Desserts for Dudes: Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix Brownies

Don't *EVEN* get me started on these brownies.  OK.  Not really.  Get me started.  
dark chocolate espresso trail mix brownies
I came up with these brownies for my big dude (the one I'm married to) because he's a huge fan of Target's trail mixes.  His favorites are the Black and White and the Dark Chocolate Espresso.

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For this recipe, I used Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix.  What's inside?  Chocolate-covered almonds, praline almonds, mocha pecans, chocolate chips, hazelnuts, and chocolate-covered coffee beans.  What I love about adding it to brownies is that you get a lot of different "crunches," not just your typical pecans or walnuts.

dark chocolate espresso trail mix brownies
My advice to you is this: make these brownies when you have people to share them with.  I'm sitting here, totally full from lunch, one huge brownie down.  I start editing the pictures and could I resist going back for another?!?  I mean, look at them...
dark chocolate espresso trail mix brownies
{Of course, I cut one in half, went back to editing pictures, then promptly got up and ate the other half.  Who are these people who can eat 1/2 of a brownie?}

Side note:  I was telling one the sweet (super fit) instructors at Pure Barre that I struggle with seeing big results from working out.  You see, I explained, blogging and recipe development involve lots of taste testing, and her advice was to test "just one bite."  And that, my friends, is why she looks the way she does, and I look the way I do. ;) 

Alright, back to the brownies.  Here's what you can expect: deep, dark chocolate...a hint of espresso...fudgey texture...melty chocolate...and assorted crunchiness throughout.
dark chocolate espresso trail mix brownies

To get that deep, dark color and rich chocolate flavor, I swear by Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa...
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Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix Brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
2 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 & 1/2 cups Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 & 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup Target Archer Farms Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x13" pan.

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Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Once melted, stir in the sugar.  Stir the sugar and butter while gently heating until the mixture is warm to the touch (but not boiling).  Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the cocoa, espresso powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla.  Whisk in the eggs until incorporated.

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Stir in the flour...

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...then fold in the trail mix.

Pour into the prepared pan, and smooth.  Bake for 28 minutes, or until done.  Cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack.

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*adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion*

Y'all...forget the dudes.  I think I'm going back for another. 
dark chocolate espresso trail mix brownies
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