Espresso-Shortbread Brownie Bars


Grace Parisi brings the beloved combination of coffee and chocolate together by using a pleasantly crumbly espresso-flavored shortbread as a crust for fudgy brownies. Slideshows:  More Brownie Recipes 

Espresso-Shortbread Brownie Bars
Photo: © Jennifer Causey
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
24 bars


Shortbread Crust

  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Brownie Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, combine the butter with the flour, sugar, ground espresso and salt; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Press the crumbs into a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan to form a crust; prick all over with a fork. Freeze for 5 minutes, until firm. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and cooked through.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa, salt and baking powder. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the chocolate over low heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then stir in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the brownie batter is smooth.

  3. Pour the brownie batter over the shortbread crust, smoothing the surface. Bake for 30 minutes, until the brownie top is dry and lightly cracked around the edges; the center will still be a bit soft. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Make Ahead

The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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