Espresso Cream Cheese Brownie Cupcakes
I’ve had a big chocolate craving going on lately. Normally, I eat a bit of chocolate every day to keep my chocolate fix in check, and nobody gets hurt. Right now, just giving me a bit of chocolate is the equivalent to trying to give a big, husky, meat-eating man a little slider when what he really wants is a bacon double cheeseburger. It just isn’t going to work. I’ve needed something chocolatey, intense, fudgey, and decadent. These Espresso Cream Cheese Brownie Cupcakes have answered my prayers. I was contemplating dipping them in a bittersweet chocolate ganache, but I refrained. I had to stop somewhere! It turns out, stopping right here was good. Really good.
Funny thing is, these brownies were kind of a mistake. I made some mini black bottom cupcakes for a birthday party over the weekend, and I had some cream cheese filling left over. Have you ever had black bottom cupcakes? They’re wonderful. The cream cheese creates a luxurious filling and chocolate chips sink down to the bottom of the cake — hence the name “black bottom”. I was going to make half a batch of black bottom cupcakes, muffin-size this time, so I could use the leftover cream cheese filling and submit a post on them. I thought, why not make black bottom brownies, instead? Well, it turns out the brownie batter was a bit too heavy for the topping to sink down, but the result was still, ultimately delicious. Isn’t that all that really matters?
These brownies are triple chocolate. I told you I had a big craving right now! Melted chocolate chips go into the brownie, along with cocoa powder, and there are mini chocolate chips in the cream cheese filling, as well. The addition of the instant espresso powder really takes a hold of that chocolate flavor and intensifies it. It tastes even more chocolatey. Hallelujah!
These Espresso Cream Cheese Brownie Cupcakes would be great for a Super Bowl party, Valentine’s Day, or any occasion. Dress them up with chocolate ganache and sprinkles or candies, or leave them just as they are. They will satisfy your chocolate craving…at least until the next day when you’ll need another one. 😆
- 4 ounces ⅓ less fat Neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with (10) foil or paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium high speed until smooth. Add the egg and sugar, and beat until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
- Fill a medium saucepan with water about 2 inches high. Place the butter and chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and place over the saucepan. The water shouldn't touch the bottom of the heatproof bowl. Simmer over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are completely melted. Remove from heat.
- Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso powder to the butter and chocolate mixture, stirring until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add the flour and salt, and stir just until combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup ⅔ full of brownie batter. Place a large dollop of cream cheese filling in the center of each brownie cupcake (about 1½ teaspoons). Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from pan and cool completely on the wire rack.
Brownie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Double-Chocolate Brownie recipe