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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!


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Espresso-Shortbread Brownie Bars

By: Jamie
No ratings yet
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Chill Time: 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 24
Chocolate and coffee boost these shortbread bars for a delectable treat.



  • 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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.


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  1. JD says:

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

  2. Marwa says:

    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 :)

  3. Weekend Cowgirl says:

    These look delicious. Hoping to make them this weekend!

  4. Jennifer says:

    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.

  5. Memoria says:

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

  6. Katrina says:

    I love the look of these. They are gorgeous…and will obviously taste good as well!!

  7. Sue says:

    These look great! I have to try these.

  8. Lori @ RecipeGirl says:

    Mmmmm! I haven’t taken a peek at this month’s issue yet… still sitting in the monster pile of food mags that I (insanely) get every month. I can’t keep up.
    These, however, look delicious :)

  9. Cherine says:

    Those look delicious!