Orange Scented Brownie Sundaes

     Last week John and I met up with our niece to catch up, drink some beer, and muse upon our hopes and dreams. Somewhere throughout the conversation, she told us about this new drink she’s been making (she’s quite the talented barista). This is how she does it: she begins by muddling an orange peel with melted dark chocolate ganache, then pulls a shot of espresso through cinnamon that’s been dusted on the machine, then tops the finished product with steamed milk.

     As I listened to her describe this admittedly creative and unique take on a familiar drink, I started soaking up inspiration for what would eventually become these sundaes. It’s a pretty straight-drawn line from inspiration to creation—a beautiful blend of rich chocolate, bright citrus, aromatic coffee, and soothing whipped cream. I decided to use bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder to create a depth of chocoltaly flavor , fresh orange zest for a sweet citrus burst.  

     These chocolatey squares strike a great balance between the two attributes of every good brownie—they have both a fudgy chewiness and a cakey fluffiness. Best of all, they achieve that ever elusive and ceaselessly sought-after shiny, crackly crust. Now one thing to remember is that while of course these brownies find a comfortable place when nestled into a sundae, they also taste just as amazing on their own.

     I didn’t include an exact recipe for these sundaes since everyone will likely prefer different ratios of brownie-to-ice cream. Instead I wanted to give you the inspiration to make these sundaes if you find yourself wanting to turn this batch of brownies into something new. 

Thank you for the inspiration for the recipe Rebecca, love you!

Orange Scented Brownie

1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing 

3 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate, finely chopped

1 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar 

zest of one large orange

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder


Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking pan and line with two strips of overlapping parchment paper. Be sure to leave a little over hang as this helps during the removal process.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in small bowl and set aside. In another bowl combine the sugar and orange zest by rubbing together with your fingers until fragrant and the zest has been incorporated into the sugar. 

Add the butter to a saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Once melted add in the both chocolates, vanilla extract and espresso powder and mix until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a large bowl.

Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate mixture. Once combined, beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth.

Fold the flour into the melted chocolate mixture with a spatula until smooth, then pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center only has a few moist crumbs attached. Place on cooling rack to cool. Once cool, remove from pan and cut into 16 squares.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Tip: Wipe knife between cuts for cleaner edges on the brownies.

How to make a sundae

Simply cut the brownie into desired sized pieces. Top the brownie with a generous scoop of coffee ice cream, (I got mine from Molly Moon's), a dollop of whipped cream, and some chopped hazelnuts. And that's all it takes to make the sundae of your dreams!