To. Die. For. I won’t even make you read through the rest of this post for the recipe: Here it is. Go forth and bake them.
This summer, I worked in a commercial kitchen shared by cooking instructors, chefs, caterers and food business owners. What was I doing there? It’s a long, wild story, but I ran an Italian bakery while the owner was abroad. These decadent cappuccino brownies were not among the Italian bakery’s offerings, but it being a shared kitchen, I worked alongside a respected caterer who I got to know well. This was one of four or five dessert bars that are her signature sweets.
Her assistants cut them into the most perfect squares, dipping the knife in hot water and then wiping it dry after making every single cut. Edges are discarded and rulers are sometimes used. No one would go through this trouble at home — that’s partially why they’re so lovable.
Though I desperately wanted the recipe for her cappuccino brownies, it didn’t feel right to ask her for it. Seems like proprietary information to me.
Last month, the caterer asked me to help her out in the kitchen for a few days while her assistant went on vacation. I assumed I’d be doing a lot of chopping and slicing and other prep tasks, but instead she handed me the recipes for the dessert bars, all tucked inside clear protective sheaths.
Today, she said, we’re going to start by making cappuccino brownies.
There it was, The Recipe, torn from Gourmet magazine’s November 1991 issue. It wasn’t an original recipe as I had expected. I didn’t have to sneak an iPhone photo while she rotated the chocolate-cherry-port bars in the oven. I just went home and Googled it.
These are more work than traditional brownies because of the three layers, with cooling involved between each — the rich, chocolate-y, espresso-y brownie layer; the cream cheese frosting layer with a brilliant dash of cinnamon; the glossy glaze layer with more chocolate and espresso.
I made the cappuccino brownies twice for the caterer without any problems, but when I made them at home I did manage to mess up the glaze and had to redo it. But in the end they were perfect.
I cut them into bite-size pieces but did not wipe the knife down each time, and they still got plenty of Oohs. Aahs. OMGs. and then, they were gone.