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Espresso Shortbread Brownie Bars

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I subscribe to quite a few culinary magazines; however, I don’t have a lot of free time, so they usually get filed into magazine organizers without much use. Sure I thumb through them and randomly mark pages with post-it notes, but inevitably the sit around and collect dust. For some reason, I just can’t bring myself to cancel the subscriptions.

However, this month’s issue of Food & Wine struck my fancy and I have since made three desserts from their delectable May recipe index. The first recipe that caught my eye were these Espresso-Shortbread Brownie Bars, so I decided to make them as a perfect ending to a family dinner of five-cheese manicotti.

The recipe is pretty straightforward and the espresso shortbread crust is a cinch to prepare in a food processor. When I first placed the shortbread crust into the pan, I thought there was no way I could get it to cover the entire bottom of pan. However, after a little patience and a lot of spreading, it worked out just fine. The only adjustment I made to this recipe was to use espresso powder as opposed to ground espresso beans, but my guess is they are pretty darn similar. I would definitely kick up the espresso powder amount as it was only slightly detectable in the finished product.

Although this recipe is not a new household fave, it is definitely a good recipe and a nice twist on traditional brownies. Brian prefers his brownies to be all ooey and gooey and these definitely do not fit that description. Personally, I was a big fan of the buttery espresso flecked shortbread crust.

Bottom Line? Are the decadent? Yes. Would I make them again? With so many other recipes out there to experiment with, I doubt I will give these a second try. I hope you have a delicious day and if you decide to give these a whirl, definitely come back and let me know your results!


Close up of espresso shortbread stacked on a plate

Espresso-Shortbread Brownie Bars

Chocolate and coffee boost these shortbread bars for a delectable treat.
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chill Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 24



  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Brownie layer

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs


  • Make the shortbread crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor, combine the butter with the flour, sugar, ground espresso and salt; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Press the crumbs into a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan to form a crust; prick all over with a fork. Freeze for 5 minutes, until firm. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, Prepare the brownie layer: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa, salt and baking powder. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the chocolate over low heat.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla, then stir in the eggs. Add the dry ingredients and stir until the brownie batter is smooth.
  • Pour the brownie batter over the shortbread crust, smoothing the surface. Bake for 30 minutes, until the brownie top is dry and lightly cracked around the edges; the center will still be a bit soft.
  • Let cool completely before cutting into bars.


  • The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.


Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 166mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 384IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg
The default measuring system on My Baking Addiction is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided as a courtesy; please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
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Thursday 1st of July 2010

do you think i could use the boxed brownie mix for the top part and keep the mocha shortbread base as is?


Tuesday 29th of June 2010

Amazingly enough, i did this recipe and for some odd reason, the brownie topping just wouldn't harden! It remained goey ... and my friends and family just loved it! I can send Brian a piece ;) Just wonder why it came out goey, I even kept it in the oven for 15 more minutes and it still didn't harden?!? I love your blog & recipes, as soon as i see a new one, i rush off to give it a shot :)

Weekend Cowgirl

Tuesday 25th of May 2010

These look delicious. Hoping to make them this weekend!


Monday 24th of May 2010

These look amazing. Your pictures always make me wanna try your recipes. As for the stacked up magazines. I have the same problem. I literally have 1 drawer in the kitchen that's overflowing with years old Bon Apetits that I have yet to go through. But I don't want to throw them out because I know I'll get through them... some day.


Monday 24th of May 2010

Oh goodness! These brownie bars look perfect. What great photos!

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