A couple of weeks ago someone on Twitter casually mentioned espresso brownies and I couldn't think of anything else for a few days.
Unfortunately I couldn't DO anything about this brilliant idea because I have small children, who tend to eat most of the fruits of my oven. I can't deny they are familiar with the taste of, say, a mocha cupcake, but a tray of espresso brownies for just the family seemed a step too far.
Fortunately the Swiss Wulle Festival happened along, providing me with a great excuse for baking. I brought cookies to Fibre Flurry one time, for the vendors. Vendors at a busy show are pretty much guaranteed to be exhausted and starving – working those stands in a crowd is HARD. Oh and vendors at a quiet show are likely to be slightly less exhausted, but they'll also have less adrenaline to push them through, and may well be weeping on the inside if they suspect they aren't covering their costs. Either way, bringing baked goods in the afternoon is a random act of great kindness and will earn you major karma points. (Probably also some very confused and slightly suspicious looks. Too bad. It's still a good thing.)
I adapted my standard brownie recipe – a gorgeous and foolproof recipe shamelessly stolen from Mel, aka Yogicknitter, mildly adapted for my own preferences and laziness, and regularly bastardised as the whim takes me. Up till now my favourite variation involved pecans and maple syrup, but I think this version leaves that one in the dust. Because espresso! brownies! And biscuits, partly to soak up any extra liquid from the coffee, and partly because why the hell not.
Pics would have been nice, but oh well – you know what brownies look like.
Espresso biscuit brownies
200g plain (dark) chocolate (for one tray I used half white chocolate, because that's what I had – still great)
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
90g plain flour
pinch of salt (unless using salted butter)
100g plain biscuits, eg petit beurre or digestives, broken into chunks
1 shot of espresso
Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and add caster sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Stir thoroughly and add flour, salt and coffee, stirring after each one. Finally add the biscuits.
Pour into a standard (16x20cm) brownie pan lined with parchment paper (mine are all non-stick; if yours isn't, rub with butter first) and bake in the middle of the oven at 160ºC for half an hour, until the top is crackling promisingly and a skewer comes out sticky but not wet. Rest outside the stove until thoroughly cooled.
NB: my oven runs hot. I don't preheat, I simply switch the oven on when I stick the brownies in and wait half an hour; you may need a little extra time, and you might prefer to preheat so that you can control the timing better. You might also prefer your brownies a bit more cooked, especially if they are to be transported. I'm just a big fan of sticky brownies, and make sure I have plenty of paper napkins on hand.