Nut Butter-Espresso Brownies

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12-16 servings

Tip: Variations in ovens, baking pan size and material, baking ingredients or preparation techniques can all affect the outcome of baked goods. When a recipe states (for example) a recommended baking time of 17-20 minutes, be aware that the product result you want may require only 14 minutes, or up to 25 minutes of baking time…and it may change, even if you bake the same recipe again. I always set my timer several minutes less than the shortest recommended time to assure I don’t overbake. I also consider if the product is going to stay in the pan (and continue to bake with residual heat) or be removed from the pan. Experiment with this or another favorite recipe. Do you get a dry brownie or one that is moist and fudgy?

Ingredients
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 oz bitter (baking) or semisweet chocolate (any mix of the 2 types will work)
1/2 cup hazelnut butter (can sub almond butter or cashew butter)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp espresso powder dissolved in 2 tsp lukewarm water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 oz chocolate espresso beans (can sub 2-3 oz dark chocolate chunk)
2 tsp Maldon flaked salt or coarse sea salt

Prep
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 9″ springform pan for round presentation or 8″x8″ metal baking pan.
Cut stick of butter into 6-8 pieces; place in medium saucepan.
Roughly chop bitter/semisweet chocolate; place in medium saucepan with butter.
In small bowl, whisk flour, fine sea salt and baking powder together; set aside.
Roughly chop chocolate espresso beans or dark chocolate chunk; set aside.

Directions
Melt butter and 6 oz chopped chocolate in medium saucepan over low heat. Watch carefully and stir frequently until melted to be sure it doesn’t scorch or burn. When melted, remove from heat; stir in nut butter until melted into chocolate mixture; whisk in both sugars until combined. Don’t be concerned if the mixture looks grainy.

Add dissolved espresso and vanilla extract; stir to combine. Whisk in eggs, 1 at a time, until completely incorporated into the chocolate mixture.

Add flour mixture and stir carefully, mixing well until most flour is absorbed into the chocolate mixture. Fold in chopped espresso beans (or chunked chocolate). Scrape batter into your prepared baking pan.

Bake brownies in preheated oven for about 17-20 minutes (this is just a guideline). Test with a toothpick just inside the edges; the toothpick should be mostly clean when removed. Center part of the batter should still be a bit moist. Add a light sprinkle of Maldon salt on top of the brownies. Cool brownies on a rack for about 5 minutes; if using springform, release the sides of the pan and remove. Cool a few minutes longer, then cut carefully to serve warm. If you prefer to cool the brownies, place pan in the refrigerator for at least an hour before cutting to serve.

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