14 April 2010

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

Before I explain this picture, I'd like to thank everyone for their comments on the race report post. I really looked forward to sharing it with you guys, and I hope it was a bit informative to read, as well.


I had what I thought was an epiphany during Easter when I made lemon bars with my brother. Why not make... COFFEE BARS? I figured I'd just decrease the sugar and sub cooled coffee in place of the lemon juice. Instead of making the crust normally, I'd add espresso powder. In theory, this was a brilliant idea.

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

As the crust baked, I whisked up the mixture of coffee, sugar, eggs, flour, a bit of cocoa powder and espresso powder for enhancement, and salt. All the ingredients required for a great time.

Unfortunately... There's like an eggy layer that separated during the baking process, clearly visible. It's like an eggy layer of flan with a smooth pudding layer underneath. Taste wise, it wasn't that bad, but I found myself wishing I had more espresso shortbread. I had one during lunch today, and maybe it was because I forgot to cover it overnight, but it solidified into an edible mass of a rubber texture. Ew. Perhaps the temperature, which was at 375°, should have been lowered after the crust finished partly baking so the custard had a lower, even temperature. Thoughts?


I don't think I'll be posting the actual recipe here because I wasn't very pleased with the outcome, but I will leave the shortbread recipe since it was delicious.

Recipe after the jump

coffee bars with espresso shortbread crust

espresso shortbread
From an Allrecipes.com recipe for lemon bars

ingredients ~

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 10-inch square baking pan, then line with a sheet of wax paper or parchment, leaving an overhand on two sides. Grease paper and set aside.

  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Using a wooden spoon (channel your inner Luddite, folks), mix in the butter until curds start to form. It'll look almost like pie crust after you add the liquid, so it shouldn't be completely powder and it'll stick together when pressed. If you mix it until it comes together in a ball, it'll be a bit more tricky to press in the pan.

  3. Dump mixture in baking pan and press, spreading to the edges, in an even thickness. You can score the top with a fork, if you'd like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Use paper overhang to remove to a cooling rack, and cut into preferred sizes.



  1. Christina, I don't know if you got my email on Monday, but I won a blogger award and had to choose my 12 favorite blogs to nominate. It goes without saying that I chose this wonderful blog. You can see it here. Cheers!


  2. Oh, that's too bad that these didn't turn out like you wanted. They sound like they have such potential!

    Where does one buy espresso powder, pray tell? I see it in recipes all the time, but all I can find is instant coffee.

  3. hey still props to you for experimenting...pretty brilliant idea if you ask me! and they look really pretty :)

  4. It was a really cool idea to add the espresso. Too bad it didn't work out as you planned. I have yet to make lemon bars.

  5. I think I would like this. I wouldn't think it has much caffeine.

  6. The lack of acid could have been the culprit for the eggy separation. Coffee has a bright flavor but isn't very acidic at all--a pH of about 5 - 7 compared to a much lower pH of lemon juice, ~2.3. Maybe if you used a chocolate custard type recipe as your base instead?

  7. Could you help with my shortbread? Pretty please? :)



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