_MG_6104 - Version 2

January 11, 2016
At Home with Friends


Espresso Brownies with Espresso Ganache

These brownies should be marked “For Adults Only”. They are deep, rich, dark chocolate with an intense hit of espresso. There is espresso powder in the brownie and in the ganache frosting.

You don’t usually think about a chocolate dessert at Thanksgiving but this is the perfect last bite to follow those traditional Thanksgiving flavors and finish the meal. I cut them into tiny 2-bite squares and it’s like having a shot of espresso after dinner.

The intense chocolate flavor comes from a combination of unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder. The richness comes from the sour cream. The abundance of toasted walnuts compliments all the other ingredients.

I used Maida Heatter’s espresso brownie recipe but tweaked the instructions and added my own espresso ganache.

Also, because Thanksgiving is so labor intensive, it’s imperative to have some desserts that can be made several weeks ahead. I bake this and cool it, and carefully wrap the entire slab and freeze it whole. I frost and cut it up the day of Thanksgiving.

The brownies stay super moist and the ganache is rich and decadent. The last touch of salt adds to the “Adults Only” caveat.

I loved the unexpected surprise of serving chocolate for dessert on Thanksgiving. They disappeared in a flash so I guess my friends like surprises too.


EVENT: Thanksgiving

YIELDS: Approximately 48 1 1/2” Squares


2 1/2 cups toasted walnuts

5 ozs unsweetened chocolate

6 ozs unsalted butter

4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 teaspoons instant espresso

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup full fat sour cream

For garnish:

Espresso ganache (see recipe below)

Sea salt


13 X 9 X 2” pan lined with foil with 2” overhang

Double boiler

Small offset spatula


1. Butter the foil lined pan and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Chop walnuts into large chunks and set aside.

4. Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and espresso powder and set aside.

5. Place the butter and unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over medium heat and cook until the chocolate and butter are melted. Stir until smooth and set aside.

6. Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs to mix. Carefully add the sugar and beat together for 15 minutes.

7. Add the vanilla and sour cream to the egg mixture and mix briefly.

8. Add the chocolate mixture and the flour mixture and beat on low speed, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times just until thoroughly combined. Don’t over mix!

9. Remove bowl and by hand fold in the walnuts. Turn into the prepared pan and smooth using a small offset spatula.

10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

11. Remove the pan from the oven and let stand 5 minutes.

12. Cover the entire pan with a rack and invert the pan and rack. The pan should lift off, the foil should also lift off.

13. Cool the slab completely and then carefully wrap it in saran wrap and foil. Freeze for up to two months.



EVENT: Thanksgiving

YIELDS: 1 1/2 Cups


9 ozs bittersweet chocolate, broken into 3/4” pieces

3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder


1. Put the chocolate into heatproof bowl.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles appear. Stir in the espresso powder and dissolve.

3. Immediately pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute.

4. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth. Let the ganache stand at room temperature several hours until cool and firm enough to spread.

5. Take frozen brownie slab out of freezer. Place on a cutting board.

6. Slather with ganache and sprinkle with sea salt.

7. Cut into small bites. Any leftovers (as if!) can be frozen.


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