I used to hate coffee.
Strangely though, I just hated coffee itself, liquid, in a mug, yet loved everything else about it. My favourite smell in the world was and still is the scent of coffee. I would leisurely walk down the coffee aisle at the supermarket, taking a deep breath around the fresh coffee grinder, knowing full well I had no business being around something I knew I would never use. One of my old boyfriends had a dad who really loved his coffee, and I would always make sure I visited the kitchen to smell his latest beans.
I even loved any sweets that were coffee flavoured. Coffee candies, coffee ice cream, mocha shortbread, espresso cheesecake.. stick coffee in a baked good and I was a sucker for it. Sadly, even with all this coffee love, if you were to hand me a steaming cup of coffee, the first taste would make my face pucker in disgust. I’ve been known to liken iced black coffee to “slurping on a black hole”.
University late nights of work and studying changed that. Well, some of it.
I began to drink coffee out of necessity. I’d pump it full of sugar and milk to mask its bitter flavour, but thankfully gulp down the caffeine. The late nights continued as the norm and the amount of sugar and milk required slowly decreased over time. I was getting used to coffee, but I don’t think I had developed any sort of real affection for it yet.
Then I met Seattle coffee.
I don’t think I ever really had experienced good coffee before Seattle coffee. I’m not talking about Starbucks here, I had Starbucks back in Canada. I mean the smaller shops who really delve into the roasting process and whose baristas are more akin to precise dancers than coffee brewers as they work the machines. I’m talking about the Victrolas, the Fuels, the Caffe Vitas and the Espresso Vivaces. Oh, Vivace, you’re the one that I met first and will always be my favourite. Having coffee there for the first time was like having a piece of Scharffen Berger chocolate after eating Hershey bars all your life. I still don’t drink coffee black, but I now understand why some people do.
Developing my love for coffee only developed my love for sweet coffee concoctions even further. Especially when coffee and chocolate partner up together. Oh yes, those are special moments.
The sweetness of the white chocolate against the darkness of a coffee touched brownie is deadly. The cinnamon just adds that last step of whimsy to really poke fun at the cappuccino.
These brownies are really something wonderful for the coffee lover.
And maybe it’s just the coffee lover in me speaking, but they really go fantastic with coffee.
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
White Chocolate Ganache
- 6 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
- 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Brownies: Preheat oven to 325°F. Fold 16-inch-long piece of foil to 8×16-inch strip; place in 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan, leaving overhang on 2 sides. Repeat with another sheet of foil in opposite direction, lining pan completely. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
- Stir butter and chocolate in heavy large saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time. Whisk in espresso powder, vanilla, and salt; sift flour over and stir to blend well. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
- Bake brownies until puffed and dry-looking and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist batter attached, about 35 minutes; cool completely in pan on rack.
- Ganache: Place white chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate in bowl. Let stand 30 seconds, then stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. If necessary, microwave on low power in 10-second intervals until white chocolate is melted completely. Chill until ganache is thick but still slightly pourable, about 25 minutes.
- Using foil as aid, lift brownies from pan. Turn over onto sheet of parchment paper; peel off foil.
- Pour ganache onto center of brownies; spread to edges (some may drip over). Sprinkle with cinnamon. Chill until ganache is set, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)
- Cut brownies into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 5 or 6 pieces, or cut each strip into 6 triangles.