though i’ve never been a coffee drinker, i’ve always loved coffee desserts. coffee oreo is my favorite ice cream flavor, mocha frosting is delicious, and mocha anything usually seems like a good idea.
so naturally, when i came across a recipe for mocha flourless brownies, i was intrigued. flourless chocolate cakes can be excellent (they can also be pretty mediocre at some restaurants, but we’ll ignore those) and i’m generally a fan of adding coffee to chocolate desserts to enhance the chocolate flavor.
usually when you’re adding coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor, the coffee is undetectable. not so in these mocha flourless brownies! in this case, there’s no mistaking the coffee flavor…hence calling them mocha flourless brownies, rather than just sneaking a dash of espresso powder into the batter and moving on.
sure, i experimented with varying the amount of espresso powder i used, but in the end, i opted for a fairly coffee-forward flavor (you could tone it down, of course, should you not share my pro coffee + chocolate orientation). i will admit though, when i took my first bite of the first batch, i was caught off-guard by the intensity of the coffee flavor and decided to scale it back in the next batch.
i followed through on that initial decision but by then i was so accustomed to – and enamored with – the strong coffee flavor, that i really missed it and brought it back up again for the third batch! if you’re nervous about it, check out the recipe notes; i gave some guidance on different amounts of espresso powder that i tried.
while i was messing around with the coffee flavor, i was also tinkering with the texture of the brownies. the first batch was good, but i knew they could be better. ultimately, reducing the baking time and adding a splash of heavy cream gave these flourless brownies the rich, soft, not-quite-gooey-but-definitely-not-dry texture i was after.
(if you need to avoid dairy, you can certainly make these brownies without the heavy cream, they’ll just creep over on the texture spectrum to be a little bit closer to beach boardwalk fudge (which is not bad at all, just not what i wanted).)
so now that my freezer is packed with individually-wrapped mocha flourless brownies that are dangerously easy to grab and throw in the microwave for a few seconds, i think it’s time for me to go back to testing recipes that include, you know, vegetables. any spring veggie recipe requests? i’ll just be over here eating mocha flourless brownies while you think about it…
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
these mocha flourless brownies have a strong coffee flavor, balanced by rich, fudgy dark chocolate. no weird “healthy” brownie ingredients, these easy gluten free brownies are made with cocoa powder and chocolate. grain free and refined sugar free; there are dairy free and paleo options too.
- 113 g. (4 oz.) dark chocolate, roughly chopped, see notes
- 113 g. (½ cup / 4 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, see notes
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, see notes
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 78 g. (½ cup / 4 oz. / 120 ml) pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream, see notes
- 3 eggs
- 53 g. (½ cup + 2 tablespoons / 1 7/8 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- preheat the oven to 375° F and line an 8” x 8” (20 cm x 20 cm) pan (i used a glass baking dish) with foil so that the foil overhangs on two sides and can be used as a sling to remove the brownies.
- set a heat safe large bowl (ideally your mixer bowl, or a bowl you can use an electric mixer in) over a pan of barely simmering water such that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. melt the chocolate and butter over low – medium heat, stirring frequently. remove the mixture from heat and set on a cooling rack to start cooling enough that the eggs don’t cook when you add them later.
- without waiting for the chocolate and butter to cool, whisk in the espresso powder, salt, vanilla, maple syrup, and heavy cream.
- once the mixture is cool enough to not cook the eggs (which might be immediately, if your maple syrup was in the fridge), add the eggs to the batter and whisk to combine.
- sift the cocoa powder into the wet ingredients. whisk the cocoa powder in just until combined then use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the batter for about 30 seconds, until it is the consistency of loose buttercream frosting (you could also whisk vigorously for a minute or two). add the baking soda, beat for 15 more seconds, then immediately transfer the batter to the prepared pan and into the oven (to preserve the tiny air bubbles you just created).
- bake for 18 – 21 minutes, until the top looks dry and a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. set on a rack to cool. once cool, use the foil sling to remove the brownies and transfer to a cutting board. cut into 9 pieces and enjoy! the brownies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or you can wrap them individually (i used their foil sling and then wax paper once i ran out of foil), then place them in an airtight container and freeze them for longer storage/self-control support. you can either defrost them on the counter or unwrap and pop in the microwave for a few seconds.
chocolate: i used 85% cacao dark chocolate, because i didn’t want these brownies to be too sweet. and they definitely weren’t. if you wanted a more conventionally sweet brownie, i’d recommend using chocolate in the 55 – 65% cacao range.
dairy free: if you need these brownies to be dairy free, you can substitute coconut oil for the butter and omit the heavy cream. be sure to read labels on the chocolate you use.
espresso: i used delallo instant espresso (disclosure: i received this espresso powder as part of a goody box after delallo used one of my photographs. all opinions are my own.) and found 1 tablespoon to provide an assertive but not overpowering coffee flavor. 2 teaspoons of powder is subtle but noticeable when the batter is raw, and barely detectable once the brownies are baked. 1 teaspoon of powder is undetectable as coffee flavor in the batter or once baked; it just boosts the chocolate flavor.
adapted from flourless mocha-bacon brownies in practical paleo (affiliate) by diane sanfilippo.
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