Espresso or coffee is one of those ingredients you can use secretly to amp up the flavor of chocolate. Kara was hesitant to try these because she doesn’t like the taste of coffee. She loved them! They’re rich, chocolatey and delicious. Espresso is used to enhance the flavor, not overpower it. Not only are these decadent, they’re really impressive too. Don’t be intimidated to try them, they’re easier to prepare than they look. I’ve made these time and time again and every batch I’m reminded of what perfection is.
The 3 layers include a buttery graham cracker crust, a smooth caramel center, and a rich chocolate top layer. Sprinkles of smoked sea salt on top bring out the sweet and salty. This recipe is another one of our favorite Giada recipes.
I guarantee if you bring this to a party 1. you’ll leave with an empty plate and 2. you’ll be asked repeatedly for the recipe.
Vegetable cooking spray
12 whole graham crackers, crushed
2 Tbsp sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
A sprinkle of smoked sea salt
Special equipment: a candy thermometer
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside of a 9-inch round springform pan. Spray the paper and the sides of the pan with cooking spray. Combine the crushed graham crackers and sugar with the melted butter. Gently press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
For the caramel: While the crust is cooling, in a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, butter, sugar, and water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F, about 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully pour the caramel over the warm crust. Cool for 20 minutes. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.
For the chocolate layer: Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Use a double boiler if you have one. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the espresso powder. Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel layer and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with smoked sea salt, if using. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm.
Allow the layers to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cut into small squares and store airtight in a covered plastic container.
Note: These are best served at room temperature. From our experience we’ve learned that if you leave them out too long the caramel oozes out of the sides and the chocolate starts to melt.
Source: adapted from Giada De Laurentiis