when Dunkin’ Donuts added real sugar crystals to iced coffee, and they’d all fall to the bottom of my cup and every sip had a little sweetness and grit to it. I loved that.
But my love for coffee has only grown since–from college when I became a regular drinker and peer-pressured Sabrina to start, too, to living in Rome when I developed a four-espresso-a-day habit, to Seattle where coffee is as much a part of the culture as start-ups and being oddly friendly. Seattle is where I started ordering Americanos–shots of espresso mixed with hot water–because I liked the boldness and strength of the espresso. I still do.
But when I moved to New York, I got away from espresso, mostly because the coffee shops are all so hectic, with lines no matter the time of day, that I’ll do anything to avoid ordering a drink that takes more than a quick pour.
Still, I love a good espresso. The one way I can always work it into my life is in any chocolate-containing recipe. Espresso and chocolate go together like peanut butter and fluff. Of course there’s the espresso-chocolate fusion we know as mocha, where the chocolate has a pronounced coffee flavor, but if you add just a bit of espresso (brewed or instant espresso powder) to chocolate batter (cake, cookies, brownies), you don’t impart much espresso flavor; instead, you intensify the chocolate. Then the espresso isn’t quite a flavor; it’s a flavor-enhancer. In short, it’s a small miracle worker.
Maybe because I make no secret about my coffee dependence, Gourmesso recently sent me some of their coffee and espresso capsules. These capsules are all compatible with Nespresso Original Line machines and are 30% cheaper than buying the Nespresso brand capsules. As someone who loves coffee for the ritual and the taste, I would never have been able to distinguish between coffee and espresso made by Nespresso and Gourmesso. What I liked about the Gourmesso coffee pods was how bold they tasted, and that was something I struggled with when I owned a Keurig machine a few years ago; I just always felt like my cup was too weak.
After I’d reached my drinking limit, I decided it was time to add some of that espresso to a recipe. I brewed up 1 capsule of Gourmesso Bolivia Pura Mezzo espresso and used the small cup function on my Nespresso machine to produce roughly 2 tablespoons to add to my nearly flourless brownie batter. This espresso is fairtrade, low in acidity, and even has notes of chocolate–perfect for rich fudge brownies.
Some recipes call for more cocoa powder than chopped chocolate and those kinds end up with a cake-ier texture, but I prefer something denser, fudgier. That’s why these brownies have a staggering amount of chopped dark chocolate and an intense chocolate flavor.
Now, obviously I had to frost them because as Daniel sometimes reminds me, I “have a tendency to go overboard.” Right. So I slathered the brownies in chocolate hazelnut spread. Why hadn’t done this before? It was the most simple frosting, and yet I couldn’t have made or even dreamed up something better…especially for espresso fudge brownies.
I was ready to eat one just shy of immediately, but I took an extra minute to brew a cup of Gourmesso’s hazelnut Soffio Nocciola coffee.
If you’re not already drinking espresso and adding it to all of your chocolate desserts, is it wrong of me to be the one to peer pressure you into it?
I feel like you’ll thank me later.
Frosted Hazelnut Espresso Brownies
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Gourmesso espresso capsule
- , brewed and cooled 2 tablespoons; brew on the small cup setting*
- 6 ounces 60% baking chocolate coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Spray the foil or parchment with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of espresso. Whisk in the sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, whisking only until incorporated and smooth. The more you beat the eggs here, the more air you'll add to the batter and the less fudgy your brownies will turn out, so try to only whisk the eggs in as much as you need to.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture just until combined and no white clumps remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with just a few fudgy crumbs, 28 to 32 minutes.
- Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack. Remove from the pan by lifting the foil or parchment and frost with the chocolate hazelnut spread. Cut into 12 squares. Serve with your favorite brewed Gourmesso coffee or espresso capsule.