Friday, August 3, 2012

Espresso Mousse Brownies

by Darla

I rode my bike somewhere not around the block for the first time the other day.

It was terrifying a little scary.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t actually ever have my own bike. I either borrowed one from one of my sisters, or I borrowed one from a friend. They all usually needed theirs, though, so we tended to just walk everywhere.

Three years ago, the Hubster bought me my very first bike. I know…I got my first bike at 29…weird. I was as excited about it as a 9 year old. Really. I would make him ride around the neighborhood with me all the time.

Then all our stuff got packed up and I didn’t ride my bike for almost 2 1/2 years.

We were reunited last week when our household goods finally arrived. :)  

It doesn’t always have the basket up front, but it’s pretty. So I hadta show you. :)

I love my bike so much. You have no idea.

But I may never ride it out of my neighborhood again.

Okay, first of all, it’s exhausting. I anticipated this, of course, especially since we have hills around us, but seriously. Exhausting.

Second of all, railroad tracks and storm grates are the devil. Railroad tracks are painfully bumpy, but storm drains are utterly terrifying. It doesn’t matter that I would have to be shrunken with a ray gun to fall into one, I’m still convinced that they’re all going to swallow me and my bike up, never to be seen again. Except by the sewer creatures that stalk the night. Or maybe the as yet unseen Morlocks. Either way, I’m doomed.

I’ve been telling myself that if I hadn’t also participated in a particularly brutal Zumba class that morning, I would have done better at this ride, but I’m really just trying to make myself feel better. The real truth is that between the stress of having thousands of pounds of speeding steel whizzing by my left side, the terror at inexplicably falling through an impossibly small storm grate, and my utter lack of experience in using the proper gear at the right time…well, things just didn’t go too well. I had to console myself with a second frosty Starbucks drink, on top of my usual weekly treat.

And then I went home and made some brownies as a reward. If I’m going to be captured and eaten alive by Morlocks, I might as well fatten up for them.

The brownies in this recipe are my very favorite, and the base of every brownie recipe I make. They’re simple, fast, and taste as wonderful as any complicated recipe out there. Since the brownies are so very simple, I wanted the mousse to match. In order for this to be as easy as the brownies, I turned to a new favorite recipe of mine, Grasshopper Pie from my friend Heather over at Sprinkle Bakes.

I made Heather’s pie back in May to celebrate the release of her cookbook, and it is so wonderful! I loved how incredibly easy it was, so I tweaked it to suit my needs for these decadent brownies. Some melted marshmallows, a little espresso…

…and some fluffy whipped cream made the perfect espresso mousse to top my yummy brownies. The best thing about this mousse, after how delicious it is, is that it literally takes five minutes to makes. It’s fantastic!

Once the brownies are cool, just spread the mousse evenly over the top of them, smoothing with an offset spatula.

I wanted to add some texture to this recipe, and since I’m completely obsessed with these crunchy little dark chocolate covered bits of biscuit from Valrhona, I went crazy.

It took most of a package to cover the top of these brownies, but it’ll be soooooo worth it.

If you don’t have access to these, you can substitute mini chocolate chips, or another darker chocolate garnish that has a nice bite or crunch. Whatever you choose, sprinkle them on as soon as you have the mousse smooth, then chill everything for at least an hour.

I made these a few days ago because I was really craving something rich and chocolaty, and they fit the bill perfectly, without being overly rich. The variety of textures between the firm brownies, the light mousse, and the crunchy candies is perfect, and the flavors compliment each other wonderfully, without being overpowering in any way. Even with a 30 minute bake time, plus cooling and chilling times, these were done in just a few hours. The actual work time was only about 10 minutes. Seriously. You could easily make these brownies the morning that you intend to serve them and have them ready by lunchtime. Plus, they keep beautifully, so they can be made a day or two in advance and kept chilled in an airtight container.

Make these at your own peril…I promise you’ll want to keep them all for yourself. Enjoy! :)

Espresso Mousse Brownies
Makes 1 8×8-inch pan

Ingredients

FOR THE BROWNIES
1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (64 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE MOUSSE
25 large (or 250 mini) marshmallows (130 grams)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) strong espresso
1 tablespoon (15 ml) créme de cacao, optional (if omitted, replace with another tablespoon if espresso)
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream

Whipped Cream, optional

To make the brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Grease and flour and 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the espresso powder until dissolved. Stir in the sugar until combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Whisk in the dry ingredients until combined and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow brownies to cool completely before topping with mousse.

To make the mousse: In a large, heatproof bowl, microwave the marshmallows until very puffy, about 45 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir until they have lost their shape and completely melted.

Stir the espresso and créme de cacao into the marshmallows until smooth and uniform. Allow the mixture to cool, and whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

Fold the whipped cream into the marshmallow mixture until smooth.

Assemble: Spoon the mixture evenly over the cooled brownies, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Completely cover the top with Valrhona Crunchy Pearls, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, or other garnish. Chill until set (about an hour).

Top with whipped cream and garnish with espresso beans, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Darla, Mousse adapted from Grasshopper Pie Filling by Sprinkle Bakes

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Becca - cookie jar treats August 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

This looks so heavenly! I so want a peice right now, and I don’t even like coffee flavors! The little chocolate biscuit pearls look so tempting too. I can just imagine the differenced in texture and my mouth of watering :)

By the way, that’s a really cute bike you have <3 I've forgotten how to ride a bike… and I'm 18 I don't think I've actually riden a bike since I was around 10… I like walking much better :)

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2 Mary Anne August 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

Coffee & chocolate? Yes, please!

I used to ride my bike everywhere when I was a kid… Now, riding on the street scares me! I think there are a lot more cars on the road now… I wish I was comfortable letting my daughter ride more. I used to take myself to softball practice, to my friends houses, all over town when I was her age…

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3 Sarah @ Miss CandiQuik August 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

This sounds like THE perfect dessert to complement my coffee. Wonderful photos!

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4 Erin @ Texanerin Baking August 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

Oh my goodness. This looks insanely amazing. I pinned it before I even read it. It just looked that good! I love the flavor combo. I need to make more coffee flavored desserts! I don’t have a bike but have been thinking about it for the last few days. But bah, it’s too dangerous around here. It’d be nice though, especially since we don’t have a car. :) And I love those chocolate bits! So cute.

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5 Vera Zecevic August 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

I like coffee desserts! It looks great! Perfect decorated! I hope it is tasty to because I’m planning to make it :)

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6 Megan Waltz August 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

Seriously? Looks SO good. And I have been picking up those dang chocolate perles from Valrohan and putting them in my car and then taking them out because WHY do I need them? Well, now I have a reason. I do NEED them.

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7 Tiffany @ Fizzy Party August 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I don’t like coffee, the taste, love the smell, I know, and I’m a Portlander. Even though I’m not a coffee fan I bet I would LOVE the smell of these baking :) mmm mmmm and your picture looks delish! hmm, I could always tweak it and leave out the coffee bit. I love those Valrhona pearls. I need to hit up Whole Foods and get me some. So CUTE!
I just got a bike not too long ago too! I know what you mean by the storm drains. I always think, the grates going to fall in right when I bike over it, ahhhh. You’re bike is so cute! Perfect for the Farmer’s Market. If you lived in Beaverton we could bike up to the market and shop :)

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8 Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker August 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

These are absolutely beautiful brownies! Love the mousse.

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9 Sarah August 3, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I just HAD to see this on the first day of my smoothie diet.
Bye bye diet.

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10 Sara Redlin August 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Perhaps there’s a mistake in the # of mini marshmallows? 25 big is definitely not 250 minis….and by mini, you mean regular, right?

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11 Darla August 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm

No mistake. :) Actually, 25 large marshmallows are equivalent to about 250 mini marshmallows. Yes, I mean regular sized large marshmallows to regular sized mini marshmallows. I’ve made the recipe both ways and it comes out identical, but you can also find this information on Jet Puffed marshmallow bags. The general consensus is 7 to 10 minis to 1 large…I prefer nice round numbers so 250 is easy to remember in reference to 25.

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12 Poornima August 3, 2012 at 11:28 pm

That looks so good. Love the mousse and the chocolate bits!

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13 Amanda August 4, 2012 at 8:22 am

Wow these brownies look so good!

And your bike is so cute. I’m always so jealous of the crafts you post here since I have zero craft talent. Can you come over to my house and make pretty things for me? :)

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14 Lacey - Small Town Cookie August 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

Wow, those look so yummy. I do love chocolate and coffee treats.

Your bicycle is way too stinking cute. You will fit right in in P-town. Can’t wait to do some riding! :)
And if it all goes horribly wrong we can just ditch the bikes and find a happy hour somewhere.

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15 heather August 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm

This is simply genius my friend! Not much effort to make and they look so fancy! And I just replenished my stock of Valhrona chocolate pearls. I am totally convinced we are soul sisters. I hope that didn’t sound creepy.

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16 Danijela August 6, 2012 at 1:54 am

Well, these is just amazing. Pictures are beautiful, but this recipe is even more amazing. Great way to use coffee!

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17 Lori @ RecipeGirl August 6, 2012 at 7:07 am

ohhhh, these look perfect! I need some of those little chocolate pearls too… they put this brownie over the top!

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18 Andreja August 6, 2012 at 4:31 pm

It looks so great, delicious
Andreja

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19 vanessalillian August 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

The first time I encountered the concept of mousse in a cakey-brownie situation it was a relatively light cake base, the middle layer was rich cheese cake and the top was mousse. The mousse and the cake base made the whole dessert lighter and not at all overwhelming as cheese cake can be on its own. I love the idea of doing the same with brownies :)

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20 sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more August 7, 2012 at 6:46 am

firstly, I so get you on biking. I used to ride every day as a kid, now I am lucky if I go once a year. But your bike is so pretty:) And these brownies totally make almost killing yourself on a bike worth it.

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21 SweetsugarBelle August 8, 2012 at 12:53 am

T

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22 SweetsugarBelle August 8, 2012 at 12:55 am

Oops! I got all punchy! These are GORGEOUS…I still can’t ride my bike without both hands on the handlebars, lol! Killer when you have an itch!

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23 Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel August 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

OHMAIGOSH, this is gorgeous! Your pictures are stunning and I totally want to eat all those cutie little pearls on top.

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24 Rachel August 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Wow! That looks amazing! haha can I have a slice? or three? :)

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25 Amanda F August 12, 2012 at 6:53 am

Looks so so good! Must make!!!
Where did you get those cute half wood spoons!?

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26 Clémontine August 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I just made these few days ago, and it was DELICIOUS !

The mousse was just perfect, and sooo easy to make ! But I had some trouble making it because I didn’t have a micro wave to melt the marshmallows…But I managed to melt them anyway and it worked !

But next time, I’ll use a smaller pan to have a thick brownie topped with a thick layer of mousse :D ! I’ll try to find something to put on the top of the mousse, because here in France there isn’t any “Valrhona” chocolate perles.

Anyway, thanks again for this awesome recipe !

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27 Aimee @ ShugarySweets August 13, 2012 at 6:17 am

These are gorgeous!!! I love anything espresso flavored!

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28 Lior August 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I don’t like coffee desserts but everybody else does…. strange people…
i will be happy to make this for them :)

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29 Brianna September 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Wow, espresso mousse AND brownies together, that’s a trip to heaven.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. :)
I can’t wait to try this recipe, but I just want to know whether the brownies in this recipe are cakey or chewy or fudgy?
Thanks in advance!

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30 Sara September 5, 2012 at 8:21 am

These look heavenly!! I see you said to serve immediately… does that mean it doesn’t freeze well?

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31 Tatiana September 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I like it… I love it…
Many thanks for the recipe! :)
http://white-plate.livejournal.com/29239.html

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32 sara September 10, 2012 at 11:46 am

Wow, these look incredible! What a fantastic dessert – just gorgeous!

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33 Rebecca September 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

Yum!!! These look amazing, found you through Pinterest. Planning to make these for a get together with new friends tomorrow…so excited to try them!

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34 Leticia September 22, 2012 at 4:26 am

I made these last weekend. Brownies were delicious, but mousse… my oh my! mousse was heavenly! I’ll definitely make these today again!

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35 Lisa Cornely January 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm

These brownies were amazing. This recipe combined two of my favorite things, espresso and chocolate. Seriously delicious. I didn’t have the biscuit bits so I just drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

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36 Judy G January 7, 2013 at 6:27 am

Hi, Darla! What’s the trick in slicing the brownies, so they come out with neat & clean sides? Thanks!

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37 Darla July 9, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I use a warm, sharp knife. And clean it off after each slice. :)

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38 Hindy B February 13, 2013 at 5:21 am

Just wondering if melting the marshmallows gives you the same difference as marshmallow fluff? If yes, what measurement of fluff would you suggest instead of the marshmallows?

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39 Darla March 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

Nope, you can’t use Fluff in place of marshmallows, sorry. It’s too runny.

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40 Courtney February 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I made these today and used Nutella mousse with some extra espresso as the topping. Oh my word. They were amazing. I may have eaten quite a few of them myself while taking pictures.

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41 anja March 17, 2013 at 12:44 am

you should add that the recipe was adapted from the allrecipes “Best Brownies” recipe as you only added the espresso powder and the rest is exactly the same…. no shame in that, but you should be fair to other bakers!

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42 Rebekah April 26, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Where do you get your espresso powder? :)

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