Flourless Espresso Brownies

17 April 2024 Gluten Free Vegetarian Friendly
These delectable squares of rich, fudgey goodness are honestly more akin to a nemesis than a brownie. But because I am always looking for a spectacular flourless bake for Passover to counter the traditional coconut macaroon (if you know you know) these are it. Look no further for your showstopper gluten free treat.

This recipe came from my good friend Laurel Kratochvila of Fine Bagels fame. We have a weekly catch up where we put the world to right, commiserate about our baking conundrums, share all the things we have eaten, want to eat, bake and everything in between.  Laurel is not only an outstanding baker, she’s a true academic when it comes to research and recipe testing. Responsible not only for single handedly upping my baking game over the past few years, she has encouraged me to explore and try recipes and techniques I maybe would have never attempted without her tutelage and generosity. I can safely say that some of my most treasured recipes and books in the ever growing collection have been inspired by and handed down by Laurel.  

These brownies fall into the category of sublime bake. While Laurel’s version needed absolutely no adapting, I couldn’t help but tinker in the testing process and make these a standout recipe for Passover this year.  So I added a little espresso powder into the mix and an optional base of crushed hazelnuts that I lifted from an oldie but goodie recipe (a la Rose Bakery).  And now it’s time to make these yours……

The good news is you can also make this in a 22cm round cake tin and serve them in chic triangular slices with a dollop of creme fraiche for a fancier dessert.  But frankly, during Passover when available all day snacking is required for the duration of the week’s holiday, the brownie bar version wins.

For those celebrating next week I hope you have a peaceful and delicious time. And for anyone on the constant quest for gluten free treats, your search is over.  

Flourless Espresso Brownies

  • 150g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
  • 150g (1 1/2 sticks) butter (I always use salted) at room temperature
  • 300g (10.5 oz) dark (minimum 70%) chocolate
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional)
  • 65g (2/3 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 275g (1 1/3 cups) sugar 
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 160C (320F)

To start, if you are using the hazelnuts as a base, make sure they are toasted by roasting them in the oven for 8-10 minutes. If they still have their skins on, place them in the middle of a clean tea towel, pull up all the corners so they are in a ball and gently rub off their skins. Roughly chop or bash them in a mortar and pestle. I like them to be quite chunky and not uniform in size, you want texture here. 

Grease and line a 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin with parchment. Scatter over the chopped hazelnuts if using.  They will form a base for the brownies. 

Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt together.  Remove from the heat and stir in the expresso shot (if using), the cocoa powder and vanilla until fully incorporated and smooth. 

Using the whisk attachment, whip the eggs, sugar and salt together in stand mixer for about 5 minutes on medium high until its pale, fluffy and increased in volume.  

On a low speed, pour in the chocolate mixture.  Its heavy and may sink a little so finish mixing with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is incorporated.  

Pour into the tin (on top of the hazelnuts), smooth the top and bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.  (Laurel’s trick for a clean cut is to refrigerate them for at least an hour and then go in with a hot knife.  She knows….)

Have you made this dish?

Let me know what you think, share your efforts and any tweaks you made to the recipe on Instagram, don’t forget to tag #BuildingFeasts or email me on info@buildingfeasts.com