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This recipe is part of Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies.

Espresso Swirl Brownies

Espresso Swirl Brownies

When I took a closer look at the Brownies and Bars chapter of Cookies and Brownies, I guess I was a little surprised that there isn't a classic cream cheese brownie in the mix. Then I saw the Espresso Swirl Brownie and realized this is where Alice hid the cream cheese!

My mother never made cream cheese brownies, but I gobbled them down whenever they were offered. I'd had plain cream cheese brownies, but just as often I'd have some seasonal variation like Irish Cream or Pumpkin Cheesecake brownies. Now I realize they are all variations of the same basic recipe, the Espresso Swirl included.

A few notes about this recipe:

  • I assumed 1 c unbleached AP flour = 4.5oz
  • I used Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
  • Initially, I mixed the cream cheese mixture by hand, but it never produced a smooth batter. A few seconds with a hand mixer solved that problem.
  • The recipe says to bake for 20 - 25 minutes, but my brownies were very wet at 25 minutes. I baked for an additional 10 minutes before I felt they would hold together.
  • Chill the brownies before you eat them. They are very moist and need the time to set up. Also, the cream cheese layer has the texture of soft scrambled eggs when they're at room temperature. It doesn't feel right in the mouth, and subsequently, plays tricks on your taste buds, I think. Refrigerate them before eating and they firm up nicely and they taste a lot better.

Espresso Swirl Brownies
Ingredients for New Classic Brownies, without the nuts
1 T instant coffee or espresso powder
1 T water
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

9-inch square pan, lined across the bottom and up 2 opposite sides with parchment paper or foil

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. Mix the batter for New Classic Brownies.
  3. Spread all but about 1/2 c of the batter in the prepared pan. Set aside. 
  4. Combine the coffee powder with the water. Set aside.
  5. Mix the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  6. Stir in the egg and the coffee mixture until well blended.
  7. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the batter in the pan.
  8. Spoon dollops of reserved brownie batter on top.
  9. Without scraping the bottom of the pan, draw a table knife through the dollops to swirl and marble the chocolate and espresso batter without thoroughly mixing them.
  10. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  11. Cool on a rack. Refrigerate and chill thoroughly before cutting, about 2 hours.
  12. Slide a knife between the pan and the brownies on the unlined sides.
  13. Lift the ends of the parchment or foil liner and transfer the brownies to a cutting board.
  14. Cut into 16 squares.

Makes 16 brownies

May be stored, airtight, in the refrigerator for 4 - 5 days

This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author

Cappuccino Brownies on Foodista


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nice post

Great dish.really cool.They are very moist and need the time to set up. Also, the cream cheese layer has the texture of soft scrambled eggs when they're at room temperature.
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Cool the brownies before you eat them. They are extremely wet and need the time to set up.

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Espresso-Swirl Brownies

I made these several years ago, and the flavor was outstanding. Unfortunately, the texture didn't hold up to the taste - they were just too gooey, even though I baked them longer than the stated time. I may try them again someday, and bake them even longer.
Thanks for posting all these great Alice Medrich recipes!

Me too!

I found this was the same thing for me. Best right out of the fridge, in any case - and the texture held up better after refrigeration. But right out of the oven, they were sort of gross. Like sweetened scrambled eggs. Yuck.

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