The expulsion from Spain and Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century sent many Jews fleeing to Holland, Brazil, and the Far East. Trade routes were set up from the Caribbean and the Far East to Holland, and Jewish immigrants were directly responsible for the brisk trade in cocoa and coffee from their newfound countries to their relatives trading on the Dutch market. Combined with the spice trade, these brownies are emblematic of all the routes!
Two college students in Seattle were waxing enthusiastic about a brownie they had gotten from a friend, one at home in Texas and one at camp in California. After 15 minutes of discussion, they realized that they were both talking about the same girl and the same brownie! Here's my daughter's favorite care package from home.
- Place the butter in a 3-quart saucepan and add the brown sugar. Stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the espresso powder, water, and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Set aside to cool while you measure the other ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper, and butter or spray the sides of the pan to prevent sticking.
- Meanwhile, using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and the vanilla into the butter mixture (still in the saucepan). Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix to combine. Using a rubber spatula, add the chocolate chips and stir by hand to thoroughly incorporate without melting the chips.
- Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for 20–25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the pan. The mixture should be very moist, but not liquid.
- Cool and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares
Note: This recipe may be doubled and baked in a 16 x 11 x 1-inch pan for 30 minutes.
- Do not overbake these brownies! When they're done, a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan will come out clean.
- Never cut brownies while they are hot or the sides will mash down.
- I keep a jar of instant espresso in the freezer to use whenever a recipe calls for some coffee flavoring.