It was my turn to bring snacks to a class I’m taking this semester on Detective novels. Typically, people bring various kinds of sweet snacks, so I decided to make a variation of Espresso Kahlúa Buttercream Chunk Bars from A Baker’s Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookiesby Dede Wilson (pages 98-99). This is a wonderful cookbook for anyone addicted to chocolate or chocolate chip cookies. Although I haven’t tried them all, I just don’t see how you could go wrong with any of the recipes in the book.
My endeavor was fairly close to the recipe given in Wilson’s book, with only a few changes. Since I had to bring enough for 20 or so participants, I made a large batch of Kahlúa Chocolate Bars. Here is my variation:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup melted unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
5 rounded tsp instant coffee
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
5 ounces of chopped semisweet baking chocolate squares
6 ounces of chopped unsweetened baking chocolate squares
2 Tbl Kahlúa liqueur
1½ sticks softened unsalted butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbl+ soy milk
3 Tbl Kahlúa liqueur
3 tsp regular instant coffee
Extra Kahlúa for brushing over baked Kahlúa Chocolate Bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 15×10 inch pan
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Keep aside.
In large mixing bowl beat melted butter and brown sugar together until well combined.
Add instant coffee, vanilla, and beaten eggs, blending thoroughly.
Stir in chopped chocolate pieces.
Add flour mixture to above and mix until just blended.
Spread evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 30 minutes — until a light golden brown and edges have begun to pull away from sides of the pan.
Test with toothpick inserted in center.
Place on rack to cool.
Brush top with Kahlúa.
When cooled spread frosting evenly over brownies. I left a part of the pan without frosting for those who don’t care for frosting on their brownies.
Cut into bars.
(I didn’t use parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, but after baking this I recommend putting parchment paper on the bottom of the pan for easier removal of the bars)
RESULTS: These were moist, delicious, and satisfying for any sweet tooth.
I must admit that, at first, I was disappointed when I cut the bars and removed them from the pan, placing them on a serving plate. I thought they weren’t done enough! But, too late, since I had already frosted them. (And, yes, when I took the pan from the oven the brownies were a beautiful golden brown, had pulled away from the sides of the pan, and my toothpick came out clean). They just seemed too moist, plus the stickiness made them hard to handle. The bars did not want to come out of the pan in clean, neat little squares. Nevertheless, I managed to get them out, tidied them up, and took them to class.
Surprise: Everyone loved them! People insisted they weren’t too sweet (another thing I worried about – 2 cups of sugar!) and just moist enough! Yeah! Just goes to show: you never know. But, really, I guess brownies are better moist rather than dry; and who wants a non-sweet dessert? So, it all worked out in the end.