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Thick silky brownies with a luscious coffee-edged buttercream!
For the brownies:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Fold a long piece of heavy foil into a 13″ wide strip and fit it inside a 9″ x 13″ metal baking pan, leaving a foil overhang on the 2 long sides. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
Over medium-low heat, melt butter and chocolate together in a large heavy pan. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla and sugar. Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.
When the chocolate mixture has melted, remove it from the heat and let it cool a bit before adding the eggs and sugar mixture and beating to combine. Then mix in the flour.
Beat to combine and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined pan. Smooth the top. Bake for about 25 minutes. When it’s ready, the top should look just a bit dried, leaving the middle still dark and dense and gooey. Take care to not overbake, which will result in a dry brownie. Remember that the brownies will continue to cook a bit as they cool. Cool completely.
For the mocha buttercream:
In a small bowl, gently melt the chocolate in the microwave. Heat for only 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between increments, and stop once it’s almost smooth. Take care to not let it scorch. Add espresso powder and whisk briskly for 1 minute. Let cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter until creamy. At low speed, beat in the powdered sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, scraping down the side of the bowl, about 2 minutes longer.
Back on low speed, beat in the cream, vanilla, and cinnamon, then gradually beat in the melted (cooled) chocolate. Scrape down the side of the bowl and the paddle, increase the speed to medium-high. Beat until light and fluffy, 3 minutes longer. Using a wooden spoon, vigorously beat the buttercream for 30 seconds to deflate any air bubbles. Then spread buttercream evenly over the cooled brownie.
For the assembly:
Cut brownies right in the pan. Or to achieve nice clean cuts, gently lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil as handles. Cut off the outer edge of the brownies for really clean cuts, leaving about an 8″ x 12″ rectangle of brownie remaining. Then cut into 2″ x 2″ pieces, wiping the knife clean after each cut. Press a chocolate covered espresso bean into the butterceam, at the center of each cut brownie.
These brownies keep well refrigerated, and could easily be prepared the day before serving. Take brownies out of refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes prior to serving, to let the buttercream soften a bit.
Source: Brownies adapted from “Brownies” recipe in How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. Mocha Buttercream and overall concept from a farmgirl’s dabbles.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!