These rich, fudgy, coffee scented brownies, with caramel and whipped cream topping are inspired by one of my favorite coffee shop drinks, a caramel latte. I was thinking about how to get the caramel inside the brownies. With some methods, the caramel ends up over baked and chewy. Then I remembered poke cakes from my childhood. You poke holes all over a baked cake and pour whatever you like on top to soak into the holes. It worked beautifully with these brownies. To finish them off, I topped them with fluffy cream cheese whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel.
- 3/4 cup (6 oz or 170g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 6 oz (170g) bittersweet chocolate (70-72%), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process or dark
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz or 300g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
- 1 cup (4 1/2 oz or 128g) all purpose flour, sifted
- 1/3 cup (3 5/8 oz or 107ml) caramel sauce, purchased or homemade
- 3 oz (85g) cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz or 46g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 3/4 cup (6 oz or 177ml) cold heavy whipping cream
- Preheat your oven to 325ºF. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a couple of inches of overhang.
- In a large heat safe bowl, melt the butter together with the chocolate, in the microwave or on the stovetop over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, hot water and espresso powder until smooth.
- Whisk the cocoa powder mixture, sugar and salt into the warm melted chocolate mixture until well combined.
- Add the eggs, egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Stir in the flour just until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with moist crumbs on it, about 25-28 minutes. Do not over bake. Let cool completely.
- Once cool, remove the brownies from the pan and place on a serving platter. Using a chopstick, poke holes in the brownies, about 1 inch apart, to within 1 inch from the edges.
- Spread caramel sauce over the surface of the brownies with a small offset spatula.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, with an electric mixer, until smooth. Gradually add the heavy cream and beat to stiff peaks.
- Spread or pipe the whipped cream onto the brownies. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce.