Fudgy Brownies with Cappuccino Frosting / by Chelsea Zwieg

Sometimes I don't even know who I am. Not in the what is the meaning of life kind of way, more in the I always thought brownies with frosting was a terrible idea but now I guess I love it kind of way. I have always been really pretty offended by already rich brownies topped with a thick layer of super sweet frosting. It is very rare for me, the lover of all things that contain sugar, to declare anything too sweet, but just looking at that kind of made my teeth hurt. But then the other day, I was looking through a couple of cookbooks and all I wanted was a super chocolatey brownie with a respectable layer of not-too-sweet coffee frosting. It wasn't even in the cookbooks, it just appeared in my mind and settled there like the nagging dessert identity crisis that it was. Which leads me back to the soul searching question: who am I?? A person who can really get on board with some frosted brownies, apparently. But only, only, only if they are done right. 

So let's talk about the key to a non-cavity inducing frosted brownie. COFFEE. You don't need me to tell you that chocolate and coffee is a genius combination in any situation. But coffee also makes for some very not-in-your-face frosting with a creaminess and flavor that is just too good to be true. I also used my all time favorite brownie recipe which uses unsweetened chocolate instead of cocoa powder. I have a favorite cocoa powder brownie as well (gotta have all the bases covered when all you do is bake 24/7), but this one is the fudgiest, densest, most chocolatey brownie I have ever come across. I overbaked mine just slightly, which made them a little crumbly (*TEARS*FOR*DAYS*), but when I have made them in the past, just slightly underbaked, it was like biting into a cross between fudge and brownie and I just want it all over again.

Now don't get the idea in your head that these beautiful pieces of chocolate coffee heaven aren't sweet. It's a brownie covered in frosting, so let's keep things in perspective. I'm just saying that they are manageably sweet. A sweet that I actually want to be happening rather than a level of sweet that knocks you to the floor in a weeping pile of sugar rush aftermath. They also got full approval at book club, so that's obviously very important. Which reminds me, I don't think I've told you about book club yet! Since reading and talking are my two very favorite activities, the idea of book club has always been right up my alley. I just figured I would have to wait 50 more years until I was a bitter old biddy cozying up around the fire with all of the other old ladies who finally want to sit around and talk about books now that they've exhausted all other excitement in their lives. But not so! My sister, her boyfriend and I have apparently all shared this secret desire to be in a book club and so we started our own where we get to sit around, drink wine and talk about Lauren Graham's book all night. We decided to name it Book Buzzed (gotta work the wine angle) and it's the greatest thing ever. Now I just need to find people to start a cookbook club with me (my other secret dream) and all will be right in my world of being the most elderly 24 year old around. But really, someone start a cookbook club with me PRONTO. 

Fudgy Brownies with Cappuccino Frosting

Brownie base adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Makes an 8x8 pan

| Ingredients | 

For the brownies: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla 
  • 2/3 cup flour

For the frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp. instant coffee

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides. 
  • Melt butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a small spatula to smooth it to the edges. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  • Meanwhile, beat the butter for the frosting in a stand mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine, scraping the bowl as you go. Add the heavy cream and mix well. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in a couple tsp. of warm water. Add the coffee to the frosting and mix to combine. 
  • Once the brownies have cooled completely, remove them from the pan using the parchment overhang. Frost the brownies and cut. Store in an airtight container.