Let the holiday baking BEGIN!
These brownie bites are the perfect start to the holiday season. Decadent, rich, chocolatey, chewy, chunky brownies with a hint of Kahlua in the creamy, buttery frosting; super versatile.
It’s been a whirlwind week for me as I’m sure it has for you! Thanksgiving, kids out of school, taking down Fall decor and putting up Christmas decor…all wonderful, good things; so good in fact that I actually put aside my blog for a few days, didn’t take many pictures, which is now biting me in the proverbial butt. HA! But I needed to just “be.” Do you know what I mean? Enjoy the moments without any other motives.
As I’ve been reading other blogs, seeing the HUGE amount of content they are putting out; good stuff, fun stuff, informative stuff, intimidating stuff…it’s been a little overwhelming. We all fight that comparison demon don’t we? But that’s not what God would have us do, He made us all individuals, unique in our own special way. Let’s do our best not to compare this year, when I am weak help me remember that promise!
In light of that, I had big plans for my first Christmas season postings, but I realized that I’m trying to act like the big bloggers when I am not; I am a teeny, tiny, baby blogger fish in the big blog pond. I want to do things with excellence and I fear something or someone will suffer this month if I do what I planned on doing. It might not look like I had hoped it would look, but as I build content over time I think it will come easier and since I dearly love this special season, I also want to fully embrace and experience it. I’ll still post each week, but maybe just simple recipes, some of my favorites, which will probably mean desserts! Thank you for your patience with me!
Espresso Brownie Bites with Kahlua Buttercream
This recipe is one of my favorites to make for two reasons; you can make oodles all at once, they look super fancy without much fuss and I know I said two reasons, but here’s a bonus; they are deliciously decadent!
This is the PERFECT basic brownie recipe, once you make these you will rarely go back to boxed, I say rarely, because if I’m truly honest, sometimes it’s still quicker and easier to make a boxed brownie mix, but these are very easy. The only change I made here is adding some espresso powder, hence Espresso Brownie Bites, you don’t really taste the espresso, but it sure does enhance the chocolate. Want to make a basic brownie, these are the ones for you! Just omit the espresso powder and ba-da-bing…you have moist, chewy, chocolatey brownies!
Start by adding your butter to a medium sized pot, over medium heat.
Remove from the heat and stir in your sugar. I need to apologize about the next series of pictures, I’m not sure what was going on with my camera, but it added some odd “stripes” in the pictures, thankfully you can still tell what is going on. Mix in your whole eggs…
Next your vanilla…kind of looks like I was taking pictures through blinds.
Now your cocoa powder, regular or dark, it doesn’t matter, I mixed half and half this time.
Add your flour and stir in.
Add salt & baking powder
If desired, add your espresso powder and stir well until all ingredients are combined. About 1-2 minutes by hand.
Finally, add your chocolate chips, 1 cup. I did ½ cup of mini chocolate chips
and ½ cup of regular chocolate chips.
Pour into parchment lined 13×9 inch pan or spray well. Though if you plan on cutting these into shapes, you probably want to line it with foil or parchment.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes until sides start pulling away from edges and top has set. Don’t overbake.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20 -30 minutes.
TIP: If you need to speed up the process, once they have cooled for 30 minutes on the counter, then place in the freezer for 30-40 minutes until firm, but not frozen. Brownies will slice or cut easily from this point. If need be, once frozen, remove them from the baking pan for easier storage, if you need to make oodles of brownies, it’s easy to make these and freeze them until you are ready to frost them.
Before you slice or cookie cutter your brownies, make up your frosting.
Add your softened butter to the bowl of a mixer.
Whip it until nice and fluffy while you prepare the espresso, cream, Kahlua mixture.
If you do not wish to use Kahlua, just replace your Kahlua with cream, so instead of 1 tablespoon of cream, you will now use a total of 5 tablespoons of cream, start with 4 and mix well, adding more if needed. As pictured below, add to your butter and mix well.
But if you decide to use the Kahlua, then mix the espresso powder into your Kahlua and stir well to dissolve, mix into the butter mixture.
Mix in a pinch of salt, yes salt, just a pinch.
With mixer on low-speed, add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition. Beat a for 1-2 minutes on medium-high, scraping down the sides once or twice, until light and fluffy.
Spoon buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (I used Wilton #12) or use any tip, I’ve used all sorts of tips to get different looks.
To make the bites, take the partially frozen brownies, lift the brownies out of the pan (should slip out if you used parchment paper) and place on a large cutting board.
Using a small 1 ½” round cookie cutter, cut “bites” out of the brownies as close to the edge and to one another as possible. These round cookie cutters are similar to what I have, only mine don’t have a handle, but that could be very handy or get in the way, I’m not sure.
I find it helpful to cut all the brownie bites and place into a container that you will be serving or saving them in. Rubbermaid Takealongs (large) are some of my favorites, they are nice and roomy and keep them fresh or frozen if you need to freeze them. But don’t spend this much on them, I only put the link in so you can see what I’m talking about, they are half the cost at most grocery stores.
Once you have cut them all, begin frosting them. Starting on the outside edge, swirl around. Or if using a smooth plain tip, just put the tip straight down and squeeze gently lifting at the same time, making a little “kiss.”
Below I used a star tip. Decorate them however you want, they freeze beautifully and go down easily.
I did these for a wedding last year and added a chocolate covered espresso bean to finish them off.
Oh and don’t you dare throw away the cuttings leftover. We call them brownie guts in our family and they are delicious by themselves, crumbled on top of ice cream, make a trifle with them or tuck them into a lunch box, anyway you want to consume them!
One last picture, because they are so pretty!
And as long as we’re doing bites of things, give my Sugar Cookie Bites (below) a try, they are perfect for the holidays, change up the sprinkles, tint the frosting and you have super easy, festive and delicious cookie bites.
- ESPRESSO BROWNIES
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups white sugar (I used natural cane sugar)
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder (optional)
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder (regular or dark)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chocolate chips (may do ½ mini and ½ regular)
- KAHLUA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
- ½ c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 T. heavy cream
- 4 T. Kahlua coffee liqueur*
- 1 tsp. espresso powder
- 3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
- *if you don't want to use Kahlua, then replace the liquid with cream, ½ and ½ or heavy cream.
- Add butter to a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add cream and mix to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine Kahlua and espresso powder, stirring briskly with a spoon to dissolve the espresso powder.
- Add Kahlua mixture to butter and mix again.
- With mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition.
- Beat on medium high, scraping sides once or twice until light and fluffy.
- Spoon buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (I used Wilton #12).
- Add a little "kiss" of buttercream to the top of each brownie bite.
- Note: If you don't want to pipe on the little buttercream kisses, you could easily spread some buttercream onto the top of each brownie bite or on the entire pan of brownies.
- Note 2: Don't like espresso or Kahlua? Just omit it, these would also be delicious with Bailey's in the frosting!