Tag Archives: chocolate ganache

Two-Tone Brownies

What happens when you take the perfect brownie recipe, and then ice the brownies with a simple cream cheese frosting? You get a two-town brownie. But don’t leave it at that; add a simple chocolate ganache frosting on top of the cream cheese frosting and you have these wonderful brownies.

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To begin, the brownie recipe itself is perfect! the espresso powder really sharpens the chocolate taste of these little treats. The brownie is dense, and not all floury like so many recipes. For the brownie itself, this recipe is something you will want in your repertoire.

But then the toppings are added, and you end up with the most decadent brownie you ever tasted. Each of the topping layers by itself is good, but together and on the brownie you have perfection in a brownie.

The recipe only makes 16 pieces, but these brownies are rich, and you will find that the 16 pieces are a good number. And besides, if you really need more, you can always make the recipe again.

Two-Tone Brownies


  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 x 2″ square baking pan with aluminum foil with overhang; coat with cooking spray.

In a medium-size sauce pan, heat together over low heat stirring until melted and smooth the butter, chocolate and espresso powder. Remove from heat, add and stir until smooth the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Add the flour, cinnamon and nuts.

Scrape and spread into prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until set in center. Let cool in pan on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat in a small bowl at high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, all the ingredients. Spread evenly over cooled brownie base. Refrigerate until set -about 1 hour.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

In a small pan bring to simmering the cream and espresso powder. Add chocolate. Remove from heat and let stand 3 minutes. Add butter. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over cream cheese frosting; spread in an even layer. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Cut into 16 bars.

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

For Valentine’s Day, I distributed cupcakes. Not just ordinary cupcakes, but filled cupcakes. I made two different recipes of cupcakes; a chocolate recipe and a white cake recipe. Each recipe gave me 24 cupcakes for a total of 48. Then, because some people think cupcakes are a dry cake, and not very tasty after you eat the frosting off, I decided to fill the cupcakes to make the dough tastier. I ended up filling the white cake ones with chocolate ganache, and the chocolate cupcakes with creme patissiere. (There are a bunch of those marks over the vowels in creme patissiere, but they are difficult to put there; think of it as pastry cream which is a custard filling). This photo shows my test cupcakes before I used the chocolate ganache or creme patissiere and used some existing buttercream frosting both as the filling and as the pink frosting. I mixed some red frosting for the final assembly.

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There is really no trick about the filling of the cupcakes. You use a knife to cut a lid off the cupcake. Insert the knife at a 45 degree angle and rotate around the cupcake. When you lift the lid off, cut the point of the cone away as scraps. I also did a little digging of the center of the cupcake with the lid off to make the space bigger. Then you put the filling in that open space and put the remaining lid back on; the filling will help keep the lid in place.

I piped the frosting with a #2D tip; this is a very large star tip that requires the special large coupler on the bag. The design is created by starting with a star in the center, and then creating a spiral around the center until the top of the cake is filled. You can see the difference the large #2D tip made compared with the pink frosting on my test cupcakes which used a smaller #21 piping tip.

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I thought that the frosting might cover the cupcakes to the point that one would not be able to tell whether the cupcake was a white cake or a chocolate cupcake. So I planned ahead and created the purple drop flowers with brown and white centers. Then at the end of each spiral of frosting I placed one of the dried drop flowers to indicate the cake type. These big drop flowers were also made with the #2d piping tip. I wanted them big and bold.

I hope this gives you some ideas for moving forward with cupcakes that you might make. I note on the internet that lots of people are now doing filled cupcakes, and even the top frosting design is starting to be common; I saw it referred to as a rose on one site.