If you’ve ever had a peppermint mocha, you know exactly how delicious the combination of chocolate, peppermint and coffee can be. The only problem with this type of drink is that peppermint is a very strong flavor and it can sometimes overpower the flavors of the coffee and the chocolate. These Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownies with Peppermint Chips were inspired by that delicious holiday drink, but I made sure that you can taste chocolate, coffee and peppermint in every bite without one flavor dominating the rest.
The brownies are rich and fuggy, with plenty of bittersweet chocolate flavor that is complimented very well by the flavor of espresso. I used instant espresso powder in this recipe. Instant espresso powder has a more intense flavor than most instant coffees, so you’ll be able to taste it in each bite of brownie. If you don’t have instant espresso powder, I would recommend using Starbucks Via, which also delivers a potent coffee flavor. If you don’t have either, you can use traditional instant coffee and double the amount given in the recipe below.
I used Toll House Delightfulls Candy Cane chips, which are a seasonally available two-tone chocolate chip with a peppermint chocolate center. They offer a great peppermint flavor without needing to add peppermint extract to the brownie batter. If you don’t see these chips, keep an eye out for other peppermint chocolate chips, which are frequently available during the winter baking season. You can also use regular chocolate chips and add in an additional 1/4 cup or so of crushed peppermint candies in a pinch. The candies won’t add quite as potent a flavor as the flavored chips, but they’ll still make the brownies minty and will add a nice pop of color to each slice.
The brownies will keep well if stored in an airtight container, so they can be baked a day or two before you intend to serve them. To turn them into a fancier dessert option, cut them into larger squares and serve each with a scoop of peppermint ice cream!
Dark Chocolate Espresso Brownies with Peppermint Chips
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate (60-70% cacao)
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Peppermint chocolate chips
or use regular chocolate chips and add 1/4 cup chopped peppermint candies
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and dark chocolate in the microwave. This should be done in 30-second intervals to avoid overcooking the mixture. Whisk in the cocoa powder and instant espresso powder.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs, then add in the salt and vanilla extract. Whisk in the chocolate mixture, followed by the all purpose flour and stir until flour is completely incorporated and no streaks remain. Fold in peppermint chocolate chips
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow brownies to cool in the pan, then lift the foil to easily remove them before slicing.
Makes 16-20 (depending on the size you slice them).