Long, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was an undergraduate education major. During my sophomore year I did a practicum in a 3rd-6th grade classroom taught by a talented and extremely knowledgeable master teacher. I did my best to soak up his methods and approaches, hoping that someday I would be able to emulate his teaching style. I was in awe. One day, during a break in the action (when the kids were in P.E.), this master teacher asked if I would like a cup of coffee. Somehow I had made it to the age of 19 without a taste for anything stronger than a cup of Earl Grey, so I politely declined. Even to this day, I am relatively sure he was serious when he responded, “You’ll never make it as a teacher if you don’t drink coffee.” From that moment on I worked diligently (and rather successfully) to develop a love for coffee. Espresso even. The stronger the better. No milk and no sugar.
For better or worse, I seem to have passed this love of coffee on to my Main Monday Box Recipient, the college sophomore. One of his first care packages this year, was a shipment of Madagascar Vanilla coffee beans from Kaldi’s in St. Louis. (If you like vanilla flavored coffee, you have to try this stuff. It is wonderful.) So when I found this recipe for Iced Espresso Bars I had a feeling they would be a hit.
The bars have a soft, slightly chewy texture. They are sweet but I think that the glaze is important to the overall flavor and texture. Don’t skip it. The recipe emphasizes to use espresso or coffee powder, not granules. I used espresso powder from King Arthur Flour but my regular supermarket carries jars of espresso powder in their coffee aisle. I have never looked for coffee powder. Most instant coffee that I can remember is in granule form. Also, I once tried to substitute Starbucks Via for espresso powder in another recipe and it was awful, bitter and inedible. I don’t recommend it.
Wrapped in plastic, the bars kept well on the counter for 3-5 days. I bet they would remain fresh even longer if kept in the fridge.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon espresso/coffee powder (NOT granules)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- GLAZE: 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10×15 jelly roll pan (baking sheet with sides) with parchment paper.
- In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients and mix until combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Dump the dough onto the prepared pan. Cover the dough with a sheet of wax paper the size of the pan, and using your hands, press the dough evenly up to all edges. Remove the wax paper.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then glaze.
- GLAZE: Combine milk, butter, powdered sugar and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly until bubbly and smooth.
- Pour over barely cooled bars and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Cut into bars when the pan is warm but not hot to the touch.
- Cool completely on wire racks before wrapping or storing.