Recently DeLonghi asked me if I'd like to become the proud owner of one of their beautiful Vintage Icona Bar Pump coffee machines in return for taking part in their coffee challenge. I was challenged to use my 'inner Heston' to create a recipe taking inspiration from wherever I liked.
|My new baby, yes, I left the sticker on. Duh.|
As you may have noticed, on my blog, I try to focus on recipes that the whole family can enjoy so thinking about how I could incorporate coffee into a recipe whilst keeping it child-friendly was a little bit of a challenge. My children, whilst on the whole can be quite adventurous have never really encountered coffee and I wanted to make something that they would like. Whenever I am starting out trying to develop a recipe or come up with meal ideas my first port of call is this - my kitchen library! This isn't all of it by the way, though I probably shouldn't admit that!
After a few hours of flicking through my books and recipe folders, bookmarked recipes and Pinterest ideas I decided that the route I wanted to take was to bake something so that helped to narrow it down somewhat. With a little help from the children, we settled on what is probably their most favourite of desserts - the classic and somewhat unbeatable chocolate brownie. I didn't really want to do just a basic mocha-style brownie so had to have a little think about what other flavours went well with coffee. I almost went for including pecan or walnut in the mix however my children aren't huge nut-lovers and after searching for a bit more inspiration I settled on a "cream in my coffee" theme and just needed to decide how to do the "cream" part. The natural solution had to be cream cheese so that's what I did. The recipe that resulted was a mash-up of a few different ideas, using my usual no-fail brownie recipe as a base.
100g unsalted butter
200g good quality chocolate, broken into pieces (plain or milk, either is fine)
100ml freshly made strong coffee
225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
85g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
for the cream mixture;
200g cream cheese
60g caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas mark 4. Line a brownie tin with baking parchment.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together with the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Sift on the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and beat until glossy. Set to one side.
To make the cream mixture, put the cream cheese into a bowl and beat until smooth. Stir in the caster sugar, beaten egg and vanilla extract.
Pour two thirds of the chocolate mixture into your prepared brownie tin and smooth. Take the cream mixture and spoon over before taking the remaining chocolate mixture and adding this in dollops over the top. Use a spoon or knife to create a marbling effect.
Pop into the oven and bake for around 35-40mins until the middle is just set. Leave in the tin to cool completely before removing and cutting into squares.
I was really pleased with how these brownies turned out. They were wonderfully gooey and soft - I tend to like my brownies a bit fudgey and verging on under-baked rather than cakey and the cream cheese made them really moist. The coffee flavour in the brownies was not overwhelming, more of a hint of coffee which is what I wanted really as I didn't want to put the children off. Certainly the brownie could probably take even stronger coffee than I made but I think that's down to personal choice.
These were lovely as there were for an afternoon snack but were also enjoyed warm with vanilla ice-cream. I think for a more adult dessert a coffee sauce would be AMAZING with some of these brownies and ice-cream. You can make a basic sauce by bringing brown sugar, double cream, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a knob of butter and a shot of espresso to a slow boil and stirring until it becomes thick like a syrup. Serve the coffee sauce warm over the ice-cream and brownies....and enjoy!
Hope you like the look of my brownies, I can't wait to see whatever the other #coffeechallenge participants have come up with!