Mocha Brownies

For most people, brownies are a cozy, heavy dessert that are baked primarily during the cooler winter months. I buck the trend. I start to crave brownies most when the birds start to chirp, the sun stays up until 8pm, and it’s shorts and bathing suit weather. Totally irrational, and probably not smart, but the taste buds want what the taste buds want. Apparently, my taste buds want rich, dense, fudgy brownies during the spring and summer months. So, I appease them. A few weeks ago, I fell head over heels in love with the Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. They took me back to my high school days, to a simpler time, a time when a really good brownie could right all of those teenage wrongs. I decided that I needed to make more frosted brownies in the future. As you can see, I didn’t wait very long. I positively adore my Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Frosting, and decided that was the perfect next step in my frosted brownie journey.

I took those amazing chocolate fudge brownies and adapted them for my mocha purposes, and then slathered my (slightly tweaked) espresso buttercream over top. Rich, fudgy brownies spiked with espresso and topped with a fluffy cloud of buttery-sugar-espresso-ness. (That’s definitely a word.) If you love coffee-flavored sweets, you’re going to fall in love with these brownies. Amazingly, I’m not even a coffee drinker, but I *LOVE* any mocha-inspired drinks or treats. I suppose that’s probably because mocha involves chocolate. Go figure, right?!

One year ago: Soba Noodle Stir-Fry with Spicy Almond Butter Sauce
Two years ago: Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
Three years ago: Mushroom, Spinach and Gruyere Quiche
Four years ago: Traditional Madeleines

Mocha Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


For the Brownies:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
4½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons heavy cream


1. Make the Brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch-square baking dish and line with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the edges. Butter the parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

3. Bring about an inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place a medium, heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan (do not let it touch the water) and add the butter and unsweetened chocolate. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and whisk in the granulated and brown sugars, along with the instant espresso powder. Whisk in the egg, the yolk, and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture all at once, and fold it into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula until combined.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely; meanwhile, make the frosting.

5. Make the Frosting: Mix the instant espresso powder into the vanilla until dissolved; set aside. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it is mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, about a minute or two. Add the espresso and vanilla mixture and continue to mix at medium-high until it is completely incorporated. Scrap the sides of the bowl, add the heavy cream, and again whip briefly at medium-high speed until thoroughly incorporated.

8. Spread the frosting onto the cooled brownies, and cut into squares. Store brownies in an airtight container, or tightly wrapped, at room temperature for up to 5 days.


51 Responses to “Mocha Brownies”

  1. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 18, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I always put a few tablespoons of coffee in brownies b/c I really find it just enhances the flavor so much. Yours sound wonderful!


  2. Nancy @ CouponClippingCook on May 18, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I do love coffee flavored sweets and these mocha brownies sound amazing. And since they have coffee in them it’s perfectly acceptable to have them for breakfast….and during the rest of the day of course! Have a nice weekend.


  3. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious on May 18, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Love these brownies! And that coffee frosting looks incredible!


  4. Terry on May 18, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Love mocha desserts and cakes… Love brownies… So i absolutely want to try these…. They look soooo delicious!!! Compliments!


  5. Coleens Recipes on May 18, 2012 at 3:28 am

    I would LOVE to have one (or two) of these right now!!


  6. Katrina on May 18, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Mmm love that frosting!!


  7. Blog is the New Black on May 18, 2012 at 6:00 am

    THese sound fantastic!


  8. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on May 18, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Brownies are comfort. They give you a chocolate fix and are like little bite-sized pieces of dense chocolate cake. What’s not to love?


  9. Aggie W. on May 18, 2012 at 6:32 am

    These look delicious! But are they cakey or fudgey?


    • Michelle on May 18th, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Hi Aggie, Definitely fudgy!


  10. Tanya Schroeder on May 18, 2012 at 6:42 am

    I love mocha anything. I love the generous amount of frosting on them!!! And I believe brownies should be eaten year roun too!


  11. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on May 18, 2012 at 7:12 am

    I love coffee or espresso in brownies, heck anything chocolate. What a great recipe! I have to give this a try,I know my Hubby would love it!!


  12. Jennifer on May 18, 2012 at 7:28 am

    Like you, I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do LOVE the smell of coffee, and I”m willing to try anything that tastes like coffee at least once. These brownies are so pretty, and I bet they taste god, too.


  13. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on May 18, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I love any mocha baked good, so these are definitely right up my alley. Mocha buttercream on a brownie- genius!


  14. Tracey on May 18, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I could eat brownies year-round, they’re one of my very favorite treats! I don’t drink coffee either, but I’m always looking for coffee-flavored baked goods I can make. These are going on the list! 🙂


  15. Catalina @ Cake with Love on May 18, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Love the mocha addition, and how rich and dense these babies look!


  16. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on May 18, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Fudgy, rich brownies + mocha frosting?! It doesn’t matter to me if it’s warm out, those sound like the perfect comfort food! 🙂


  17. Kristy on May 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I think brownies are good for any time of year! Hehe. These look delicious. 🙂


  18. Carla on May 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Wow these look fantastic! LOVE the espresso-chocolate combination. Can’t wait to try these out soon! 🙂


  19. Amanda V on May 18, 2012 at 9:29 am

    For real, brownies all year round! Just top it off with ice cream to make it more of a summer treat 🙂


    • Michelle on May 18th, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Love the way you think! 🙂


  20. Paula on May 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

    These could not be more perfect.


  21. Kathy Tanner on May 18, 2012 at 10:30 am

    My kine of brownie!! Love chocolate and coffee flavors mingled.


  22. Sues on May 18, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I haven’t made brownies in soo long… But the next time I do, I think they have to be mocha!


  23. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on May 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I love a good mocha brownie and yours look perfect, Michelle! Love your creamy espresso frosting addition, too!


  24. madge @ vegetariancasserolequeen on May 18, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Chocolate and coffee rivals chocolate and peanut butter in my book!


  25. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen on May 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I have been totally craving brownies so I think I’m going to have to cave after seeing this post! I love the frosting!


  26. Karen on May 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Mocha Brownies need to be in my life! 🙂 My sweetheart and I are not buttercream fans (regrettably), so how do you think these would taste with a mocha mascarpone frosting? Your blog makes my heart happy!


    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Karen, I think a mocha mascarpone would be absolutely fabulous as well!


  27. CJ at Food Stories on May 18, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I love brownies year round, as you do 🙂


  28. Stephanie on May 18, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Brownies are good. Coffee/Mocha/Espresso brownies sound even better. Thanks!


  29. Jenny on May 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Ohmy! What a brownie! I would really like all of them right know…


  30. Stefanie on May 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I like the way you think! I was at the store earlier and bought some unsweetened chocolate, thinking I’d make one of your older brownie recipes, but I never made it past today’s post. I have to admit to changing the recipe slightly-I didn’t have the instant espresso powder, but I have an espresso machine so I used two shots in the brownies and a small amount in the buttercream. The texture of the brownies was a little more cake-like most likely due to the extra liquid, but the taste was still great!


  31. amanda @ fake ginger on May 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I love how dense and fudgy they look! Perfect brownies in my book!


  32. Nae on May 19, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Wow these look great! I’m having trouble though because we don’t have instant coffee (espresso powder) in our house, just the beans and machine, so I’d be using freshly made espresso, it’s going to stuff up the liquid/solid ratio and they’ll come out yummy but soggy, taste good but not appealing to eat 🙁 Can you suggest how I could get around this?


    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Nae, I would not use liquid espresso in this recipe, as it will affect the texture. If you can’t find instant espresso powder in your local store, you can substitute instant coffee powder.


  33. Carolyn on May 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    What brand of Instant espresso did you use?


  34. Lynna on May 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    omg, so appetizing!!


  35. lynn @ the actor's diet on May 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    yum! i like using starbucks VIA packets since i don’t usually have espresso powder in the house…


  36. Alexandria on May 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    These looked like they are to die for!!! LOVE IT! Can’t wait to try these! Just one question though…how do you cut them so nicely? Everytime I cut my brownies, parts of it always come up with the knife and I don’t get a nice clean cut like yours. Is there a special trick to that? Thanks so much! LOVE your blog!!!


    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2012 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Alexandria, I do it one of two ways – I either use a large pizza slicer to cut right through into rows, or I use a large, sharp chef’s knife. When using the knife, I start at one end, and cut in one, fluid motion, with the knife down along the board, and then slide it out, don’t lift it up. It’s not always perfect, but it’s the best results I get. Don’t saw in and out and don’t pull up. Hope that helps!


  37. Debra Kapellakis on May 21, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Mouthwatering photo’s and there is chocolate and espresso! YUM!


  38. RisaG on May 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    These are making me so hungry. I want a couple on a plate with some milk right now. Wow.


  39. Kathy G in WA on May 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    I tried this recipe this afternoon. Tasty! I noticed the frosting wasn’t as stiff as I liked, but with refrigeration it worked great. Thx! I’ve been burned by some pinterest recipes lately, and so happy I found your site.



  40. Sarah on September 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    These are incredible! Thank you!


  41. na'imah on November 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

    i made these for a sort-of potluck at our last sunday class, and they were totally snapped up! i didn’t actually get to try a slice haha. the buttercream frosting is especially heavenly (i did taste this since i made it :p) thank you, so glad i found this recipe!


  42. Allissia on November 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I am making these for my moms birthday and I know they will be a huge hit. All your recipes look so good and have had successes every time so I know this won’t disappoint. Thanks!


  43. TY on March 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my goodnes…just made these mocha brownies…they are sooooo good!
    There goes my diet! Thanks for a great recipe!! Think I’m gonna go have another piece now 🙂


  44. Colleen on March 18, 2015 at 10:17 am

    These look great! I wanted to double the recipe to make in a larger pan, 9 tap sounds like a lot of espresso powder, even for a double recipe, but I use it so infrequently that I am unsure….would you recommend I use less, or do you think the 9 tsp will be fine – I definitely want the mocha flavor, just didn’t want them to be bitter or like taking a bite out of black coffee…


    • Michelle on March 20th, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Hi Colleen, If you’re doubling the recipe, then I would double all ingredients. If you fear it will be too strong, then you can certainly decrease the amount.


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