Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Short and Sweet

Coffee and chocolate-what a great combination. The bitterness of the coffee and the sweetness of the chocolate just complement each other. These cookies add the buttery crumbly texture of shortbread to the mix- a little different but very delicious. The top brownie layer is soft and chewy. A two-step process is required for these, but it is not too complicated.  It does pay off to buy those magazines for the long cross-country flight to LA for graduation.

Espresso-Shortbread Brownie Bars from Food and Wine magazine, May, 2010 issue

Shortbread Crust
10 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Brownie Topping
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
14 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature

Make the Shortbread crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine the butter, flour, sugar, ground espresso and salt and pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Press the crumbs into a 9x13 inch metal baking pan to form a crust. Prick all over with a fork. Freeze for 5 minutes until firm. Bake in lower third of the oven for 30 minutes until the crust is lightly browned and cooked through.

In the meantime, prepare the Brownie topping. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa, salt and baking powder. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the chocolate over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Batter will be thick.

Pour the brownie batter over the shortbread crust, making sure the surface is smooth.  Bake for 30 minute, until the brownie top is dry and lightly cracked around the edges.  The center will still be a bit soft.  Cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 24 bars. These are pretty rich so in this case, small is beautiful. ((post by susan))

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