Double Chocolate Espresso Bars

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I would just like to take a moment to espress my love to you.  With espresso.  Chocolate and espresso.  

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Doesn’t that pair just sound like love to you? 

Well, it sure makes my heart go a little faster!

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Yes, coffee and chocolate are two of my daily vices – although you could look on the bright side and see them rather as antioxidant & endorphin-delivering virtues.  And I think that together, they practically become a love poem.  Not the corny, roses-are-red kind of poem either... this is a real-deal sonnet to deliciousness.

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Such sweet poetry needs to be, as per usual, be outfitted with a lovely little envelope.  So I put chocolate and espresso into a sweet package of whole wheat flour with a touch of butter and sugar – just enough to give it the soft texture and flavor it deserves, but not so much that the flavors don’t shine.

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Finally, I sealed it with a smooth layer of really good dark chocolate, placed my signature decorative touch on top, and now it’s all yours!

I do hope you like it.  No, I’m not blushing… It’s just warm with the oven on…

Happy Valentine’s day to my favorite people! (Yep, you’re one of them!)

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Double Chocolate Espresso Bars

¾ c. whole wheat flour (pastry flour if possible) (120 g)

½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder – Dutch process if available (45 g)

3 T. instant espresso powder

¼ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

¼ c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 oz semisweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate bar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

¼ c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

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5 oz high quality dark chocolate

1 tsp. instant espresso powder

½ tsp. canola oil

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F & spray/grease with coconut oil a 9 X 9” baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour through salt & set aside. 

In a small sauce pan, heat the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring, until it melts together.  Allow to cool slightly – just a minute or two off the heat will do.  Temper the beaten eggs by mixing a tiny bit of the melted chocolate into the egg while mixing.  Add the rest, continuing to stir as you pour in the rest of the chocolate.

Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and yogurt, mixing until well combined.  Add this to the flour mixture and mix gently until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly on the bottom of the baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes and check that the middle is almost firm.  You don’t want it to over bake in the oven as it will finish cooking after being removed from the oven.  If it does need more time, bake 3-5 minutes longer or until done.

Remove from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack until completely cooled.

Fill a small saucepan with 1” of water and bring to a simmer.  Set a small metal bowl on top of the saucepan (not touching the water) and add in the chocolate, oil, and espresso powder.  Stir the chocolate just until it melts into smooth liquid and remove from the heat.

Spread the chocolate evenly on top of the cooled espresso brownie in the pan. 

If you’re like me, you might like to do a little decorating before it cools.  You can get fancy with it and add anything you like while the chocolate is still melty – I like fun colored sprinkles, but espresso beans, chopped nuts, M&Ms, dried berries, or white chocolate chips might be other fun ideas!

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