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Espresso Brownies

My Espresso Brownies recipe is the ultimate indulgent treat for those days when you’re craving something sweet. These coffee brownies are dark, rich and seriously fudgy. You can’t stop at one!

Three espresso brownies stacked with more brownies around.
You can’t stop at one!

As an Italian, I love coffee desserts like my Tiramisu Cups, Coffee Cookies or Coffee Biscotti. And these Espresso Brownies are just as good! You will love the combination of dark chocolate with the fragrant aroma of espresso powder.

The secret of incredibly flavorful coffee brownies is actually not sugar, but salt. The salt in the Espresso Brownies enhances the chocolate and coffee flavors. Plus, it balances perfectly with the sweet caramel flavor of the brown sugar – making these Espresso brownies truly irresistible.

Not only are these Espresso Brownies ridiculously good, but they are also completely foolproof. I made many trial brownies before I settled on this recipe – just ask my family! But now, I’m confident that you too can create the perfect, fudgy brownie with a crackly top by following this recipe. 

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect brownie recipe, look no further! These decadent Espresso Brownies are unbeatable with their rich coffee flavor and fudgy texture. The only problem is, they come with a disclaimer – you can’t stop at one!

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe as listed in the recipe card.
  • Dark chocolate – good quality dark cooking chocolate is best for these indulgent espresso brownies
  • Salted butter – I love using salted butter in my baking because the touch of salt cuts through the sweetness and actually enhances the chocolate flavor. 
  • Vegetable oil – the flavor of vegetable oil is very mild so it doesn’t affect the taste, however, it helps to create a decadent fudgy brownie. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – I’ve used regular cocoa powder in this recipe but you could use Dutch processed cocoa if that’s all you’ve got. 
  • Instant espresso powder – This is the only source of coffee flavor in these brownies, so use the strongest instant coffee powder you can find. I like espresso which is often made with higher quality espresso beans. 
  • Salt – A little extra salt to bring out the flavor of these decadent brownies. If you’re not a fan, it can easily be left out. 
  • Granulated sugar – I use fine granulated white sugar which ensures the sugar dissolves easily into the mixture. This, together with well beaten eggs, is what gives the coffee brownies the perfect crackly crust. Regular granulated sugar will be fine.
  • Dark brown sugar – This adds a decadent molasses caramel flavor to the espresso brownies. Use light brown sugar if that’s all you have.
  • Eggs – I prefer free range eggs and they should be at room temperature
  • All purpose flour – also known as plain flour or regular wheat flour. 

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 340ºF/170ºC and line an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) metal cake pan with parchment paper.

Butter, cocoa powder and chocolate in glass bowl in a steel saucepan.

Melt the chocolate, butter, oil, cocoa, espresso powder and salt together over a double boiler.

Brown and white sugar on melted chocolate mixture.

Stir in white and dark brown sugar.

Egg on melted chocolate mixture.

Whisk in the eggs (one at a time) to the mixture.

Flour added on top of melted chocolate mixture.

Whisk in the all purpose flour until combined

Pour the brownie batter into the lined baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Hint: The eggs must be whisked in well to achieve a crackly crust. The mixture also needs to be still quite warm, but not hot or you might cook the eggs. 

Substitutions

  • If you don’t like dark chocolate, you could substitute milk chocolate for a sweet chocolate brownie. 
  • You could substitute 1/2 cup unsalted butter for salted butter if you don’t like the amount of saltiness in this brownie recipe. Or if unsalted butter is all you have and you’re still after the richness that comes from the salted butter, add a little more salt to the existing ½ a teaspoon. 
  • Try melted semi sweet chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate.

Variations

  • Chocolate Chunk Brownies – Chocolate lovers could make double chocolate Espresso Brownies by stirring in 1 cup of chocolate chunks with the flour.
  • Nutty Brownies – After a nutty crunch in your coffee brownies? Try adding a cup of coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts when stirring in the flour. 
  • Salty Brownies – Sprinkle the surface of the espresso chocolate brownies with salt flakes just before baking for a moorish salted version. 

Equipment

I use a metal 8 x 8 inch cake pan (20 x 20cm) because metal conducts heat the best meaning you can guarantee perfectly fudgy Espresso Brownies. You could use a glass baking pan, however, the baking time will need to be adjusted and the temperature slightly lowered to ensure the brownie bakes more evenly. 

Storage

I find these Espresso Brownies are actually best enjoyed the next day because the flavors have time to mellow and infuse together. Plus, they can last for up to 4-5 days in an airtight container.

You can also freeze the cooled and sliced Espresso Brownies by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and covering with aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. When you want to enjoy the brownies, simply remove from the freezer and reheat in the microwave.  

Tips for Success

Brownies cut into squares with one removed and place on top of the others.

This recipe for Espresso Brownies has been tested extensively. To achieve the perfect fudgy brownie with a crackly top, you must whisk in the sugar and eggs while the mixture is still warm (not hot as it could scramble the eggs). Once all the eggs are in, give it a good, long whisk to ensure the sugar completely dissolves. 

When preparing the cake pan be sure to extend the parchment paper right up the sides. You’ll use this to lift the brownie up and out of the pan without disturbing the crackly top crust.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting. See below for tips on achieving clean cuts.

FAQ

How do I cut brownies without tearing? 

To cut seriously fudgy brownies without making a mess, they must be removed from the baking pan when completely cooled. For each slice, you make, dip your knife into a container of hot water and dry with a paper towel before cutting. The hot metal of your knife will make perfectly neat slices of Espresso Brownies. 

Do Espresso Brownies have caffeine?

My Espresso Brownies are made using instant espresso powder for the coffee flavor. Instant coffee powder contains slightly less caffeine than regular coffee due to the dehydration process in which it is made. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine but still want the coffee flavor, try swapping the instant espresso powder with a decaffeinated version.  

Does espresso powder make brownies taste like coffee?

I use a strong instant coffee powder to provide maximum coffee flavor in my Espresso Brownies. However, these fudgy brownies contain a lot of chocolate too. You’ll find they taste like the best mocha latte you’ve ever had but in brownie form. 

Serving Suggestions

Overhead view of brownies cut into squares.

I love to serve these Espresso Brownies for dessert with vanilla ice cream and either my Raspberry Compote or Blueberry Compote. But they are equally good for an afternoon tea, served alongside a plate of cookies like my Lemon Curd Cookies or Baci di Dama.

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Three espresso brownies stacked with more brownies around.

Espresso Brownies Recipe

These coffee brownies are dark, rich and seriously fudgy. You can’t stop at one!
5 from 34 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings:16 brownies
Author: Marcellina

Equipment

  • 1 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20cm) metal cake pan

Ingredients

  • 6 oz chopped dark chocolate (140 grams)
  • ½ cup salted butter (4 ounces/115 grams)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (60mls)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (25 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder (Aust – 1 ½ tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar (90 grams)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour (85 grams)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 340ºF/170ºC. Line 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) metal cake pan with parchment paper. See notes for tips.
  • Place the chopped chocolate, salted butter, vegetable oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, espresso powder and salt in a bowl and set it over a saucepan with barely simmering water. Stir every now and then until the mixture is smooth and dark like melted chocolate. This could also be melted in the microwave.
  • Stir in granulated and dark brown sugar.
  • Take the bowl off the heat but don’t let the mixture cool too much. This is important to get the shiny crust but you also need to be careful not to cook the eggs when you add them.
  • Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Whisk vigorously – this creates a lovely crackly crust.
  • Use the whisk to stir in the all purpose flour.
  • Scrape the brownie batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. See notes for tips.

Notes

Tips for Success
  • When lining the pan with parchment paper, bring the paper right up the sides so that you can grip the paper to pull the brownies out after baking.
  • Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture while it’s still quite warm and whisk vigorously until really shiny.
  • Cool the brownies completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.
Be sure to read above for more tips and FAQ’s.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 135mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 226IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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6 Comments

  1. What a lovely idea. I can just imagine the depth of flavor that the espresso lends to these brownies. Yum!

  2. Marcellina these brownies look amazing. I love the combination of espresso and chocolate. A winning combination and yes very hard to resist.