My Signature Espresso Brownies with Grand Marnier & Cinnamon, Plus!

There is a lot to love about these brownies~ a good dose of chocolate, and very subtle background flavors of cinnamon with a hint of orange. I top them with a Dutch process cocoa icing, not as refined as ganache ~ but it compliments these exceptionally well.

The recipe is a combination of a few I've come across through the years ~ a bit more dense than the 'cakey' variety, the key is to not overbake them. The toothpick test in the center should reveal a moist crumb clinging to the toothpick.

The topping is an old-fashioned cocoa powder based icing, it seems to suit these brownies very well. I use Sharfen Berger chocolate, and their cocoa powder, and always mini-semi-sweet morsels, rather than the larger ones~ they are more delicate, assuring small bits of chocolate throughout, plus facilitate neater cutting.

Here's my recipe~
Signature Espresso-Grand Marnier, PLUS Brownies
Yields one 8 or 9-inch pan (I use a 9-inch pan with straight sides)

(12 to 16 brownies, depending upon how large you cut them)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened, and additional for pan
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (I use Sharfen Berger Bitter Sweet)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier Liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, position race in center of oven.
Butter a 9-inch square baking pan, line the bottom with waxed or parchment paper, and also coat paper with butter. Set aside.

Combine butter and unsweetened chocolate in a large metal or glass bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Let it cool slightly. Whisk in the sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, Grand Marnier and eggs.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl, then add to the chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined (it's important not to overmix). Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Pour into pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes. A toothpick inserted in center of pan should show a moist crumb.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Remove from pan. Wet a large, sharp knife in warm water, wipe almost dry, cut into 12 to 16 squares, wipe knife blade and rinse in warm water & wipe almost dry after each cut.
Note: I always trim the edges of my brownies, and bar cookies, it just makes a neater presentation. Added bonus~ the trimmings are cook's treats. :)

Chocolate Icing:
4 cups Confectioner's Sugar (Powdered Sugar; 10x sugar), sifted
1/2 cup butter or margarine (I always use butter)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
6 tablespoons milk
Sift sugar into a large bowl. In small saucepan bring butter, cocoa, espresso powder and milk to a boil. Stir into sugar mixture; blend thoroughly. Place cut brownies on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet lined with waxed paper or plastic film. Ladle warm icing over each brownie. Leave plain, or decorate as desired. My English lavender is blooming right now, so I used tiny buds to decorate this time ~ I favor the purple on the chocolate background and since I'm an organic gardener, it's completely edible, too!
I hope you'll give them a try, and if you do, please let me know how you like them. :)


  1. If only I could reach through the screen, I could use one of these for does have expresso after all!

    Mary, all of your latest shots are gorgeous. I love the plating of the apricot lime chicken in the first shot and the beautiful vintage tablecloth did not go unnoticed either.

  2. OH what a way to start the day! you need to make this stay on top, everyone should wake up to chocolate! mouthwatering pictures, you don't even have to recipe to know how fantastic they are!

  3. Beautiful and chocolate too? My kind of dessert! Thank you for sharing your signature recipe, Mary. I can't wait to try them.

  4. Beautiful and chocolate too? My kind of dessert! Thank you for sharing your signature recipe, Mary. I can't wait to try them.

  5. I'm popping in on my lunch hour, and OMG I want one now. So luscious Mary!

  6. Absolutely gorgeous! Love all of your beautiful pictures, the recipe sounds fabulous!

  7. Kicked up brownies! Love it. Nice addition.

  8. That icing is making me drool! Very nice photographs.

  9. This is a great looking brownie! I'm always trying new and different brownie versions, and this one looks fantastic.

  10. Those look awesome! Definitely a keeper.

  11. Wow, everyone ~ thank you so much! If you try them, I hope you find them irresistible too.

    The mini-chocolate chips make a really nice textural contrast, adding tiny bits of chocolate throughout. Thank you for your kind comments!

  12. Tried these today and all I can say is ...Heavenly!! I will definitely be making these over and over again.


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


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