Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to make a Chocolate-Espresso Brownie Affogato and Happy Book News from Cleo Coyle

In Italian, affogato means drowned. 

In a cafe, an affogato is a dessert...one that coffee-lovers wouldn't mind drowning in!

If you order an affogato, a small bowl (or cup) of gelato or ice cream will be brought to you with a shot of fresh espresso beside it. 

To complete the affogato, you simply pour the hot espresso over the ice cream, drowning it in the earthy warmth of the coffee. This combination of sweet cream and dark heat is the heart of the dessert's appeal (at least to coffee-lovers...and Italians :)).

What I described is a basic affogato, but there are more elaborate variations. 

For example, celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis once made a gingerbread affogato. She infused a simple syrup with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves; and then poured the syrup over the ice cream with the espresso.

More common variations include a shot of liqueur served beside the shot of espresso (such as amaretto or Frangelico). Today, I'm sharing my "Coffeehouse" version, served over a base of warm-from-the-oven Chocolate-Espresso Brownies.

I'm also celebrating some happy news about my newly released Coffeehouse Mystery A Brew to a Kill. More on that news at the end of this post. 

First, let's get cooking! 

~ Cleo 

Cleo Coyle, a former Brownie
(and Girl Scout), is author
author of The Coffeehouse
Cleo's Coffeehouse
Espresso Brownie Affogato

Warm brownies out of the oven are a little piece of heaven. Over the years, I've baked up plenty of pans from scratch and shared recipes with you. For example:

Aphrodisiac Brownies, from Murder by Mocha, (click here to see that recipe) and... 

Black Bean Brownies from A Brew to a Kill (click here to see that one).

Today, I'm sharing a quick-and-easy espresso brownie that you can whip up with a boxed mix. Why a mix? For those of you who don't bake much, this is an easy and foolproof way to bake a pan of brownies. Where did the recipe come from? Twenty years ago, brownie mixes had one flavor: chocolate. Being a coffee geek, I threw together this recipe, which infuses the earthy flavor of my favorite bean into the crumb. 

This recipe is adaptable to practically any boxed brownie mix. While you can now buy mocha brownie mixes, I find adding these fresh ingredients to a basic chocolate fudge mix produces better tasting espresso brownies. So give it a try and (as always) I sincerely hope you will...eat with joy! ~ Cleo 

To download this recipe in a PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.


1 Box of Chocolate Brownie Mix (for a 9 x 13-inch pan)

1/4 cup espresso or strongly brewed coffee

1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder (*see my note at end of recipe)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

TO MAKE THE BROWNIES: Pour the dry brownie mix into a large bowl. Do not add water as directed on the package. Instead, pour the espresso or strongly brewed coffee into a cup and dissolve the espresso powder into it. Add the vanilla and pour this mixture into the large bowl with the dry brownie mix. The brownie mix directions will likely ask you to add 2 or 3 eggs (2 for fudge-like brownies, 3 for cake-like). Make your choice and add the eggs. Add the oil required (usually 1/2 cup). Stir as directed, 50 strokes, do not over-mix but be sure to scrape down the bowl and blend in any visible dry mix into the wet batter. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and (if you like) chopped nuts. Pour into a pan that's been lightly coated with non-stick spray or greased with butter. Bake as directed on the package and cut into squares. 

*A note on espresso powder: Espresso powder is not ground up espresso beans. It is made from freeze-dried espresso. It dissolves in water to create instant espresso. While I don't recommend drinking espresso made from freeze-dried powder, I highly recommend using good quality espresso powder (rather than freeze-dried instant coffee) to add coffee flavor to your baking and cooking. Look for espresso powder in the instant coffee section of your grocery store. Or click here to see brands that you can purchase online.

TO MAKE THE AFFOGATO: Place two warm brownies in a small bowl or one brownie in a coffee cup. Add a scoop of ice cream or gelato. Serve this with a shot of hot espresso or strongly brewed coffee. One shot = 1 to 1-1/2 ounces of liquid (or 2 to 3 tablespoons). The general rule for an affogato is one shot of coffee per scoop of ice cream. To finish, pour the hot coffee over the cold ice cream and warm brownie and...

Eat (and read) with joy! 
~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Sweet News!

After a year on sale in
hardcover and e-book,
 A Brew to a Kill
is now an official
bestseller in paperback!

"A foodie's delight...And a
satisfyingly rich mystery."
~ Kirkus Reviews

A Brew to a Kill
#3 bestseller
in paperback mysteries
at B&N nationwide!

We also made B&N's Top-20*
(in store) bestsellers list for all
mass market paperbacks sold,

 *B&N Store Bestselllers
Aug. 20, 2013

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.


  1. This is spectacular, Cleo! And what great news about your bestselling book. Well-deserved and more to come I am sure.



    1. Our hearts are racing, MJ--although we're not sure if it's the bestseller list, or all that affogato sampling! (It’s a nice feeling either way. :))

      Thanks for the nice words, MJ, have a great week...
      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. this looks absolutely deadly Cleo! and hurray hurray hurray for the bestsellers list--we are so proud to be in the kitchen with you!

    1. I feel the same, Lucy/Roberta. I'm so proud to be blogging with you and everyone here at MLK. Speaking of which...
      Happy 4-year Blogoversary to us!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. Hurray and huzzah for bestsellers!
    Be still my heart on this recipe. Brownies (with a coffee kick-the only way to make brownies in my opinion, gelato, and espresso.
    Oh My Yes

    1. Well, there's nothing more to say but...pass me your empty cup! :)

      Always a pleasure to see you in the Kitchen, Libby. Cheers to you (and may your week be caffeinated)!

      ~ Cleo
      Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  4. Well, now you've done it. Now I want brownies!!!!! That photo with the espresso pouring is amazing!

    What a way to celebrate the success of your book! Huge congratulations!


    1. You want brownies? Come on over! We have too many. Everything in moderation, right? Hard to remember when those tasty chocolate squares are calling from their airtight container. Aren't those things supposed to be soundproof? :)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Congratulations on your exciting news (not that we're a bit surprised)! You really DO rock!

    And so do these brownies...gelato...espresso... can I be Italian too? Please?

    1. Can you be Italian, too? Wait, let me get my scroll...

      You, Laine, are now officially awarded the Leave-the-Gun-Take-The-Cannoli-Honorary-Italian-Citizenship Certificate. Your new Italian name is: Lainietta. Condition No. 1 for this honorary Italian designation: You must cook with love and eat with joy (and I'm pretty sure you already do).

      XOXO and thx for your longtime support, Laine, it means a lot to me and Marc. Have a "multo bene!" week...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”

      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. Hip hip horray!!!! Such exciting news about "A Berew to a Kill". Congratualations to both you and Marc, it is well deserved.

    Now on to these brownies...Holy Smokin' Rockets! You know I only use that term in the best of circumstances...and my dear this is the best. We have been without a working oven for the last few months and just found out that one has been found (long story short) we live in a 1950's ranch with a built in double oven with an unusual (for 2013) measurements. I've done quite well with the gas grill (mastered biscuits in a cast iron skillet), the stove top and the crock pot. Now I know what my inaugural meal will be...ESPRESSO BROWNIES!!! I'll cast my casein cares to the wind and even use real ice cream, to boot.

    Congrats again from all of us here at Chez Phillipe...we are thrilled for you and now even more excited for Billionair Blend :-)

    nanc...who loves exclamation points on days like today!!!!

    1. You are a dear, Nanc. Marc and I send our thanks for your longtime support of us and our books. As you know, we named our youngest barista after you. That's not quite a child, but close!

      Espresso hugs, caffeinated kisses, and enough sweetness to counteract the bitter...

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Oh, yum, yum, yum! These look scrumptious. Can't wait to try them. Yum!

    Congrats on the bestselling paperback status, too!

    Daryl / Avery

    1. Daryl/Avery - thanks for the happy yumming--and continued congrats to you on launching a new series AND starting year four here with Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Happy Blogoversary to us (and our readers and followers)!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter