Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Pie Bars from Feed the Resistance

From favorite cookbook author Julia Turshen comes Feed the Resistance, a practical and inspiring handbook for political activism—with recipes. When people search for ways to resist injustice and express support for civil rights, environmental protections, and more, they begin by gathering around the table to talk and plan. These dishes foster community and provide sustenance for the mind and soul, including a dozen of the healthy, affordable recipes Turshen is known for, plus over 15 more recipes from a diverse range of celebrated chefs.

Feed the Resistance

The following recipe is from author and baker Cheryl Day. During the 1950s, a group of women baked and sold pies, cookies, and cakes in beauty salons and on street corners to help fund transportation costs during the bus boycott triggered by Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama. Georgia Gilmore’s secret kitchen known as “The Club From Nowhere” used her cooking talent to fund and feed the Civil Rights Movement. These decadent pie bars will get you fueled up and ready to go.

Chocolate Espresso Pie Bars

Makes Forty-Eight 2-in [5-cm] Bars

4 ½ cups [540 g] unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup [150 g] packed light brown sugar
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 lb [4 sticks/448 g] unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for your pan

1 cup [165 g] chocolate chips (we used 70 percent cacao)
1 ½ cups [3 sticks/339 g] unsalted butter, cut into large cubes
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups [600 g] sugar
1 Tbsp ground espresso
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
6 large eggs

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Ice cream (any flavor you like such as vanilla or coffee, for serving)

To make the crust, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 12-by-17-in [30-by-43-cm] rimmed baking sheet, then line with parchment paper. Allow the ends to hang over on all sides to help lift the bars from the pan.

In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt (break up any large clumps of brown sugar with your fingers). Slowly drizzle in the butter and stir with a fork until the mixture looks moist and crumbly. Using your hands, press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the baking sheet. You can decorate the edges by crimping with a fork or leave them rustic. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes.

Line the pie shell with parchment and fill with dried beans. Bake until the crust is just set and lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the beans and set the crust aside on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

To make the filling, decrease the temperature to 325°F [165°C]. In a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate chips with the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, espresso, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until incorporated. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Bake until set in the center and cracks form on the top, 45 to 50 minutes.

Now the hard part: set aside to cool completely. When cool, cut into forty-eight roughly 2-by-2-in [5-by-5-cm] bars. Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar and you’re ready to go.

Serve with ice cream, if you like.

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You can find Feed the Resistance here.

Jenna Homen

Community Manager at Chronicle Books. When she's logged off, she can be found cooking, camping, or in a museum. You can follow her on Twitter at @jn_na.
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