photo by Camille Bautista
I have to say, I’m longing for one of Lilet’s Cappuccino Bars right now. I can just imagine biting into one of those thick chocolate-cake bars that turn into chewy goo in the mouth, broken only by the snapping of slivered almonds (one of the few nuts that I like).
Looking back to the Pastry Exchange two weeks ago, Lilet’s Cappuccino Bar was one of the treats that I finished an entire serving piece of, despite the sugar overload of indulging in multiple sample-sized pastries all at once. In spite of its imposing appearance -- dark chunky slices with walnut pieces peeking through from the base and generously topped with slivers of almond -- it had a mild cocoa flavor with a hint of coffee in it. The glaze topping gave sheen to the base of the almonds and provided just the right kick of sweetness to each bite.
I enjoyed the bars as they were. They had the consistency of a heavy but not overly moist cake; which I consider to be the perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea. Once chilled however (as I found out the next day from my loot-box), the Cappuccino Bars take on an entirely different character. Refrigerated overnight, the coffee flavor seemed to have condensed in the bars, making itself even more palpable than it was before. As with most brownies, chilling also brought about an increased ‘fudgy-ness’ to the pastry -- turning it into more of a decadent dessert, than a beverage partner.
photo by Kit Langit
This recipe (which Lilet found in a Mrs. Field’s Cookbook under the name ‘Brownies Espresso’) is a delightful discovery because apparently you can enjoy it two ways. Store it dry in an air-tight container and you’ll have a delectable complement to your coffee or tea. Chill it in the refrigerator and you’ll have a luscious coffee-flavored dessert bar (or anytime-of-the-day treat). The almonds accentuate the texture perfectly and I still wish I had a bar right now. Luckily, Lilet is sharing the recipe with us here:
photo by Camille Bautista
Lilet’s Cappuccino Bars
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
1 cup salted butter, softened
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 Tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee granules
1 Tbsp. boiling water
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. pure almond extract
1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup salted butter, softened
½ cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8x8 inch baking pan
In a medium bowl, combine flour and soda. Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.
In a large bowl blend sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste.
Melt baking chocolate in a double boiler. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, dissolve espresso or coffee granules in boiling water.
Add chocolate and coffee to sugar and butter; beat at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla and extracts; beat until smooth.
Scrape down sides of bowl. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix. (From Jen: I think this is where Lilet also added some chopped walnuts to the batter; optional)
Pour batter into greased baking pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick placed in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert on rack.
To make glaze: Melt together the chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring until smooth.
Spread glaze over brownies and sprinkle with almonds. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Yield: 12-16 servings
By the way, while the brownies are a new try for Lilet, she is well-known for her Apple Pies! Lilet tried baking as a hobby just a few years ago, to relax in between managing her tutorial center and working on academic consultancy matters. Besides discovering how much fun baking was, she also found out she was pretty good at it. Friends and relatives order her apple pies and cookies to proudly give away as gifts. Lilet’s treats are super yummy and I suspect that more often than not, clients order her treats as ‘gifts’ to themselves too!
If you’d like to contact Lilet for these bars, her scrumptious Apple Pies or yummy cookies (Choco Chip, Marshmallow Cloud, Snickedoodles), you can reach her at email@example.com. She also accepts orders for Carrot Cake, Banana Bread and Cocoroons.