Crackly Top Espresso Brownies

We found the best little Euro market today. Along with Suho Meso, Russian chicken dumplings, and interesting Deutsch chocolate bars we discovered this Croatian espresso. Chocolate and coffee go together like, well, coffee and chocolate so we decided to make brownies!
We have never had good luck making fudgy brownies with a crackly top in other words, “The Perfect Brownie”.  It has always seemed to be more of a happy accident when it does happen. The recipe below, however, is now our go to recipe for the best fudgy crackly top brownies.

Croatian Espresso Crackly Top Fudgy Brownies
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Semisweet/Bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 Cup Sugar
Pinch of Salt

2 Tbsp. Croatian Espresso (or any ground espresso)
2 Large Eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup + 1/8 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Semisweet/Bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 8-inch square baking dish.

Setup a double boiler, or set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add butter, cut into 8 pieces. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Stir butter and chocolate until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and immediately add sugar* and salt. Once cooled slightly, so as not to scramble the eggs, add both eggs and the vanilla, stirring until blended. Add the flour, stirring just until blended. Fold in the remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool completely before cutting. Overnight in the fridge will make these easy to cut and still have the crackly top and fudgy center.

* We suspect that dissolving the sugar is what helps create the crackly top. Would love to hear in the comments below if anyone knows for sure. Do you prefer your brownies crackly and fudgy or more cake like?



Crustless Cranberry Walnut Pie

I love anything with cranberries. I found this pie recipe and was excited to try it since it’s crustless and had walnuts. So yummy and light with a little tartness, perfect for summer!

I did tweak the original recipe that I found. I added only 1/4 of butter and included vanilla extract along with the almond. I also used canned cranberry sauce since we didn’t have fresh, but I am definitely going to make this again using fresh cranberries, which I think will add a bit more deliciousness.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract

Pour mixture in a 9 inch pie plate.
Bake in a 350 deg. oven for 40 minutes.


Summer Berry Cheesecake Cookies

It was finally cool enough to consider heating up the oven. With a freezer full of this seasons berry picking adventures, these cookies seemed appropriate.

Inspired by:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) *
1/4 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen) *
3 oz. cream cheese, cut into 1 tsp cubes **

Preheat oven 350 F.

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and lemon juice. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold in berries. Chill dough for 20 minutes.

To shape cookies, shape 2 tbsp of dough into a ball, making a small indentation to insert the cream cheese. This dough can get messy and the berries will break-down, but don’t worry they’ll turn out fine ;-). Space cookies ~2″ apart on parchment paper lined baking sheet, bake for 12-15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.

* If using fresh berries, chop strawberries into 1/2″ pieces combine with blueberries and place in freezer for ~30 minutes prior to mixing dough. If using frozen berries, chop strawberries combine with blueberries and keep in freezer while mixing dough. This will prevent the berries from becoming too mushy when folding into dough.

** Keep cream cheese cubes on parchment paper in the freezer while mixing dough.


No-Bake Cheesecake

This is our go-to recipe for no-bake cheesecake, the perfect summer treat when it’s too hot to turn on the oven.

4 Tbsp Butter, melted
2 Cups Graham Crackers/Animal cookies crushed
8oz. Softened Cream Cheese
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

For the cookie crust:
Microwave the butter in the 9×9 pan until melted. Crush the cookies in a food processor or use a mallet and plastic bag. Combine with crushed cookies. Press into pan.

For the filling:
Combine cream cheese and sugar.

Beat until fluffy. Add vanilla, mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

Spread evenly over cookie crust.

Drizzle with chocolate syrup and swirl, zig or zag.

Should be chilled for at least a few hours, if you can wait that long!