Espresso brownies upgrade the classic chocolate brownies with a touch of mocha. The presence of coffee gives the brownie the dark, deep taste of coffee and espresso that we love. The good news is that changing your ordinary brownies into Espresso Brownies just needs a small change to your favorite conventional brownie recipe. 

The Key Ingredient – Espresso And How It’s Made

We can’t make espresso brownies without “espresso”. But it’s not as simple as pouring in a shot of espresso.  There are a few ways you can go about adding that rich and delicious flavor, ranging from purchasing products to making it yourself. Here are a few ways to get your espresso ingredient ready!

Using Coffee Beans For Your Espresso Ingredient

Coffee lovers will find the key ingredient to this recipe readily available in their own homes – espresso coffee grounds! Whether you’re brewing a shot of espresso or preparing for brownies, make sure you have quality beans to make espresso ready at hand.

Coffee brewing wisdom says that the brew is at its best when you use freshly ground beans. That’s useful for the brownies too! Coffee beans need a very fine grind to be used for espresso as well as for espresso brownies. Brew yourself a shot of espresso, then put those grounds aside to use in your dessert!

There are two ways to use espresso coffee grounds for your brownies:

  • Use them right away! Put the espresso coffee grounds directly in the recipe.
  • Brewed and dried espresso grounds. If you’re not going to use them right away, dry the spent grounds in a warm oven (it will take a few hours) and use them for the brownie recipe later.

If you don’t typically brew your own espresso at home (or grind your own beans), here’s another way you can get that deep, rich espresso flavor.

Espresso Powder

Purchasing espresso powder is the easier way to get that espresso flavor into your brownies. The powder is a bit like instant coffee, although far more potent. After all, its job is to stand in for espresso!

Espresso Powder isn’t as readily available as conventional coffee or even instant coffee. If your local store has it, great. Alternatively, getting it online might prove to be a better choice. 

Another problem with espresso powder is that you’ll likely purchase more than you need. Even the smallest of bottles could head to its ‘best before’ date while half full. (Guess you’ll need to use it in eeeeeverything!)

Conventional brownies only need a couple of tablespoons of espresso powder. It can be a good purchase if you do a lot of baking that involves using coffee-based ingredients. It’s also great as part of a dry rub on roasted meats!

But What if I Don’t Have a Favorite Brownie Recipe?

You can use ours!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • All purpose flour: 1-1.5 cups
  • Espresso powder: 3 tablespoons (or if using espresso grounds, use 1/3 to 1/2 cup.)
  • Granulated sugar: 2 cups
  • Unsalted butter: 1 cup
  • Cocoa powder: 1 cup
  • Salt: ¼ tablespoon
  • Eggs: 5, lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside. You can also choose to spray the paper with non-stick baking spray or butter it. Once you’re done, set the pan aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the espresso powder and mix well until combined. 
  4. Add eggs and mix well.
  5. Add flour and cocoa powder and stir. You might want to lightly whisk the mixture to make sure everything is mixed well and is ready to go. Remember not to overbeat the batter as it will change the texture of the brownies and make them cakey instead. 
  6. Transfer this mix to the 9×13 baking pan. Place it in the center of the oven and bake it for 35 minutes. At about 20 minutes into the baking, pause the oven and rotate the pan halfway through. Rotating isn’t really necessary, but I find it helps with keeping the baking uniform. 
  7. Let the brownies cool completely. Once done, remove them from the pan using the parchment paper. They’re ready to be served now and can be cut into whatever shapes you prefer.
  8. Enjoy your brownies!

Notes

The baking time depends on how you personally prefer your brownies. At 30 minutes, they have that nice, super moist feel and an excellent texture. Pushing it up to 40 minutes makes the brownies thicker and chewier. For me, 35 minutes is just the right fit.

When the baking is done, insert a toothpick into the center of the brownies. Ideally, this should come up with a few moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick. This means your brownies are fully baked.

Getting Your Espresso Brownie Recipe Right

As with all recipes, you’ll get the best results by making this espresso brownie recipe your own. This can be as simple as adjusting the amount of sugar or adding a drop of vanilla extract. Similarly, choosing between espresso powder and espresso grounds and other changes will make a difference in the texture and taste of the brownies.

Don’t just bake a batch, but experiment and get it right the way you want it! The more you experiment, the more brownies you’ll get to enjoy. Yum!


Harsh has since been a consultant to coffee farmers and businesses alike, a barista, and a small business owner. He is a fervent advocate of fair trade and a greater interest in the ethical and community aspects of the coffee world.

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