Chocolate Fantasy Brownie Bites

Ingredients

Makes about 24
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter (plus more for pan)
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon powdered espresso
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional ingredients: crushed peppermints (or Altoids), peppermint extract, chocolate chips, cinnamon, nuts, almond extract, orange zest and juice, cardamom, powdered sugar, flaky sea salt

Instructions

1 _ Heat oven to 350. Butter the wells of a non-stick mini muffin pan.

2 _ Melt butter and chocolate in a large heavy pot over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat so it can cool a bit. While it's cooling, whisk together flour, espresso powder, cocoa, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

3 _ When the chocolate mixture has cooled to lukewarm, whisk in granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until incorporated, then add vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just blended.

4 _ If desired, divide batter into 3 or 4 batches, depending on how many different types of brownies you want to make. Into each group stir in: 1. 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract and 2-3 TB crushed peppermints. 2. 1/4 c. chocolate chips and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. 3. 1/8 tsp. almond extract and 1/4 c. chopped nuts. 4. 1 TB orange zest, 1 tsp. orange juice and 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom. (Amounts are approximate--feel free to play with the proportions to your taste. It's your chocolate fantasy!)


5 _ To make them pretty and evenly shaped, place the batter in a ziploc bag, cut off one corner, and squeeze the batter evenly into the wells. (This works with smooth batters; is more challenging with the chunky ones. You can use a tablespoon.) Fill just below the top of the wells. (Refrigerate unused batter till ready to use. It may make the batter a little difficult to squeeze or scoop, but if the butter gets too soft, it sort of melts in the wells while baking and the brownie bites are difficult to remove.)

6 _ Bake in the middle of the oven for ~12-15 minutes, until a tester comes out with moist crumbs still adhering (if you like soft chewy brownies). If you prefer cakelike brownies, bake an extra minute or two. Better to underbake these--they will continue to bake when you take them out and they are very small.

7 _ As soon as they are cool enough to handle, carefully remove them from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack. To serve, you may dust with powdered sugar and/or sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

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