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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. Maria says:

    I think these are worth a try, at least once:)

  2. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle says:

    I made these as well but we really liked them. I also substituted some Italian espresso powder and added a bit more than the recipe called for so I could discern a decidedly coffee flavor. The end result for me was more of a cookie texture; however living in Colorado see many baked goods end up slightly different than the recipe developer expected. Our dry air and high altitude make baking a guessing game every time!

    As much as I liked them, we loved the Pecan Shortbread in the same article; try those sometime…they disappeared and are so easy to make!

  3. CaSaundra says:

    I have a similar problem with too many magazines, but I always think, one day they will come in handy! Haha :-) These bars sound really unique–thanks for sharing!

  4. betty says:

    these look great! i really need a food processor… :O)

    thanks for sharing! x

  5. DessertForTwo says:

    I feel the same way–there are so many other recipes I want to try that, unless it’s mind-blowing, it will probably not get made again. It doesn’t mean the recipe isn’t good though. These look great–thanks for an honest review! :)

  6. Joanne says:

    I know what you mean about having way too many cooking magazines and not enough time to read them. I have stacks upon stacks!

    I really like the sound of the shortbread crust! I may use that and doctor up the brownie topping a bit.

  7. hannah @ thepastrykook says:

    i think they look great!

  8. Eliana says:

    I can’t bring myself to cancel my foodie magazine subscriptions either. Even though I can get the recipes online, thumbing through the pages is so therapeutic.

  9. janis says:

    ooh… it looks yummy!
    better try this sometime :D

  10. Jessica @ How Sweet says:

    I saw these in Food and Wine too and they sounded delicious. Look delicious, too!