I love baking and used to bake treats all the time, but I can't even remember the last time I made a dessert before last weekend. I actually don't eat dessert myself that often, but I like trying new recipes and sharing treats with others; the problem is that everyone I know seems to be on diets or trying to eat healthier lately (which is a good thing!), and there aren't really any big dessert-worthy celebrations in the summer, so I haven't had an excuse to bake in a long time!
This past weekend though, I had a sudden urge to bake something so I decided to stop waiting for an excuse and just make something to give away to the boyfriend's coworkers (after trying one myself, of course!). I was in the mood for a warm and comforting dessert but wasn't quite ready to break out the apples and pumpkin yet (though now that it's cooled off, that will be up next!), so I decided to go with brownies. Everyone loves brownies, and I had all the ingredients for these latte bars I'd had bookmarked for a while, so I went right to work!
The original recipe for these bars was called 'latte bars', but since they're made up of coffee and chocolate, and mine turned out much more like brownies than bars, I'm calling them mocha brownies. They're chewy and dense and everything you'd want a brownie to be (i.e. not too fudgey and not too cakey - just in between), with coffee in both the brownie, frosting, and the chocolate coffee beans on top, giving them the perfect amount of subtle coffee flavour. I topped mine with a cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream because I think everything is better with cream cheese!
I'm not a huge chocolate lover but I do love coffee and I loved these bars, and so did the coworkers who were kind enough to help me eat them all! I know the pictures are terrible (it was pretty dark out when I got time to take a few pics), but trust me that these are way better than I've made them look!
Hope you all have a great weekend!
Frosted Mocha Brownies
Adapted from Land O Lakes
Makes one 8x8-inch pan; can be sliced into 16-20 brownies
For the Brownies:
1 tablespoon instant coffee (+ 2 teaspoons hot water)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
8 oz (one brick) cream cheese, softened (I used light cream cheese)
3/4 – 1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tablespoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16-20 chocolate covered coffee/espresso beans (or more, if desired)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray (I lined mine with parchment paper instead for easy removal after – use whatever method you like for brownies).
Prepare the brownies: Combine instant coffee with hot water and mix until dissolved in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. In another separate bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and coffee mixture until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together with a spatula until just combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 23-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Prepare the frosting: Combine instant coffee with vanilla extract and mix to combine in a small bowl. Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add icing sugar and mix until combined. Add coffee-vanilla mixture and mix until combined. Taste and add more sugar if needed (I don’t like it to be too sweet). Keep frosting in fridge until bars have completely cooled.
Once bars have cooled, spread frosting over them (you might not need all the frosting), and slice into bars. Top each bar with a chocolate coffee bean, or chop multiple coffee beans and sprinkle overtop.