I know, I know, another chocolate recipe .... and so soon. Well, I might as well be honest. Chocolate and I go way back ..... I mean, waaaaaay back. And, as far as I can tell, the relationship isn't goin' south any time soon. I think it will be making somewhat of a regular appearance on my little blog. All in favor say "aye". (can't imagine there would be any "nays".)
These brownies are really decadent! They're nice and thick and fudgey and are topped with a creamy espresso frosting. The crunchy hazelnuts add a nice contrast of texture. I just wouldn't eat these right before going to bed. Between the chocolate and the espresso these pack a bit of a caffeine punch. Maybe better for breakfast, huh? ( I probably shouldn't have said that, but I know a few family members that might like that idea.)
The original recipe came from Stirring the Pot by Tyler Florence, but I saw it on a site called Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. Reeni (the author of the site) adapted the recipe from the book and now I've changed it up a bit more by using hazelnuts instead of walnuts, and adding some cinnamon and also a sweet espresso frosting. All versions.....DELICIOUS !!
Italian Espresso, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Brownies with Creamy Espresso Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tblsp. instant espresso, dissolved in 2 tblsp. very hot water
1 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
1 tsp. instant espresso, dissolved in 2 1/2 tblsp.cream or milk
1/4 cup butter
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and set aside. Whisk the eggs, sugar, and espresso mixture together and then add the melted chocolate and butter. Whisk to combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients and then the hazelnuts. Pour the batter into a 9x9" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper and then sprayed with cooking spray. ( cut the parchment so that two of the ends hang over the sides of the pan. You'll use them to help lift the brownies out after they've cooled.) Bake the brownies in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
Let cool completely and then cover with the espresso frosting. ( I like to cut them into squares and garnish each brownie with a chocolate-covered espresso bean....just didn't have any in the cupboard this time.) Enjoy these with a tall glass of cold milk.
To make frosting: Cream the butter until light. Add the vanilla and salt. Gradually blend in the powdered sugar along with the espresso mixture until it's a good spreading consistency.