Like a chocolate truffle in brownie form, Homemade Espresso Brownies – gluten free + vegan are melt in your mouth and so simple to make. Fudgy or cakey, you decide! Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rodelle. Thank you for supporting brands that help keep Vanilla And Bean cookin! All opinions are my own.
Does the world need another brownie recipe? Yes please! But before we get to this easy gluten free and vegan brownie recipe, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned about chocolate and vanilla. Stick with me here…
When we were in Costa Rica last April, Rob and I visited a cocoa farm. We learned harvesting and processing cocoa beans is a hands on, labor intensive process. It takes a cocoa tree five years to produce its first cocoa pods. The pods are picked by hand, then the beans are removed from the pod and are carefully fermented to bring out their best flavor. The beans are then dried and aged after which they’re ready for processing into bars, or baking cocoa for example.
Purchasing organic means supporting growers who don’t use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and/or herbicides. It also means hazardous chemicals aren’t added to the ecosystem. This not only creates a safer work environment for farmers but also, for all wild things that call the farm home – including tiny midge flies that pollinate cocoa.
My friends at Rodelle helped make this recipe possible by procuring and producing the most luscious Organic Baking Cocoa. It’s Dutch processed which reduces some of the sourness and bitterness of cocoa powder and creates a darker color producing a rich chocolate flavor.
Rodelle also makes a most fragrant and vanilla rich Organic Vanilla Extract.
Rodelle’s vanilla program is the most traceable and farmer focused supply chain in North America because they buy directly from the farmer. Sahanala Madagascar, a Rodelle Farmer Partnership, is a farmer-owned association of 3500+ vanilla farmers. Rodelle works with Sahanala to purchase vanilla beans at a fair market value.
This is another reason I appreciate Rodelle. The integrity behind and quality of their vanilla extract, beans and cocoa is key to not only supporting companies who are making a positive difference in the lives of farmers, but also their baking pantry staples produce a fragrant, warm, and rich end result for all my baking. Ingredients make all the difference.
Making vegan brownies from scratch is so simple and tastes far better than anything you can buy in a pre-packaged box. Because this brownie recipe is gluten free and vegan, there’s no butter to melt or eggs to whip, so it’s as simple as brewing the espresso or strong coffee and mixing the dry into the wet ingredients for a luscious dessert.
How to make Homemade Espresso Brownies from scratch:
Brew your favorite espresso or strong coffee then pour it over chopped chocolate to melt. Take a deep inhale to stir all your senses. Add the sugar, almond butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk… whisk, whisk. Then whisk in the oat flour and cocoa mixture.
Now, turn the oven on to preheat. While the oven is preheating, prepare the baking pan with parchment and pan spray or coconut oil. Waiting to turn the oven on after the ingredients are mixed allows the oat flour to rest and hydrate. Once the oven is ready, fold in the chocolate chips, spread the batter evenly in the pan and lick the bowl clean (bakers treat!).
Now, here’s the decision… fudgy or cakey/chewy vegan brownies. Which do you prefer? For fudgy, bake for 18-19 minutes… for cakey/chewy, bake for 21-22 minutes. Pictured here are fudgy brownies. I absolutely love their delicate, melt in your mouth texture. But for a bit longer bake, the brownies won’t slightly sink in the center and will hold their loft producing a chewy, cake-like brownie.
A Few Recipe Notes:
- Fudgy or cakey/chewy brownies? You decide! Bake for 18 minutes for fudgy (shown in the pictures above – my favorite) or 22 minutes for chewy – more cake like.
- The Toothpick Test: Because there are chocolate chips in these luscious brownies, it’s a bit challenging to have the toothpick come out clean. If you’re going for a fudgy brownie, it’s not going to happen anyway. For the chewy/cake like brownie, you can poke around to find a ‘no chocolate chip’ spot and the toothpick should come out with a few crumbs when they’re ready.
- Because Homemade Espresso Brownies are gluten free and vegan with no added binders, they are delicate. Handle them gently when removing them from the pan and cutting.
- Brownies need to cool before handling. Give them at least an hour to cool before removing them from the pan. For these gluten free + vegan brownies, I recommend letting them cure or rest for at least eight hours before cutting into them – a practice in patience. Giving them a rest overnight helps them hold together much better than otherwise. But, if you just can’t wait, remove them from the pan, cut and carefully put a slice in a bowl (rewarm if you like), top with ice cream and fudge sauce!
- How do I Cut Brownies? After removing the brownies from the pan and to get the cleanest cut, use a large serrated knife and dip it in very hot water (I use a tall glass). Wipe the knife dry then cut firmly down without dragging the knife through the brownie. Repeat until all cuts have been made.
- Are brownies Freezer Friendly? Oh yesss! Place in covered container or wrap tightly with foil, then place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to two weeks. Thaw at room temperature.
Homemade Espresso Brownies - gluten free + vegan
Like a chocolate truffle in brownie form, Homemade Espresso Brownies - gluten free + vegan are melt in your mouth and so simple to make. Fudgy or chewy, you decide! See notes for fudgy or cakey brownies. **These brownies hold together better if rested overnight (a practice in patience!) But, if you just can't wait, put a slice in a bowl with ice cream and fudge sauce and eat with a spoon - it doesn't matter if they hold together!
For The Brownies:
- 3/4 (80g) Oat Flour gluten free if needed | I DIY my oat flour - see notes below*
- 2 Tbs Tapioca Flour (see Annie's note in comments for Arrowroot sub)
- 4 Tbs (30g) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder I use Rodelle
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/4 C (70g) 70% - 75% Dark Chocolate chopped fine
- 1/2 C (110g) Espresso or Strong Coffee fresh brewed
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract I use Rodelle
- 1/4 C (70g) Almond Butter room temperature
- 2/3 C (155g) Cane Sugar
- 1/2 C (100g) 60% - 70% Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
For the Brownies:
In a medium mixing bowl, measure in the oat flour, tapioca flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to distribute the dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl add the chopped dark chocolate. Pour the hot espresso over the chocolate, leaving it to set for one minute. Whisk to incorporate and melt the chocolate, then add the vanilla extract, almond butter, and sugar. Whisk until smooth.
To the wet ingredients, add the dry ingredients. Whisk vigorously for one minute so no clumps remain. Set aside.
Position the oven rack in the center and preheat to 350F (180C). Use pan spray or melted coconut oil to lightly grease an 8" square baking pan. Line pan with two crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper cut to size so that the paper lines the walls. Lightly spray or oil the surface and sides of the parchment. Set aside.
Once the oven is preheated, mix the chocolate chips into the brownie batter - the batter will be very thick. Spoon the batter into the pan and spread it evenly in pan. The layer will be thin.
For Fudgy Brownies: Bake the brownies for 18-19 minutes (I pull mine at 18 minutes). The toothpick test for doneness wont work here since these are fudgy, chocolate chip brownies, but the center will be soft, and the edges firm. Remove from oven and cool for one hour or longer before removing from the pan or cutting. The center will sink slightly. Resting the brownies for at least 8 hours improves their texture and ability to hold together. Remove the brownies from the pan like a cake (this tutorial may help, just don't remove the parchment!) by placing a small parchment lined sheet pan on top of the brownie pan then turning the brownies out. If the brownies don't fall on to the pan, flip them back over and use a small pairing knife to ease the corners and edges of the brownies. Repeat turning the brownies out. Lifting these fudgy brownies out of the pan with the parchment as handles wont work because the structure is too soft (I've tried it and made a mess!). Carefully flip the brownies back over, using the same method, so that the top is facing up. Now they're ready to cut (see cutting instructions below).
For Chewy/Cakey Brownies: Bake the brownies for 21-22 minutes. To test for doneness, use a toothpick to poke around to find a 'no chocolate chip' spot. The toothpick should come out with a few crumbs when they're ready. Remove from oven and cool for at one hour or longer before removing from the pan or cutting. The center will stay lofty and should not sink. Resting the brownies for at least 8 hours improves their texture and ability to hold together. Use the parchment has handles to carefully lift the brownies from the pan. Now they're ready to cut (see cutting instructions below).
How to Cut Brownies: After removing the brownies from the pan and to get the cleanest cut, use a large serrated knife and dip it in very hot water (I use a tall glass). Wipe the knife dry then cut firmly down without dragging the knife through the brownies to get it out - just lift it straight back up. Repeat until all cuts have been made. Lift the brownies with a spatula, gently nudging them from the parchment.
Serve rewarmed with ice cream and fudge sauce.
How to Rewarm Brownies: We all love warm brownies with ice cream! To rewarm, place in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes.
How to Store Brownies: Store brownies at room temperature in a covered container for up to four days.
How To Freeze Brownies: Wrap snugly in foil, then place in a storage container or bag. Freeze for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature.
*To DIY Oat Flour: scoop one cup (80g) of gluten free rolled oats into a blender or food processor. Process until a fine meal almost flour is formed. I use Vitamix to make oat flour, but have used a food processor (S blade) as well. The food processor doesn't create as fine of flour as Vitamix but it produces a nice course flour. Nora has a tutorial if needed.
For a dairy free chocolate chip guide, Marly has us covered!
About Oven Temperature Variations: I enthusiastically recommend an oven thermometer! I’ve baked in commercial bakery and home ovens, old, lightly used and brand new ovens – they all have their own personalities with temperature variations and fluctuations. Knowing the temperature of your oven is important for the best outcome, especially when it comes to baking. I keep a close eye on my oven thermometers (I use two just to be sure) when testing/making recipes for the blog so that I am as accurate as possible with including the proper baking temperatures/time in my recipes.