Irish Coffee & walnut brownies

I really had high hopes of getting back to a regular blogging schedule.  Evidently that hasn’t happened, and even Sunday Smiles has completely flown out of the window.  With two months until I’m supposed to be handing in a 40,000 word thesis, I’ve accepted that a regular blogging schedule is unlikely to magically throw itself together any time soon.  So I’ll stop peppering the blog with excuses and apologies for not posting, and just hope that you, my lovely regular readers, will hang in there and put up with some seriously sporadic posting.  Will a pretty picture make up for it a bit?  Let’s give it a try:

Have I mentioned how idyllic my surroundings are? I'm actually jealous of myself.

That’ll be the view from a recent evening walk I took with one of my housemates.  Which is obviously not what I’ve been doing instead of blogging.  Perhaps not so surprising that I absolutely love it here, eh?  Moving swiftly on before you all hate me…  I’m sure you’re aware that it was St Patrick’s Day the weekend before last.  (Oh that’s why the internet was suddenly almost entirely decked out in green…)  A couple of my housemates and I went to visit one of our other housemates who is doing research up north (my current housing situation is currently somewhat convoluted and there’s a fair bit of subletting involved) for St Patrick’s weekend.  I, of course, brought baked goods.  And gin, obviously.  But lets focus on the baked goods.

Chocolate and walnuts – a promising start for any baked goods (unless you dislike chocolate or walnuts…)

I wanted something vaguely Irish-themed since it was St Patrick’s and all, and had an urge to bake brownies (which are also easy to transport – win!).  I looked up my favourite brownie recipe (coffee & walnut brownies, since you ask) to see how I could Irishify (totally a word) it.  And it hit me: Irish Coffee & walnut brownies.  Oh yes.

Hang on a second, where did all the brownies go?

AlphaBakesConfession time: I didn’t actually use an Irish whisky – there wasn’t any in the cupboard so I used Glenfiddich, my usual baking whisky.  Luckily the brownies turned out so scrumptious that nobody picked me up on it.  The whisky flavour does come through subtly and goes wonderfully with the other flavours in the brownies.  Success!  I’m submitting these brownies to this month’s AlphaBakes challenge, which is being hosted by Caroline Makes.  The special letter this month is “I,” so that’ll be I for Irish Coffee…  That totally counts as an ingredient, right?  I’m also attempting to sneak my entry in because I totally thought the deadline was today…  It was yesterday.  Thankfully, I’m way more on the ball with my thesis due date…

Oh that's where all the brownies went…  Into the biscuit tin.

Irish Coffee & walnut brownies

Makes 20 brownies
Adapted from Le Larousse des desserts

I used Glenfiddich as that’s my usual baking whisky, but just use whatever you favour – an Irish whisky would obviously be ideal…  You can also use freshly-brewed espresso rather than instant coffee if that’s what you have at home.  These will keep for a several days in an airtight container, though they’re so moreish that I doubt they’ll last that long!  These are probably best enjoyed with a coffee – an Irish Coffee, obviously.


70g walnut pieces of halves
140g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
125g unsalted butter
2 tbsp espresso-style instant coffee
4 tbsp boiling water
3-4 tbsp whisky
1 tbsp cream
60g all-purpose flour
150g caster sugar
2 eggs


1.  Line a 20 x 25 cm baking tin with baking paper.  Pre-heat the oven to fan 170°C.

2.  Roughly chop the walnuts, then dry toast them in a small frying pan until fragrant, taking care not to let them burn.  Set aside to cool.

3.  Break half the chocolate into pieces and add to a medium heat-proof bowl with the cubed butter.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).  In a little ramekin or glass, dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water.  Add to the chocolate and butter mixture along with the whisky and cream and melt together, stirring occasionally.  When all melted together and smooth, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

3.  Sift the flour into a small bowl.  Roughly chop the remaining chocolate into small chunks and stir into the flour, along with the cooled toasted walnuts.

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until well mixed and a little foamy.  Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture.  Fold in the flour mixture with a spatula then pour into the prepared baking tin.  Smooth the top of the mixture if necessary and bake for 18-22 mins until a knife point comes out with a little mixture still stuck to it.

5.  Cool for about 20-30 mins in the tin until just warm, then remove and allow to cool fully on a wire rack before slicing and serving.


Yummy goodness in progress.


Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods

10 responses to “Irish Coffee & walnut brownies

  1. These sound really good. I’m not sure I’ve put coffee in brownies before, so I may just have to give these a try. The addition of whiskey can only be a good thing!

    • Mel

      Thank you Janine! Coffee goes so well with chocolate, so it really is a great addition to brownies. And you’re right, whisky makes everything better, haha 🙂

  2. Wow! It’s beautiful! =)

  3. I think your Irish coffee that is actually Scottish is absolutely fine for Alphabakes, it was in the name of the recipe and is in the spirit of the challenge (no pun intended!). I could hardly say no – I made Idaho potato cakes without actually using Idaho potatoes but it was the name of the recipe! (I did use potatoes but they were British!). I haven’t finished the roundup yet either so I will add yours, thanks for entering and good luck with your thesis – my university dissertation was 10,000 words which I thought was a lot!

    • Mel

      Phew! 🙂 Thanks for letting me slip in there rather last minute! Love that you used British potatoes – huzzah for supporting local and all that (also, I’ve no idea where one would specifically find Idaho potatoes). Thanks, I’ll be needing all the luck I can get – my BSc Hons dissertation was 7,000 words and I thought that was quite a mission at the time…

  4. strongassoup

    These sound delicious. I’m not a huge fan of whisky (well, we all have our faults) but I think it’s wonderful in cakes and desserts of all kinds. I know this is not Sunday Smiles, but since your thesis is 40,000 words long, it does bring to mind one of the things that made me smile and throw things recently: the Bic for Her range of pens. Just in case you haven’t heard, they’re made especially for feminine hands and come in those nice pink colours that ladies love so much. As Bridget Christie has pointed out, if only Emily Brontë had used Bic for Her , then she might have written something decent. Ellen DeGeneres has also ‘endorsed’ the pens
    I hope the thesis goes well, whatever you write it with.

    • Mel

      Thank you! I had heard rumours of the Bic For Her range, but hadn’t watched Ellen DeGeneres’ “endorsement” of them – hilarious!! Thanks for sharing, that definitely brightened up my afternoon of thesis-writing… 🙂 I wonder if they’ll invent special laptop keyboards for ladies next…

  5. These look so good, I wish I found them last weekend, I was looking for a brownie recipe… next time for sure

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