For the brownies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, in pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
For the espresso buttercream:
1 teaspoon espresso powder (or instant coffee crystals)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the chocolate ganache:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
Chocolate-covered espresso beans, optional
1. For the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Thoroughly coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
3. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and the unsweetened chocolate until smooth, stirring frequently.
4. Remove the chocolate from the heat and let cool slightly.
5. Add the sugar, mixing well.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
7. Add the vanilla.
8. In a separate small bowl, mix the flour and the baking soda.
9. Add the flour to the chocolate mixture and stir until just combined.
10. Add the bittersweet chocolate chunks to the batter and mix until combined.
11. Pour and evenly spread the batter into the pan and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
12. For the frosting: Dissolve the espresso powder (or coffee crystals) in the heavy cream.
13. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat the powdered sugar and the butter on medium speed until crumbly.
14. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the coffee/cream mixture until smooth, adding more cream if necessary for your desired consistency.
15. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled brownies.
16. For the chocolate ganache: In a small saucepan, heat the cream and the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth and slightly thickened. Let cool to room temperature before frosting (0r chill in the fridge until ready to use.) Once smooth, frost the brownies with the chocolate ganache. Top with chocolate-covered espresso beans, if using.