espresso fudge brownies gluten-free recipe

Espresso Fudge Brownies

I was working my way through the Cook’s Illustrated website the other night and came across an amazing recipe for Triple Chocolate Espresso Brownies.  As soon as I laid eyes on that recipe I knew I had to create a high protein, gluten free version.  While my husband enjoys all of my gluten free chocolate recipes, this is his fave.  He even left a special love note on the fridge for me late last night after sampling them.

Of course this is also a dairy free recipe for those of you who are learning how to cook without dairy; and has no agave in it for those avoiding agave.  If you wish to try out other permutations to accommodate your individual needs, feel free to do so; just be sure to leave a comment and let us know if your substitutions worked!

Espresso Fudge Brownies
  1. Melt chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat
  2. Add shortening and stir until completely dissolved
  3. Stir in ground espresso and remove from heat
  4. Blend in eggs, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt to mixture in pan using a handheld mixer
  5. Blend in almond flour and coconut flour
  6. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  7. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour
  9. Serve


Here are some more gluten free brownie recipes from other food bloggers:
Hazelnut Brownies from Lexie of Lexie’s Kitchen
Gluten-Free Coffee Cranberry Pistachio Brownies from Melissa of Gluten Free For Good
Rockbrook Espresso Brownies from Lori of Gluten Free Best Friends Forever!


  1. chocoholic says

    It tastes amazing! I substituted coconut oil for shortening and instant coffee for ground espresso, as well as decreasing coconut sugar to 3/4 cup, and it turned out great- smooth and delectable, and a perfect blend of coffee and chocolate!

  2. Katie says

    I substituted coconut oil for the shortening, almond meal in place of almond flour, and omitted the espresso. They are VERY good! I think next time I will used half coconut sugar and half maple syrup…or maybe all maple, not sure how I feel about coconut sugar yet (Nutritionally. Taste-wise, it’s great!)

  3. Cari Mistry says

    What did I do wrong? Mine turned out so incredibly dry and crumbly…. yet I made them once before and they were great!
    Any suggestions?

  4. Chrissy says

    These are fantastic! I couldn’t figure out why my husband was being so nice on Saturday morning until I realized the print-out of this recipe was sitting on my recipe stand front and center. ha, ha! He asked me later if this was the next thing I was going to bake so yep, he’d definitely noticed the recipe! Chocolate and espresso are his FAVORITE things in the world! I finally got around to making these tonight and the kids remarked that they taste exactly like the brownies I used to make – when I used to bake with gluten/grains! Thanks for yet another GREAT recipe!

  5. Patti says

    When you say “chocolate chunks” exactly what type? I need to get 100 Brownies made today! What can I substitute for the chunks? Are these also paleo friendly? I don’t see any grain so it looks like I can use this recipe for both GF/CF. Anyone??

  6. rizi says

    I love these but I did make some changes. Used 1/2 + 2 T almond flour and only 1/3 c. + 1 T coconut sugar. So good with a cup of coffee or ice cream on top.

  7. sarah says

    wow, how much time did i just kill reading though post after post of “these look amazing” looking for what Elana asked for comments on, which was substitutions and how it turned out.

  8. Angel says

    I want to try this recipe, but have a quick questions… In Step 4 where you blend lend in eggs, palm sugar, vanilla and salt to mixture in pan using a handheld mixer, do you blend the eggs while the chocolate is still hot or you let it cool first?


  9. says

    These brownies look amazing! I cannot wait to try these. Although maybe not recommended for the health factor of this dessert, I think I might have to make sure they are warm and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the top :) Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  10. says

    Espresso Fudge Brownies
    For vegan shortening, I used coconut oil
    I used sweetened dark chocolate so I used a 1/4 cup of maple syrup instead of 1 cup of coconut sugar
    I used 2 eggs plus 2 tablespoons ground flax plus 6 tablespoons of water. I added kamut flour & a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. They are amazing!!!

  11. says

    I cannot wait to try this!! We love your grain free brownie recipe and now this espresso – fudge is sure to be a crowd pleaser, I just know my teens will love this and probably not leave any for me LOL

  12. says

    I made this recipe yesterday to take to my cousins birthday party an it turned out fantastic!! So fudgy and heavenly. The only change I made is that I used grapeseed oil instead of the shortening. Elana, I see you have a cutout sugar cookie recipe, but could you come up with a thick,chewy sugar cookie recipe? You have amazing recipes! Thanks for sharing them.

  13. MLR says

    Dearest elana!

    I made the brownies for the weekend with veg oil instead of the shortening (dont have and dont like)
    And subbed honey+date syrup for the coconut sugar (cant find here).

    They came out a bit dry-but thats probly cause I forgot them in the oven…and I think I might melt the coffee in hot water before adding (well I doubled the recipe-might have forgotten to double the coffee…)it to the batter because I couldnt really taste the “espresso” taste in them.
    Do u suggest I use coconut oil instead-to make them more moist and fudgey?

    But they still came out good and everyone liked them!

  14. Lisa says

    Brilliant! I have had to come back to share the recipe after a request from one of my guests…
    I used coconut oil for the shortening.

  15. AnnaG says

    Just got around to making these this weekend — seriously delicious. My paleo husband loved them. I sub’d a packet of Starbucks Decaf Via because that’s what was in the pantry. Really, really good …
    Thanks Elana!

  16. Erin says


    I would like to make these with paleo ingredients, such as ghee or coconut oil. Also, I only have regular espresso grounds. Does the caffeine matter? THANKS!

  17. Kathy Hart says

    I made these the other day, and they were absolutely amazing!! My husband just started on Paleo and was missing his Oreo’s and other chocolaty “junk”. So, made these for him, and they were a great hit. Even my kids, who don’t eat Paleo, LOVED them!! I am so excited to try more of your recipes! Thank you so much!

  18. sarah says

    I am going to try these using dandy blend instead of ground coffee, can’t wait. Haven’t had a browning in over a year!

  19. Sarah Zabal says

    These are OUTRAGEOUSLY good. For the vegan shortening, I subbed the same amount of coconut cream (the top thick portion of a refrigerated can of coconut milk), worked like a charm. They’re so good I’m almost sad I made them because now I can eat brownies while staying Paleo!!

  20. vajra says

    Not a big fan of chocolate desserts, went for this brownie mostly to make my boyfriend happy. Also, this is my first cooking from Elana’s recipies, although I’ve been ‘shopping around’ for quite a while.

    Replaced coconut sugar with xylitol. Didn’t have vegan shortening, so used coconut oil. Used cooking chocolate and a bit of chocolate powder as didn’t have chocolate drops. Also used whatever salt I have.

    Besides, didn’t have the described baking dish (just realised in the middle of the prep), used a loaf tin instead. For that reason it was at least 2 times thicker, so baked the brownie for about 50 min at a slightly lower heat (about 150 degrees celsius).

    The brownie came out nice just about half an hour ago. Maybe a bit more solid than in the photo and slightly too chocolatey (probably because of the 100% cooking chocolate) for my palate but still enjoyable. Can’t wait to see what my boyfriend is gonna say :)

    Thanks Elana for the tasty website and incredible cooking ideas!

  21. pamela gaskell says

    is there a difference between ground almonds and almond flour? If there is, would this recipe work as well with the ground almonds?

  22. Amanda says

    Yummy, thank you for this recipe! I went on a bit of a baking spree and made these tonight. I used 2 squares of Bakers unsweetened chocolate instead of the chips, and 1 cup of erythritol plus a tsp. of Stevia glycerite. I also used one packet of Starbucks VIA instead of the ground espresso beans. Also used butter instead of the shortening.
    They turned out wonderfully and my kids can’t wait for a treat in their lunch tomorrow! Thank you!

  23. marsha says

    Dear fellow bakers – I do not see a listing for coconut flour in this recipe yet step 5 says to add it. Help!
    Thank you!

  24. says

    I love your recipes. However a current discovery about palm oil has increased my urgency to reach out to all who many not know of the largest deforestation of precious rainforest is due to palm oil harvsesting. The people who are cutting down these Forrest’s consider elephants and orangatans pests and do everything in their power to rid these creatures. I know your blog has a lit of followers and I urge you from the bottom of my heart to find a substitute for palm oil. Thank you and good day.

  25. Jodie says

    This recipe confuses me a bit. There is more sugar than flour in it. I would calls these espresso fudge (candy) squares – not brownies.

  26. Erin says

    What could you use besides almond flour?im making these for someone who has a nut allergy. Thx

  27. Leslie says

    Last night I made for the second time your recipe for Chardonnay Crackers.
    I had received the Chardonnay flour last week and could not wait for the almond blanched flour to arrive from Honeyville, so after I went to WF, Alf’s, Ideal, VC and could only find Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour I made them with that….so they just were crumbs after they were baked when I tried with a spatula to lift them from the parchment paper. So decided it was because you had said Bob’s did not work for your recipes.
    I had the Honeyville blanched almond flour last eve so I made them again and the same thing happened.
    I know it is not altitude because I think you and I live in the same neighborhood.
    I did follow the recipe exactly..
    1 and 1/2 cups blanched almond flour, 2 T. chardonnay flour, 1/4 tsp salt (the first batch I made I thought for us was way too salty, so I cut salt in last night’s recipe) and 1/4 cup olive oil.
    Any suggestions??? the crumb flavor is great…just need them to hold together…

  28. Gosia says

    Dear Elana,
    I love your blog and inspiring recipes and I have been trying few of them.
    I seem to have problem with coconut flour in my cupcakes,the base is always kind of soggy (and if I bake them longer then the top becomes too dry)and smells of eggs. I follow the recipes..Could it be cause I am using coconut flour made by myself?
    Would you have any recommendations?

    Can I substitute vegan palm oil shortening for grapeseed oil in this recipe?
    And your brownie recipe-would it work to substitute almond butter for almod flour?

    Thank you for writing this blog^_^

    Kind Regards

  29. Jenna says

    Wow! I never knew going grain and sugar free could taste so good! Your website has truly given me the inspiration to go wheat (and grain) free to heal horrible excema.
    Thank you so much Elana! You rock!

  30. Debra E says

    My daughter and I made these today for the first time. She is diabetic so I cut the sugar in half and added a half teaspoon liquid stevia. This allowed each square to be 11 carbs each. We also put in 6 drops peppermint essential oil instead of the espresso. They are simply wonderful and the best almond flour recipe I have tasted! It’s really nice to be able to make special treats for her on occasion that are fairly reasonable on the carb count. Both my girls were so excited to have a square of these brownies!

  31. says

    Delicous, Elana! Just made these and added some walnuts. So good!!! Levi’s excema is so bad that I am doing a 30 day test, gluten free. Will keep you posted!

  32. Ann says

    Yum. I always look for people’s substitutions, so here are mine: I subbed Kerrygold butter for the shortening, and added a bonus T of butter. I upped the coconut flour about .5 T. Xylitol for half the sugar, rapadura for the other half. They’re lovely, especially since I topped them with ganache!

    I have a healthy sweet tooth, and even I could have dropped the sugar in these by about a fifth.

    Thank you, Elana – it was my first time baking with a combo of coconut and almond flours.

  33. Lisa in Houston says

    Just made this last night and served it at lunch today– instead of chips I did a semi sweet ghiradelli baking bar plus half a 100% cacao “”, and added a little agave syrup to sweeten it up a little more. Otherwise it was too the tee. It was my first time making a successful g-free baking good and my friend who has a severe gluten allergy loved it! And gluten issues aside, it was just a nice rich and fudgy brownie. Thanks for the recipe, I look forward to perusing your wonderful site!

  34. J says

    Just made these last night and eating them cold today…in food heaven! Used organic maple syrup for sweetening and grapeseed oil and they came out fab. Thank you for an easy, yummy chocolate fix for those of us who are trying to avoid gluten/sugar!

  35. says

    I divided a batch of these between two GF/DF friends, both of whom absolutely loved them (and inhaled them rather quickly). Thanks for such a great recipe! I did use regular sugar, regular shortening, and tapioca flour instead of coconut flour (for chewiness, and b/c I didn’t have coconut flour).

  36. Barbara says

    One tablespoon ground flax seed soaked in 3 tablespoons of hot water for 5 minutes works as an egg substitute in baked goods. I’ve tried it with muffins with great success.

  37. says

    these look delicious!! does anyone have a suggestion for what to substitute the eggs for? we cannot eat eggs and i really want to try these!!!!
    thanks for any suggestions.

    • Lucinda says

      I’m not sure you can without changing the integrity of the recipe. I can’t eat eggs either and I’ve learned that if the recipe requires more than 2 eggs, it’s pretty tough to adapt but maybe someone out there has some great ideas.

  38. says

    I just made these, and couldn’t wait for them to cool to try them :) I subbed equal parts butter for shortening (not a fan of shortening) and added some cacao nibs to give them a little crunch. I used the almond meal I had on hand, since I am waiting for my almond flour order to come in. They came out GREAT. I’ve been trying tons of brownie recipes, and haven’t been able to find the perfect one, until now. And I LOVE that they are grain free! Thanks Elana!

  39. says

    These look amazing…of course you might have heard that already :) I have no need to be gluten free, but am exploring the options just as one to be a bit healthier. Your site and recipes should help quite a bit :)

  40. Rachel H says

    Elana –

    I just told my Hugs that he had become high maintenance. We’ve been gluten free for about 4 years (he’s NCGI), and he just went Paleo. And he’s worth it. Funny, I feel better gluten free, also.

    I really appreciate you and your work – makes maintenance easier. ;o)

    Many thanks from a CO girl, happily living in Seattle.

  41. says

    I just bought a wonderful 8 x 8 Le Creuset baking dish and now I know exactly what I’m going to do with it! A maiden voyage of espresso fudge brownies! Plus, these sound easy, which is a plus!

  42. Jeri says

    Made this last week with a dairy free caramel sauce and had brownie a la mode. They were very good. This was only my 2nd attempt at brownies since going gluten free a year ago. The first attempt was a gf Trader Joe’s mix and it did not turn out.

  43. Alexandra says

    wow these look sooo delicious! I am going to make them for my gluten free friends while we watch “Extreme Chef” this Sunday night on the Food Network!

  44. Lola says

    I’m not a big brownie fan but these are an exception! My DH must have said UMMMMM about 20 times while eating his second one. They are even better the second day. They definitely go into the Better-Than-The-Gluten-Ones catagory! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

  45. Amanda says

    Wow, these are definitely my favorite of Elana’s 3 brownie recipes – totally decadent and fudgy, not cakey, yum!

  46. Ashley says


    I love your recipes…thank you so much for sharing! I made the coconut almond bars last week and they were amazing. : )

    I have a recipe I love called chicken paprika and it is served over spaetzle, which I also love. Do you have any suggestions about how one would go about making coconut flour spaetzle? Or is that an idea doomed to failure?


  47. AC Leming says

    I substituted Neutella for all of the palm sugar and they were delicious! I melted it in with the chocolate chips. Yummy!

  48. Michelle says

    Congratulations on having one of your recipes featured on the back cover of “Healthmonitor’s” spring Allergies & Asthma publication.

    I was at the allergist’s early yesterday morning, leafing through the booklet, and thought the Eggplant Parmesan photo looked tantalizingly familiar. I was so happy to see your work out and about in the world.

  49. Holly says

    Hi, this is Holly who won the Go Dairy Free book!! :) Thank you – PROBLEM – I have responded to Courtney’s emails 4X now and she keeps sending the email asking for my info so Im assuming she is not receiving my response for some reason! help.. lol – I hope you find this comment since I cant seem to find any other email address to send a message to!

  50. says

    Beautiful! I’ve been writing gluten-free blogs for a long time, and just recently went Paleo, thus removing ALL grains from diet, as well as dairy, so that eliminates most of the recipes out there. Not this one though!! And my fave things! Espresso & chocolate! I can’t wait to try this! THANKS!

  51. says

    These sound absolutely delicious. I love anything that tastes like it has coffee in it. My husband will love these, but with the espresso, I’ll just hide them in the evening, and let him take one for lunch!

    I’m happy to see recipes with palm sugar, although I have to say I’ve been so glad to have recipes with agave in them. Not sure if my local food co-op has palm sugar. I’ll check it out.
    Please don’t stop making things with agave though!

  52. Carol Baldridge says

    You noted in your new cupcake book that you can’t free the stuff with coconut flour. Does this also apply to the recipes that are mostly almond flour and have a couple of tablespoons of coconut flour? I just made the strawberry cupcakes and the cinnamon struesel cupcakes. AWESOME!

  53. Noel says

    These look divine!
    I’m a honey-user, so my one sadness when you don’t use agave is that I become lost as to how I will use my chosen liquid sweetener in the recipe.
    One of my favorite things about your recipes has been that I always know I have the ingredients on hand — almond flour, oil & liquid sweetener.
    But I will adapt.
    We all must change and grow and experiment.
    Thank you for sharing so many of your culinary successes with us.
    You help make my family’s gluten-free world so much nicer.
    : )

    • meaghan says

      Agave had a pretty big following for a while, however, as research has been done, it’s really not that much better than HFCS. It’s not natural, high processed, and EXTREMELY high in fructose. There is some truth to sugar=sugar, but I do believe there are better options.

    • Candace says

      I also bake w/honey & just substitute 1 to 1 for agave syrup. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of agave, I use 1 cup of honey. Haven’t had a failure yet! Good luck! :)))

  54. Megan says

    Hi Elana!

    Instead of palm sugar, try using stevia in more recipes?

    I highly recommend Body Ecology’s stevia.

    Donna Gates was actually a pioneer who brought stevia to States (it was big in Japan). Much of her work is with those who have gluten sensitivity, ADHD, and autism spectrum.

    Sugar, whether palm or agave, still contains fructose. Evidence- from peer reviewed scientific journals and MDs- is pointing out more frequently that fructose is at the root of childhood obesity, diabetes type 2, inflammation etc. Plus, ADHD, autism spectrum, and autoimmune conditions are so becoming common!

    I have learned that gluten is *not* the only culprit! Fructose plays a role as well.

    If you’re going to go GF, why not look into alternative sweeteners?

    Body Ecology is a great place to learn about all this. I loooove Body Ecology because they emphasize nutrient dense, unprocessed foods and the *wide* range of health benefits found in fermented foods.

    They are actually doing a promotion thing right now. I just got the newest edition of their book, for under 10 dollars!! There are prizes and a free consult give-away right now.

    I always enjoy your posts, so I thought I would let you know :) Thanks for the amazing recipes!

    • says

      Can you use it for baking for real? I have not had luck with any form of Stevia I’ve tried so far once heated. You promise it works? Is yummy, not bitter, really tastes sweet?

    • Rachel H says

      It is difficulot to bake with stvia alone. It does replace the bulk and structure of sugar, nor does it produce the same texture.

      It can be useful to *reduce* sugar, but will NOT work in most recipes.

      Especially when we bake gluten free, sugars are pretty important for texture and structure.

      I use a combination of PolyDextrose and Splenda, which produces fairly good results, but Elana does more natural methods.

      I will probably sub some of the palm sugar for PolyD.

      • Rachel H says

        “It does replace the bulk and structure of sugar, nor does it produce the same texture.”

        That should be “It does NOT replace the bulk and structure of sugar, nor does it produce the same texture.”

      • Sharon says

        NuNaturals Baking Stevia – More Fiber Blend is GF and made in the USA. I sub it for sugar in many recipes with success. You sub it cup for cup. I get mine from for the best price.

    • says

      There are those of us who are sensitive to Stevia as well. If I eat something with Stevia or inulin or chickory root, my gut reacts with a gluten-like response. There is not a perfect sweetener on the planet. Thank goodness that we have so many to choose from!

  55. says

    Oh my! These look wonderful, it’s a shame they have eggs in because they would make the perfect Father’s Day treat for my husband! But I will make them for the rest of us and make him something equally as yummy!

  56. donna says

    hi elana…sound great but can you use coconut oil or grape seed instead of the shortening? (or butter??) thanks

  57. says

    This is very different than what you’ve done before… Very interesting. 1 cup of palm sugar, I don’t know if I could do that. I bet dates would be a good addition…

  58. Sandy says

    Dear Elana,

    We are huge fans of Elana’s Pantry over at Glam Media! We’re one of the top 10 online media companies in the US and would love for you to help pilot our new Health & Wellness Community at, slated to launch in the coming weeks.

    If you’re interested, please contact me about joining our community for the launch!


    Sandy Hayashi
    Community Partners Editor
    Glam Media

  59. Bethanie says

    Kalyn, there are gluten free/sugar free chocolate chips. They’re made by Chocoperfection. They are sweetened with oligofructose and erythritol. Both are natural sweeteners derived from plants. They’re very tasty! I got them at my local health foods store.
    Susan, while I’m not a fan of shortening, the kind Elana used was non-hydrogenated all vegetable shortening. Melted butter would work well in place or grapeseed oil.
    I can’t wait to try these! Going to try sucanat for the palm sugar and 70% cocao bars instead of chips.

  60. Susan says

    The shortening concerns me. Is there something natural that can be substituted? Coconut oil? Organic butter?

  61. Tamara says

    I will definitely be making these! On a separate, but somewhat related note : I just checked out your Almond Flour cookbook and made the basic biscuits. I cannot tell you how amazing these are !!!!!!!!! I have never baked/cooked with almond flour but will be from now on! I just recently was told to avoid gluten/wheat and am so pleased to have found out about almond flour from you!! I cannot wait to cook through your cookbook. I will be making these brownies for my children’s play date this week.

  62. Kalyn says

    Does anyone know of a gluten free, sugar free chocolate chip? If only a company would develop some made with coconut sugar and esthero, now there’s a niche that hasn’t been filled yet.

  63. says

    Elana, I really was not supposed to be making brownies at this very moment in time! LOL!

    Doing substitutions for Leaky Gut/Candida and ingredients on hand, here’s what’s baking in my oven right now (and oh man, the batter is don’t share with the kids lick the bowl good):

    3 squares unsweetened dark chocolate
    ¼ cup coconut oil
    1 ½ teaspoons decaf finely ground espresso beans
    4 eggs
    1 cup xylitol
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
    ½ cup blanched almond flour
    2 tablespoons coconut flour

  64. paisleyapron says

    Wow, you’re are making my sweet tooth extra happy this week! I tried the Almond Joy Bars and my family scarfed them…now onto the brownies. Excellent way to make friends around here. Thanks for such nice, healthful recipes.

    • says

      I made these brownies yesterday and substituted 1/2 cup of Agave for the palm sugar and it turned out great. It was plenty sweet for my taste.

    • Carys says

      I made them yesterday and followed the recipe but without the espresso and they came out really really well! Hope they work for you too!

    • Lucinda says

      6 tbsp cocoa powder + 7 tbsp sugar + 1/4 cup butter or shortening. It’s more of a semi-sweet chocolate substitute but it’s a place to start.

  65. Melie says

    I am really looking forward to trying these brownies. After finally making the plunge and ordering the almond flour you recommend, I made your GF, vegan chocolate cookies for the first time last night and my whole family loved them. Since you were so on target with the almond flour, I am hesitant to use anything but the coconut flour you use. However, Aloha Nu is sold out everywhere online. Is there another brand or a particular source you could refer me to? Thanks so much!

    • Sharon says

      Try – they have Let’s Do Organic Coconut Flour at a good price. Free shipping on items over $40.

  66. says

    Elana, these look like BIRTHDAY brownies, hint, hint :) They look perfect … just perfect … dense, chewy, but not gooey. My kind of brownie!


  67. says

    These look fantastic. I love your blog! I am slowly trying to incorporate less “starchy” gluten free options for my son. It is a slow process but many of your recipes have helped. Thank you!

    • Rachel H says

      You can usually find it in an Asian store – a cylinder called “palm candy” or sugar. Be careful to check ingredients – some of it is mixed with white sugar.

      Asian stores are also great places to buy gluten free flours much more cheaply than health food store. Tapioca, rice and potato flour/starches are around $1/lb. Bean flours are available in Indian or MiddleEastern stores cheaply.

  68. says

    Elana I would leave you love notes to in order to get some of these brownies too. I love that you always keep the integrity of high protein & health.

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