The Most Decadent Mocha Brownies
Brownies are one of the most iconic North American desserts out there. They come in many different forms - bars, cookies, skillets - brownies are almost as versatile as bread! My mom has been making brownies for as long as I can remember, and one of her best recipes is from Hershey’s. Because of this, brownies always bring me back to my childhood memories, though my mom would always make her brownies cakey when I like mine fudgy. In this recipe, I built upon my mom’s signature cakey brownie, making it fudgy and adding a twist, turning it into a mocha brownie, adding hints of espresso and saltiness to help balance the palette. These brownies are so simple to make, just a few ingredients you probably already have at home - add a mixer - and you’re ready to go!
Any butter will do, at room temperature. I don’t melt my butter for brownies; this gives you a more rich and dense product, which is exactly how I like my brownies. I use white granulated sugar in my brownies - sometimes I’ll change it up with some cane sugar. Either works. The cane sugar helps add that extra depth of flavour that pairs well with the chocolate and espresso. Using brown sugar instead of granulated sugar in the batter will end up with a raw batter after baking. I love using vanilla bean paste. It’s cheaper than vanilla beans and more luxurious than vanilla extract - you still get the speckles from the seeds. If you don’t have access to vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract works equally as good. The ground coffee compliments the deep chocolate flavour of these brownies. I prefer an espresso roast, the midpoint between a medium and dark roast, getting a deep taste without any bitter or burnt notes – make sure to use an espresso grind, so you don’t get any gritty coffee grounds in your mouth! Eggs add a substantial amount of moisture to the recipe, allowing the brownies to stay dense and moist. Dutch-processed cocoa powder, often called Dutched cocoa, goes through an alkalisation process, making it a neutral powder with a darker appearance. This results in a more chocolatey taste and a very rich brownie. For brownies, I quite enjoy using all-purpose flour. It develops just the right amount of bite. Cake-and-pastry flour doesn’t create enough structure to hold the brownies together once they cool, and bread flour creates too much structure making the brownies too chewy. If you are like me and don’t always have all-purpose flour in the house, using half cake flour and half bread flour works just fine! Since this recipe calls for Dutched cocoa, using baking powder is integral. Since Dutched cocoa is alkalinised, baking soda (basic) would result in a lack of rise and a bitter taste since the cocoa powder is no longer acidic.
I love this recipe – it is so easy to make and, of course, to eat! Most brownie recipes call for you to melt the butter, mix the dry ingredients, and fold them into butter and eggs. I don’t particularly like making my brownies that way because they turn out cakier. This allows the cocoa and the flour to hydrate in the liquids and allows the gluten in the flour to develop and the cocoa to expand. I start by creaming my butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl using a hand mixer until it is light, fluffy, and significantly lighter in colour. You should see a significant difference in colour between the butter and the fully creamed mixture. Overcreaming will end up with a cakey brownie so make sure to not go to far that it looks super white and grainy. Take a look at this quick guide on how to properly cream butter. Once the butter and sugar are fully creamed, add the vanilla and espresso powder, mix until fragrant. Next, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. You want to ensure that the eggs are mixed well between the additions to prevent over-saturation and even distribution. Scrape down the bowl between additions to ensure there is nothing not being mixed in. Once the eggs are combined, sift the dry ingredients into the mixture in the bowl, and fold in the dry ingredients, making a light batter. At this point, you can fold in anything else you want, dark chocolate chips, roasted nuts, or even chopped cherries, about one cup of anything you want. Bake this in a greased and parchment-lined 9x13-inch baking pan. I like sprinkling a bit of sea salt flakes on top before putting them in the oven. I prefer the USA PAN, in a preheated 350°F/175°C conventional oven or a 325°F/160°C convection oven. Bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle, comes out with crumbs, but not raw batter. Allow the brownies to cool before refrigerating for at least four hours. This will allow the butter to take its original form and allow the brownies to become more chocolatey. Refrigerated brownies, in my opinion, are the best. They are incredibly chocolatey, hold their shape when cut, and are just great. Cut the brownies into your desired shape before storing them in an airtight container in the fridge for one week or the freezer for up to one month. [sc name="ad-block" ][/sc]
Decadent Mocha Brownies
9x13-inch baking pan
Medium mixing bowl
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp espresso powder
¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp sea salt
Preheat an oven to 350°F conventional oven/325°F convection oven. Grease and line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Cream until light and fluffy with a significant difference in colour.
Add the vanilla and espresso powder and mix well until fragrant.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition to ensure that the mixture is homogenous.
In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Fold them into the butter and egg mixture.
Transfer the batter to the baking pan. Spread the batter into an even layer. Place in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with a few crumbs, but no raw batter.
Allow to cool and place in the fridge for four hours before cutting and serving.