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Espresso-Infused Dark Chocolate Brownies {And Orange Essence}

I have a confession to make.

Are you ready for this one?

It’ll make you gasp and feel sorry for me at the same time.  

And think something is seriously wrong with me.

And might explain why I’ve not blogged in one week.

I’m on a two week sabbatical from café. All things coffee. Espresso included.

Go ahead. Shed a tear for me.

There is absolutely no reason for the break other than the mental challenge of separating from something that kickstarts my mornings and which I’m addicted to.The very aroma that awakens every single one of my senses. The cup of blackness I stare into for a few seconds with  focused admiration and borderline ‘awe’ before making it café con leche.

Yes, my beloved espresso and I are taking a break.

I woke up last Sunday and said “Hey, I think I can do this. Why not? There’s no way I can wake up and the 2nd thought after prayer is ‘where’s my cafécito?‘”

I took the plunge last Tuesday so I’m going on seven full days. Fortunately, a good friend who’s equally addicted, though I’ve yet to convert him over to the super dark side, offered to take the break with me. What a sweet thing to do, no? I tease him because he drinks drip… and I can’t imagine breaking from drip is all that complicated. I on the other hand have whirlwind moments of wanting to kick the fast and just become one with it. I feel like I’m going to crumble in the middle of the day. And then I ping my friend for reassurance.

But, I’m committed to this thing.

So much, that when my baking friend Alicia, AKA cookie crumb snatcher called me about wanting to make some espresso-infused brownies, I wasn’t fazed. I wasn’t going to cave to the two things I love passionately. Oh yes, because I’m also cleaning up my diet from all the holiday gluttony.

I quickly invited her over and we got to working {and conjecturing}. First, some brainstorming on how we could really infuse the flavor of certain ingredients. We wanted to enhance the espresso (is this even possible?) but not by adding it after it was done.

I scanned my kitchen counter, laid my eyes on some citrus fruits and a dim lightbulb went off; for both of us.

We pulled out the coffee grinder, added some orange zest for some memorable citrus essence and few other things. That did the trick… I couldn’t resist making espresso. Someone had to taste it. But not I. Boom. All good there. This may be a new way of making espresso for me. We added the ground espresso to the flour and the rest turned into dark, chocolatey, perfectly tangy and flakey top goodness.

All I could do was stare and smell, though. None for me. There’s never been a time in the history of this blog where I cook something and I actually forgo it. Most of this is about being able to translate to you the experience and taste, right. Well, just this once in the foreseeable future, we’ll go with my friends awesome satisfaction and pleasure in eating my share. My mother co-signed which made it more tempting not to cumplir my own promises.

It’s a lifestyle change I’m going for here. It’s really not about the espresso, rather what it represents. An addiction. A ridiculously good and painless one. There could be worse things to be addicted to.

But Lord knows I can’t wait to break this fast next week. Said partner in misery and I are toasting together… I’ll bring some brownies with me. Perhaps I’ll glaze those with salted espresso ganache! ADM.

Yes, that will make these two weeks seem all worth it.

*I’ll post the recipe tomorrow. I need to tweak some notes. We sure made a mess in the kitchen! 

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups dark cocoa
  • 1 1/4 butter, melted
  • 1.5 tsps. espresso powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 oz. extra bold espresso*


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.  In medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs, adding cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, liquid espresso, and vanilla extract until smooth. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine.  Heat another 30 seconds or so, or until mixture is hot (roughly110°F to 120°F). Make sure it’s not  bubbling.  Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth.  Add the flour, orange zest and chips, again stirring until smooth.  Spread brownie mix into baking pan. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick. Brownies are done in center if pick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

 *For brewed espresso:
Make espresso on stovetop espresso maker as you normally would only adding 4 Tbsp. less water. Do not sweeten.

60 thoughts on “Espresso-Infused Dark Chocolate Brownies {And Orange Essence}

  1. Yes, I must admit I have a caffeine addiction too. I normally drink drip in the morning to start my day. I admire your will power because I don’t think I would have the same restraint.

  2. The espresso just makes that chocolate pop! Kudos to you for making a New Year sacrifice. Bet you could go longer if you wanted to! But then you wouldn’t get to eat one of those brownies…You should freeze one and pull it out when you celebrate with a cup.

  3. You? Mot drinking espresso?? Are you sure you’re okay? My friend, I don’t know how you’re doing it. Kudos to you. The brownies look heavenly. I know id eat the entire pan on my own! Will wait for the recipe.

  4. OMG Bren, you kill me every time with your recipes! Move to LA already so I can have amazing house parties catered by you!

  5. I can not believe you didn’t eat any brownies. These look really good. Keep up the good work and stay SHINING!

  6. Hi Bren!

    Just wondering if you forgot to include the butter in the ingredients list? The directions mention the butter, but not the list. If so, what’s the amount?

    The brownies in the photos look dynamite and I’m dying to make them! 🙂

  7. Thanks, all! I’d love for you try them out. They’re ridiculously good. I only make them once a quarter b/c I don’t know how to control myself and will have eaten the entire pan before sundown! 🙂

    Grace: yes i did! oops! Great catch. Use a 1 1/4 cup of butter. I just updated the ingredients list. Thanks a ton! 2 and 3 eyes are always so much better 🙂 Enjoy!

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