Guest recipe by DeDe Wilson
Author of Cake Balls: More Than 60 Delectable and Whimsical Sweet Spheres of Goodness
For coffee lovers only! These pack not only a serious espresso flavor but also quite a caffeine punch. The espresso brownie is so moist that it doesn’t need any binder. Rolled into balls, dipped in a dark chocolate shell, and topped with crumbled chocolate-covered coffee beans, these are the most robust cake balls in the book. I recommend a smaller size for these cake balls, as they are dense and rich, with a brownie-like texture.
Makes about 60 1-inch balls
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans
1 pound semisweet chocolate, such as Callebaut or Valrhona Equatoriale, finely chopped
60 (1-inch) fluted paper cups (optional)
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat the inside of a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl to aerate and combine.
3. Whisk together the melted butter, sugars, and vanilla. Whisk in the espresso powder, then add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition until smooth. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Scrape into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some moist crumbs clinging. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. The brownie is ready to use. Alternatively, double-wrap the pan in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day before proceeding.
5. To make the cake balls, crumble the cooled brownie and work with your hands (or the flat paddle of an electric mixer) until the crumbs come together. Roll into golf ball–size cake balls. Refrigerate until firm, if needed.
6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Crush the chocolate-covered espresso beans. You can use the flat bottom of a heavy pan or place them in a zipper-top bag and crush with a rolling pin. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Dip the balls one at a time in the chocolate, encouraging any excess chocolate to drip back into the container. Place, evenly spaced, on the prepared pan. Sprinkle some crushed espresso beans on top of each cake ball while the chocolate is still wet. Refrigerate briefly until the chocolate is set. Trim the bottoms, if needed. Place each cake ball in a paper cup, if desired. Place in a single layer in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.