Espresso brownies are just one of a trio of decadent recipes to try. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I decided to do something a little different this week: go wild with brownies. My inspiration came from the lonely box of brownie mix in the back of the pantry and a craving for mocha, a chance meet-up with peanut butter brownies made by my granddaughter, and a memory of a favorite brownie with a minty kick.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

One of my favorite flavors is the combination of chocolate and coffee. I love mocha everything and these brownies get 1,000 thumbs up from me. If you don’t have espresso powder on hand (why don’t you?) you can substitute finely ground espresso beans or make your own coffee extract by boiling down strong coffee until it becomes syrupy. You can also purchase coffee extract, a wonderful thing to keep in your pantry that provides a dash of primo coffee flavor to anything.

My second-favorite brownie recipe is a peanut butter cup-enhanced version created by my granddaughter, Lu. These brownies are everything you could ever want in a chocolate-peanut butter treat. Don’t omit that salt on top as it really accentuates the peanut butter nicely.

Finally, try these over-the-top chocolate mint sweets. With all these recipes, line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an inch or two hanging over the sides so you can easily lift the cooled brownies from the pan. And whatever you do, don’t overbake them. An underdone brownie is terrific – a chocolate-flavored brick, not so much.

You’ll notice I didn’t include how many brownies these recipes make because it all depends on how you wield your knife and what kind of mood you’re in, dear friends. Decide wisely.

Espresso Brownies

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1 box brownie mix
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk water, oil, eggs and espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add brownie mix and stir until well-blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely before glazing.


2 teaspoons espresso powder
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon softened butter

Dissolve espresso powder in water in a medium bowl. Whisk in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies and refrigerate until set before cutting.

Lu’s Fudge-Peanut Butter Brownies

1 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups peanut butter cups, chopped and divided
Flaky sea salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to combine sugar, eggs and yolk, then beat on high for 5 minutes.

Add melted butter, oil and vanilla, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter cup chunks.

Spoon batter in to prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until edges are set and brownie batter is not jiggling in the middle. Remove from oven and immediately top with remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter cup chunks and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Cool completely before cutting.

Mint Kick Brownies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
1 package (28) Andes Mints

In a pan over medium heat, melt butter and chocolate chips, stirring constantly, or melt in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Cool for 10 minutes.

Adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Once chocolate and butter are cooled slightly, whisk in sugars. Add eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla, then gently fold in flour, cocoa and salt. Do not overmix.

Pour half the batter into prepared baking pan. Place the Andes mints on top of the batter in an even layer then top with chocolate bars in an even layer. Evenly spread the other half of the batter on top of the chocolate bars.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. Remove from oven and allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan before cutting.

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