My daughter and I were looking for a quick and fun dessert the other night, so we decided to try this recipe for espresso brownies. Don’t get me wrong: I love plain dairy-free brownies made from a mix, but this time we thought it would be fun to turn them into some fancy brownies.
Cate O’Malley shared a version of these espresso brownies with Go Dairy Free over a decade ago, but the recipe was originally created by Giada De Laurentiis. And we further adapted it to be dairy free. Cate’s photo showed the glaze drizzled on the top of the brownies, but doing that left us with a lot of leftover glaze, so we decided to use all of the glaze to frost the brownies.
These dairy-free espresso brownies are very rich, but the espresso flavor isn’t overwhelming, especially if the brownies are served in bite-sized pieces. I took a brownie to my sister, and she said she’d be happy with the Espresso Brownie if she purchased it at a coffee house or bakery. These brownies were a hit, even with non-coffee drinkers who tried them. We’ll definitely be making them again soon.
Recipe Tips: Espresso Brownies
Use a Good Espresso Powder – My brother-in-law grew up near Delallo headquarters, and his dad sometimes brings some of their delicious olives, lupini beans, and other fun dairy-free items to share. Their espresso powder is my favorite of the ones I’ve tried. It has a wonderful espresso flavor and, according to Delallo, is processed in a dedicated gluten-free, “allergy-friendly” facility. In theory, you can substitute instant coffee, but it hasn’t been brewed and lacks the rich, roasted flavor of espresso powder.
Choose a Classic Dairy-Free Brownie Mix – I love having dairy-free recipes that start with a boxed mix. They are handy when you need to quickly make a dessert, and they are a great way to introduce kids to dairy-free baking that they can easily do themselves. For this recipe, we used Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Brownies Mix.
Make Sure Your Chocolate Chips are Dairy-Free – We used Kirkland Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips to make these dairy-free espresso brownies, but see Alisa’s Guide to Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips for more options.
Special Diet Notes: Espresso Brownies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian.
We haven’t tested this recipe egg-free, but here is advice on making egg-free, dairy-free brownies with a mix.
- ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons water, divided
- ⅓ cup oil (your favorite type for baking)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons espresso powder, divided
- 1 (18.3 ounce) box dairy-free brownie mix (gluten-free, if desired)
- ¾ cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free buttery spread, softened
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ⅓ cup water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder.
- Add the brownie mix, and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and level it out.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons water. Whisk in the vanilla.
- Add the powdered sugar and buttery spread and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the glaze over the brownies and spread it evenly with a spatula.
- Refrigerate the brownies until the glaze is set.
- Cut the brownies into fourths vertically and sixths horizontally to make 24 square-ish brownies, or cut them smaller for decadent brownie bites.