triple chocolate espresso brownies

The best part about having a full-time job is having people to offload desserts to. No, I’m kidding, the best part is the money. No! It’s the feeling of self-worth I get from changing out of my pajamas before noon. Or it’s the belief that I’m making a difference in the world. The knowledge that I’m a contributing member of society. I don’t know, one of those.

Of course I carefully plan out every treat I bring in to share. Most importantly, it has to look enticing. Half-eaten leftovers obviously won’t do. It also needs to be easy to grab; no one wants to deal with forks and plates, they just want to grab a quick snack when they come in to refresh their coffee. I also want to provide a good variety – chocolate one week, fruit or vanilla the next; cupcakes one week, cookies the next. Finally, I like to (overthink things) make something new and interesting: instead of chocolate chip cookies, cream cheese chocolate chip cookies; instead of white cupcakes, margarita cupcakes; instead of brownies, espresso brownies.

People always thank me for bringing in treats, because they are polite and nice, and I always thank them for providing me an opportunity to do something I love. They also mention that I’m ruining their diets, but I figure it’s theirs or mine, and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

My favorite brownie recipe is a little lighter, cakey-er, and moister than these, but I love this rich fudgy texture with the bitter espresso overtones. Plus they’re perfect to cut into tiny squares, which, once displayed in little crimped cups, satisfy all of the requirements for a treat to bring to work.

Two years ago: Yeasted Waffles

Printer Friendly Recipe
Triple-Chocolate Espresso Brownies
(from Cooks Illustrated)

Either Dutch-processed or natural cocoa works well in this recipe.

5 ounces semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1½ tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee powder
3 large eggs
1¼ cups (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon table salt
1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Fold two 12-inch pieces of foil lengthwise so that they measure 7 inches wide. Fit one sheet in the bottom of the greased pan, pushing it into corners and up the sides of the pan; overhang will help in the removal of the baked brownies. Fit the second sheet in the pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the cocoa and espresso until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread into corners, and level the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove the brownies from the pan using the foil overhang. Cut into squares and serve. (Do not cut brownies until ready to serve; brownies can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 5 days.)


  1. I was just thinking the same thing today! I used to use my plumbers as guinea pigs…they were always up for something sweet! But since I’ve left that job I’ve had no one to test recipes on. I just started a new job in a cubicle-type office, and I’m sure LOTS of people will love some treats. I was going to make something today but never got around to it haha!

  2. Oh, how I wish I were your coworker right now so I could gobble these up! They look fantastic. I love the first shot.

  3. I’m exactly the same way, I offload all of the treats I make on to other people. If I’m not taking them into work I’m taking them to friends’ houses.
    These brownies look delicious 🙂

  4. I used to drop off “excess” baked goods at friends’ houses (sometimes unannounced so that they couldn’t give me excuses at to why they didn’t need a dozen cupcakes either), then when we moved I started sending them to work with my husband. Now I am attempting to eat my body weight in summer fruits to convince myself that I don’t need baked goods.

    But tiny espresso brownies? That I could get behind! I love the little crimped wrappers, too.

  5. Sharlotte says:

    As I read out your blog to my husband, he remarks, ” Is this you writing a blog post from the future?” Yes, I totally love the fact that I get to bring goodies into work for birthdays, celebrations, group meetings, or even for no reason whatsoever. They all love me and hate me for it.
    I will have to give these brownies a try for work! They all dive in for anything with “precious caffeine” in it. Thanks!

  6. Yep, that’s hands-down the best reason for a full-time job. I don’t know where I’m going to foist off my baked goods anymore! Hopefully the dept I’ll be in has a sweet tooth 🙂 Also, you are officially an overachiever if you put them in little frilly wrappers. Stop showing me up, with my 8×8 pyrex of brownies!

  7. bridget says:

    Caitlin – I skipped a workout in order to put these into cute little cups. So I’m not sure I’d call myself an overachiever…

  8. So good! I’ve heard that putting instant coffee in brownies enhances the chocolate flavour, but actually adding espresso and making it mocha-like, I’ve never tried that! Which reminds me, I have some chocolate Kahlua souffles to make… 😉


  9. Man, I wish I had co-workers now – particularly if they could be like you.

  10. I get something like this from Starbucks…but will now make my own. Thanks.

  11. I am alternately sad and glad you do not work at my office. 🙂

  12. Oh Bridget. Can I just say that in a way I’m glad you don’t work with me? In my office almost anything someone brings in is easy enough to resist… clearly we don’t have a Bridget of our own!

  13. I’m waiting to begin working for that very reason.. My friends have all gained too much weight 😛

    These brownies look yummy, especially individually packaged!