Chocolate-Espresso Cream Cheese Frosted Brownies

makes 16 brownies

For the Brownies

1/2 cup (4-ounces) unsalted butter

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup granulated sugar

2 extra large eggs

1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

For the Frosting

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

2 teaspoons Kahlua or other coffee liqueur

Pinch of kosher salt

Chocolate-covered coffee beans, chopped

For the Brownies

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, semisweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate; stirring until smooth.  Stir in the sugar and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350º F. Line an 8 x8x2-inch baking pan with foil.  Lightly grease the foil; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  Add the eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition.  Stir in the espresso powder and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture; stirring just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

For the Frosting

In a medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate chips; stirring until smooth.  Remove the bowl and allow the chocolate to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, Kahlua, and salt.  Stir in the cooled chocolate and mix until smooth.  Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies and sprinkle with the chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans.  Using the foil, lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into squares.  Enjoy!  (Brownies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow chilled brownies to stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.)

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