Hazelnut Brownies with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

There’s a quiet, leafy corner of New Haven where time stands still. Walk through a wrought iron gate into another world, down Wooster Street and back into a twentieth century America of Italian immigrants and working class families. My family often went there to visit our city cousins to share a few apizzas at Sally’s or Pepe’s, rival parlors both serving that thin crust burnt bottom tomato pie New Haven is famous for. After filling our bellies with cheese, sauce, and dough it was customary to walk to Libby’s for coffee and dessert. Libby’s has a loud, shiny, old fashioned espresso maker and and faux marble tables. And cases of cannoli, sfogliatelle, lemon and almond cookies, waffle-like pizzelles, and biscotti. My favorite, ever since I was a little girl, was the tiramisu, a soaked, layered cake with strong, coffee flavor and rich cream.

These brownies are meant to be an after school snack for anyone whose had a bad day. They make you happy and fill you with love and nostalgia and caffeine. I prescribe two squares with a tall glass of ice cold milk. Add a shot of Frangelico if you’re feeling feisty.

Hazelnut Brownies with Espresso Mascarpone Cream

Hazelnut Brownies with Espresso Mascarpone Cream
Serves: 8 brownies
For the brownies:
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coffee
  • 1⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped hazelnuts
For the espresso mascarpone cream:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • ¾ cup mascarpone, room temperature
For the brownies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.
  2. Combine butter, cocoa powder and coffee in a small bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Stir until melted. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly pour in the liquid chocolate. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the hazelnuts.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake 18-25 minutes. Cool before frosting.
For the espresso mascarpone cream:
  1. Stir together the boiling water and espresso powder.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, powdered sugar, almond extract, and espresso. Fold in the mascarpone.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

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