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‘Tis the season for copious amounts of baking! It’s the holiday season and I’m sure most of you have been inundated with delectable baked goods. Typically, it’s the time of the year for Christmas cookies. I am home for the holidays so it’s time to get my bake on! I’m generally a huge fan, but this year I wanted to make something different. So why not some Brilliant Brownies. Admittedly, I have only really made brownies from a box and the ones from a box are deliciously delightful. While I have never claimed to be a baker, I thought it was time I gave homemade brownies a try, but I had a lot to learn.

The biggest debate I stumbled upon was regarding the espresso powder. The recipe I decided to try added a bit of this java to enhance the chocolate flavor. This was the first time I had heard of adding coffee to a chocolate recipe, but the espresso powder is meant to make the chocolate flavor is more prominent without the coffee flavor. I have never spent more time in a coffee aisle in my life. Initially, I found a brand called Cafe Bustelo. For some reason, I just wasn’t sure this was the appropriate powder needed for the recipe. I finally found a brand sold at Walmart called Delallo. In comparison, the powders are similar but the instant espresso, Cafe Bustelo, is a bit more coarse than the Delallo Instant Espresso Powder. It also should be noted that Delallo mentions it’s usage for baking on the back of the jar. I think if I had ground up the more coarse powder, it would have sufficed too. The espresso powder did not disappoint. These brownies were so rich and chocolatey and you couldn’t tell there was espresso in them at all!

Personally, I love a great brownie sundae. This chocolate lover’s dream tasted amazing with a scoop of my favorite brand of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and with a cherry on top. The whole home smelled of chocolate and was warmed with holiday love. Like I said before, I’m not knocking the boxed brownies, but these chocolate squares were amazing and my whole family enjoyed every bite! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from DCDishes!

Brilliant Brownies

What You Need:

  • 2½ sticks (1¼ cups) unsalted butter, plus more, softened, for greasing
  • 8 ounces good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cacao), roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. espresso powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 1 ½ cup crushed walnuts or pecans, optional
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions:
Click here to Cook With Me!

  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. 
  • Grease a 9×13-inch dark metal pan with softened butter, then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.
  • Grease the parchment with softened butter.
  • Combine the chopped chocolate, ¼ cup of cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a heatproof liquid measuring cup or medium bowl and set aside.
  • Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter just comes to a vigorous simmer, about 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally.
  • Immediately pour the hot butter over the chocolate mixture and let sit for 2 minutes.
  • Whisk until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted, then set aside.
  • Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. It will be similar to the texture of a very thick pancake batter.
  • With the mixer on, pour in the slightly cooled chocolate and butter mixture and blend until smooth.
  • Sift in the flour and remaining cocoa powder and use a rubber spatula to gently fold until just combined. Then fold in nuts gently.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until lightly puffed on top, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the baking pan from the oven using oven mitts or kitchen towels, then lightly drop the pan on a flat surface 1-2 times until the brownies deflate slightly.
  • Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes more.
  • Set the brownies on a cooling rack and cool completely in the pan.
  • Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled brownies out of the pan. Cut into bars and serve immediately.
  • Serve with ice cream and toppings if you like and enjoy!

Cook With Me:

  • Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
  • Grease a 9×13-inch dark metal pan with softened butter, then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides.
  • Grease the parchment with softened butter.
  • Combine the chopped chocolate, ¼ cup of cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a heatproof liquid measuring cup or medium bowl and set aside.Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter just comes to a vigorous simmer, about 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally.Immediately pour the hot butter over the chocolate mixture and let sit for 2 minutes.img_0798
  • Whisk until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted, then set aside.img_0797
  • Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and eggs in a large bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. It will be similar to the texture of a very thick pancake batter.
  • With the mixer on, pour in the slightly cooled chocolate and butter mixture and blend until smooth.img_0795
  • Sift in the flour and remaining cocoa powder and use a rubber spatula to gently fold until just combined. Then fold in nuts gently.Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until lightly puffed on top, about 20 minutes.img_0792
  • Remove the baking pan from the oven using oven mitts or kitchen towels, then lightly drop the pan on a flat surface 1-2 times until the brownies deflate slightly.
  • Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.img_0791
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes more.
  • Set the brownies on a cooling rack and cool completely in the pan.img_0790
  • Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled brownies out of the pan. Cut into bars and serve immediately.img_0789
  • Serve with ice cream and toppings if you like and enjoy!IMG_5275

Inspired by this recipe.

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