Let's be real, guys. Brownies make everything amazing. Dense. Fudgy, Chocolatey. Happiness. I hadn't made brownies in quite some time, so they seemed like the perfect treat for Valentine's Day this year. Plus, when you take a heart shaped cookie cutter to brownies, they instantly become festive! 

I added a hefty serving of super finely ground coffee to the batter and topped these beauties with some chopped hazelnuts and a little flake salt. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it's basically pure heaven! 

So here's a little something to make and share with your loved ones this Valentine's / Galentine's Day. I promise, nobody is going to be upset when you show up with brownies. And the best thing about cutting them into hearts is all the little scrap pieces you get to devour in the process! 

I started with my classic brownie recipe, which to me is the perfect balance between fudgy and cakey. They're mostly fudgy, but with the slightest bit of lift so they're not too rich. Then I just added in some super finely ground coffee (okay, a lot of it) and sprinkled hazelnuts and flake salt on top. Dressing up brownies is easy, and oh so satisfying! 

Plate one of these beautiful hearts with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dash of cocoa powder to treat yourself to a decadent treat - Hello Valentine's Day! 

Espresso Brownies with Hazelnuts & Sea Salt

Notes: I listed a range of coffee to add to these brownies, because everyone has a different preference. I love them with the full 3 Tbsp, rich and roasty, but use a smaller amount if you aren't coffee obsessed. 

3oz unsweetened chocolate 

4oz semi-sweet chocolate (about 60% cacao is great!)

4oz unsalted butter 

1 1/4 cup sugar 

2 tsp vanilla extract 

3 eggs

1 cup flour 

3 Tbsp cocoa powder 

1/2 tsp salt 

1-3 Tbsp very finely ground coffee or espresso

3/4 cups roughly chopped hazelnuts

flake salt to garnish  

  • Prepare a quarter sheet pan (or an 8x8 or 9x9 pan) by making a parchment paper sling, covering the bottom and coming up two of the sides with a little extra so you can lift the brownies out of the pan. Cover the parchment with oil, using spray or a brush. 
  • In a double boiler (or a bowl over a pot with a little water in the bottom!), melt the chocolate and the butter together, stirring occasionally. 
  • While the chocolate is melting, measure out the rest of the ingredients. Put the sugar and vanilla in one bowl, and the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso in another bowl. 
  • Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or use the bowl it's already in and a whisk!). Add the sugar and vanilla to the chocolate and mix on a medium-high speed until the sugar starts to dissolve and the mixture gets shiny.
  • Add the eggs and mix until combined. 
  • Add the flour mixture and use a spatula to stir it into the chocolate until just combined. 
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out as evenly as you possibly can. Sprinkle the hazelnuts and a little flake salt on top.  
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (longer if you used an 8x8!), until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. 
  • Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, then lift them out and set them on the counter or a cutting board. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut the brownies into hearts. 
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.