Chocoffee Fudge Brownies
Friday night with my "big" off on a Scout camp and both my "littles" in bed early, I decided to look for a little inspiration bake for Sunday - International Coffee Day. (A day which this mommy definitely celebrates)
Pinterest is usually my favourite option to hunt for new recipes but tonight I decided to page through some of my much neglected but very special recipe books.
"The chocolate box" was a wedding gift, there is something so special about unearthing something like this and opening it up to find a hand written message. It instantly took me back to the morning after our wedding where we sat excitedly on the floor opening our special gifts, still exhausted from the night before;) It also has one of my absolute favourite brownie recipes in it which I have altered with a coffee twist and white chocolate crumble.
Pre-heat your oven to 180C
170g Butter (I prefer salted as it helps break the sweetness)
460g cream cheese (I love Lancewood)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
500g caster sugar
4 large eggs
4 tbsp cocoa powder
10ml baking powder
80g pecan nuts (chopped into chunks, not too finely)
Coffee Fudge Icing Ingredients
8 tbsp butter (once again salted)
190g icing sugar
20ml espresso or strong coffee
10ml full cream milk
3 tbsp cocoa powder
Caramelised White Chocolate Crumble Ingredients
200g white chocolate
Line the bottom of a deep baking pan with wax paper, my pan is 22cm x 30cm, I also line the sides with a bit of butter to prevent as much sticking as possible.
In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla essence and 450g of the castor sugar. Add the eggs one at a time beating to maintain a smooth creamy consistency. Fold in the cocoa, flour, baking powder and lastly the peacan nuts.
In a separate bowl cream the remaining castor sugar, cream cheese and vanilla essence resulting in a velvety smooth texture.
Spread half of the brownie batter into the baking pan ensuring that the batter touches the sides of the pan to prevent the cream cheese mixture from oozing down while in the oven. Next spread the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter, this velvety vanilla mixture adds a delicious tangy contrast to the bitter and sweetness of the chocolate. Lastly top with the remaining brownie batter, gently spread the mixture, covering the vanilla cream cheese. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, the top should be crisp and flaky and moist in the inside. If your oven tends to be warmer check after 30 minutes to prevent over baking. Set aside and allow to cool in the pan.
For the fudge sauce heat the butter, cocoa powder, icing sugar, milk and espresso in a saucepan over a low heat. I used a Nespresso Caramelito pod (for an extra hint of caramel)on a short cup setting, however 20ml of any strong coffee or espresso will do just perfectly. Once all the ingredients are combined and the sugar is dissolved remove from the heat and pour over the cooled brownies. The fudge sauce is extremely rich and chocolatey, it takes extreme willpower not to lick the bowl!
Last but definitely not least the white chocolate crumble! This is something I actually learnt while watching an episode on Master Chef and I am addicted! I could eat these straight out of the oven, no brownies needed!
Break the white chocolate pieces into a a small bowl and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave, stir and return for a further 30 seconds. The bowl should by then almost be warm enough to just continue stirring until all the chocolate is melted. Depending on your microwave it may need a few more seconds to get it all liquid and smooth. Once the chocolate is all melted pour into a small casserole or baking pan and place it into the pre-heated oven. The temperature for this can remain at 180⁰C. As chocolate has a high sugar content you need to keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
After 5 minutes remove from the oven and with a spoon or spatula scrape the chocolate from the bottom of the casserole. It will start to form a sort of crumble but should still be pale in colour. Return the chocolate to the oven still keeping a close eye for burning.
You will repeat the scraping process and return it to the oven every few mintutes until the chocolate caramelizes and is light golden brown in colour.
The caramelized chocolate crumble can then be sprinkled over the chocolate fudge brownies either before cutting and plating or after. They are also so delicious and such a treat sprinkled over a cappuccino, some sink to the bottom of your mug and add a sweet surprise indulgence to that last sip...
The caramalized chocolate crumble also makes a gorgeous and indulgent topping over ice cream, waffles and other cakes.
Enjoy this sweet treat, it is a definite favourite in our home!