Hazelnut Espresso Brownies with just the right amount of dark nutty and espresso flavors, these rich yet gooey brownies qualify as a dessert all on their own, but taste even better served with a cup of espresso or one better with a creamy Affogato. Spread Nutella on top before baking for lovely melted in hazelnut goodness, or better yet, follow these simple DIY Nutella instructions to make your own Gianduja, a delicious chocolate spread that’s about 30% hazelnut paste.
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), plus butter to grease the baking pans
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups hazelnut spread using the recipe below, or use Nutella
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
(Gianduja Hazelnut Spread)
- 1 generous cup of skinned hazelnuts (about 5 ounces)
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/2 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces, room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Makes 2 cups, enough for this brownie recipe.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter a traditional half sheet baking pan (16 x 16 or equivalent) and line with parchment paper.
- Combine the chopped chocolate and butter in a heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Set aside.
- Using a mixer on medium for five minutes, (paddle attachment) combine 3/4 of the Gianduja or Nutella (1 1/2 cups worth) with sugar and eggs. Scrape down the bowl a few times as needed. Add espresso powder and vanilla last and mix briefly.
- Turn the mixer to low and stream in the chocolate mixture. Mix until well combined. Then fold in flour and salt.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread evenly with a knife or offset spatula and spoon the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread evenly on the surface
- Use a toothpick or skewer to swirl the spread and brownie batter, creating big streaks and peaks of the spread on the surface.
- Bake until set in the middle, about 25 -27 minutes. A toothpick should pull moist crumbs.
Gianduja is a sweet chocolate spread containing about 30% hazelnut paste, invented in Turin, Italy, where Hazelnuts are common. Nutella was in fact, originally known as Pasta Gianduja. Homemade Gianduja tastes fresher, is healthier, and both the hazelnut and cocoa flavors are more distinct. And for the purpose of this recipe, it melts especially nicely melding together the flavor of the topping into the brownie but still leaving a nice generous topping that gets the slightest thin crisp atop the gooey smoothness, not crunchy or chewy.
GIANDUJA HAZELNUT SPREAD (DIY NUTELLA) DIRECTIONS
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking sheet once for even toasting, until deep brown, 13-15 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- Grind hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor for one minute.
- Place the chocolate into a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water; stir often until chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Remove bowl from heat, add butter and whisk until completely incorporated.
- Whisk in cream and salt, then hazelnut paste.
If using immediately, let cool at room temperature to soften before spreading onto brownies. If storing for future use, pour gianduja into jars and let cool before lidding. Lasts four weeks, chilled.