Turkish Coffee Chocolate Brownies
These brownies are dense and fudgy, deep-dish, and decadent with a high fat (butter & chocolate) to flour ratio. Espresso powder and an infusion cardamom seeds lends a Turkish coffee flavor profile.
Ok friends, buckle up. This post is important, because it includes the recipe for the very best brownies I know how to make. They’re fudgy, deep-dish, and decadent with a high fat (butter & chocolate) to flour ratio. In addition to lots of bittersweet chocolate in the batter, I dial up the intensity with 1/4 cup of espresso powder and an infusion of fragrant, freshly ground cardamom seeds blooming in vanilla extract. It's a flavor profile I love every time I encounter it. They're Turkish coffee chocolate brownies, and before you decide on your favorite brownie recipe, I encourage you to give this one a try. They're SO GOOD.
Tips for the Best Brownies
- Chocolate: I love Amy Guittard and her family's San Francisco-based chocolate. For these brownies I use a bag of Guittard Organic Bittersweet 74%. That said, any good bittersweet chocolate over 70% is great. If you can only get semi-sweet right now in the 60-70% zone - they'll still be delicious, but look for bittersweet as your first choice.
- Grinding spices: If you have a coffee grinder at home, you can grind the cardamom seeds along with your beans when grinding the espresso powder. Although, it's probably easier to use a mortar and pestle to quickly grind the cardamom. Your coffee grinder will retain the cardamom scent for a while if you don't clean it which takes some effort. To clean a coffee grinder you can grind a handful of white rice to clear it of other ingredients and scent.
- Invest in good cardamom: Many of you are familiar with Diaspora Co. turmeric, but don't sleep on the cardamom. I use it here and it is incredibly fragrant and special. Other things you can do if you have a jar - steep pods in tea, grind a couple seeds with your coffee beans in the morning, toss a few pods into stews, etc. Freshly ground spices can make a huge difference in your baking.
What Type of Coffee to Use?
A dark, robust roast is welcome here. Anything labelled espresso. You'll want the coffee beans ground espresso-fine.
What Size Brownie Pan Should I Use?
You have some flexibility here. I call for baking in a 8x8-inch pan. If you only have an 9x9-inch brownie pan, I’ve baked these in that size as well. Your brownies will be a bit thinner, and you won't need to bake as long. A 9x13-inch pan will result in a thinner brownie, you'll need to bake for even less time.
One variation I want to mention. I love using almond extract here in place of the vanilla extract called for. I'm out right now, but if you have some, consider using it!
Other baking ideas: Maybe you're not in the mood for brownies, but cookie recipes sound good right now? I love these snickerdoodles, these shortbread cookies, and this Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie. On the cake front, stop what you're doing and bake this flourless chocolate cake. Also, a lot of people are baking this One Bowl Banana Bread right now. Kim Boyce's Rosemary Olive Oil Cake is wonderful, or if you're up for a bit of a project, make the Violet Bakery Chocolate Devil's Food Cake.
Turkish Coffee Chocolate Brownies
Use a bittersweet chocolate in the 70% range.
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 10 cardamom pods, shells discarded & seeds ground
- 3/4 cup / 100g unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup / 20g finely ground espresso powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup / 150g unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups / 285g firmly packed dark brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F with a rack in the middle. Butter an 8x8-inch baking dish, or equivalent.
In a tiny cup combine the extract and ground cardamom. You should have about 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cardamom. Set aside.
Combine the flour, espresso, salt, in a small bowl and set aside.
Construct a double-boiler by arranging a stainless steel mixing bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Place the butter in the mixing bowl and allow to melt. Turn off the heat, and stir in the chocolate, mixing until fully smooth and melted. Water is the enemy of melted chocolate so, avoid getting water or a steam in your chocolate bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl use a whisk to combine the eggs, sugar, and cardamom extract mixture. Really go at it with the whisk for a few minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the volume increases and lightens. The chocolate mixture should be roughly room temperature by now, use a spatula to fold it into the egg mixture. Keep folding until uniform. Sprinkle the flour mixture across the top, and gently fold into that batter as well, avoid overmixing.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until the edges look dark and done, and the top looks glossy with some cracking, about 25 minutes. The center should offer some structured resistance, no jiggling. Cool completely on a wire rack, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. These are good straight out of the oven, cooled a bit, but transcendent if you can hold off until the next day.
Makes 20 deep-dish brownies
Post Your Comment
Can I replace the espresso powder with any ol' ground instant coffee?
The better the coffee the better the brownies will taste. But you can use any coffee that is finely ground.
I really wanted these to work for me and I don't know what went wrong - I measured everything and followed the recipe except for using pre-ground cardamom. I baked them for 25 minutes plus a few extra minutes - there were cracks on the top so I figured they were done. Sooooo mushy and underdone in most of the middle they were barely edible. Used up my good chocolate while shelter in place - and wanted to leave on a friends porch for her birthday., Oh well, sounds like they worked for some. Just check the timing.
Hi Debbie! Thanks for the comment. The one thing I would look into is confirming your oven temperature is accurate. Sometimes it can be off by quite a lot and that can really have an impact. They should really firm up, especially after cooling completely (you can see the density in the pics)...
Hello Heidi Thank you for helping me troubleshoot brownies on Instagram last week. Your brownie recipe is the first that worked for me in my more than 20 years if baking. Further to your suggestion, I started grinding my unrefined sugar and voila everything was beautiful. I made these three times as is and worked beautifully. However, the fourth time I attempted a gluten free version substituting all of the flour with 80gms almond flour and 50 gms unsweetened dutch cocoa powder. It made then more fudgy/gooey from the lack of flour but still delicious and were devoured by colleagues in minutes. All I could scrounge was small scraps stuck to the pan. Thanks again. Your recipes never fail for me. You are right about cooling them completely. Particularly if one wants to use gluten free flour.
Great to hear Kiran! I suspected the gritty grind on the sugar could be what was giving you trouble. Been there. ;) Happy baking & I'm glad you could add a brownie recipe to your repertoire! Looking forward to trying your cardamom at some point.
I made these brownies yesterday and they are incredible! I had to make a few quartine swaps - only had 6 oz of chocolate so I added 1/4 of a cup of cocoa powder and then also only had 3/4 of a cup of light brown sugar so I used 3/4 of a cup of white sugar as well. Results were still delicious and while I suspect that they are not quite as rich as they would be with the full 12 oz of chocolate. This recipe seems super adaptable - so I am excited to try them next time with maybe a bit of chile powder or almond extract.
Happy to hear it Julia! And yes to chile powder. It's really good.
These have become my new favorite homemade brownie recipe and I adore the fudgy texture and the intriguing flavor. I used almond extract and I love how it plays with the chocolate, cardamom, and coffee and hinted of marzipan, which I love. The recipe worked perfectly with a gluten free all purpose flour.
Thanks for the GF note Shila!
Do you have a mortal and pestle that you can recommend for grinding spices?
Hi Toni, I like marble mortar and pestles and the larger the better, so I can do curry pastes and the like.
Oh gosh, these look and sound amazing! I love the inclusion of coffee. So glad to hear you were finally able to get some eggs!
I'd love to make these, but I'm limited to the ingredients I have on hand, which in this case is instant espresso powder in a jar. Do you have any suggestions about how much instant espresso powder to use in place of the freshly ground espresso beans? Thank you!
Hi Cari - I think I'd try with 2-3T to start. And then make note for next time whether you'd like to increase or decrease...Enjoy!
These look so amazing, perfect for isolation time baking. Do you have any suggestions for altering the recipe if you have cocoa powder and not bittersweet chocolate? Trying to avoid the end times grocery store scene. Thank you for your flawless recipes. We miss you in San Francisco!
Hmm. Hi Anna! I think my approach would be to make a cocoa powder based brownie versus chocolate...rather than adapt this recipe. Hope that makes sense. xx!
Hi! I am from Greece , where we actually have Turkish coffee (very finely ground beans). Can I use those in this recipe?
Hi Lubinka - yes - as long as they're very finely ground.
These are amazing! Took your advice and soaked the cardamom in almond extract - genius! This is exactly how I enjoy my brownies and I appreciate the twist of cardamom/almond and the kick from the espresso. A small piece goes a long way and am happy to store the rest in the freezer to share with those post quarantine times. Thank you Heidi
Oh! I'm so glad you tried the almond extract. I think everyone defaults to vanilla extract a lot of the time, and it's what they keep on hand, but almond can add the little something extra!
I only have ground cardamom instead of pods. Any idea how much I need?
Hi Maggie - my ground pods measured out to a scant 1 teaspoon.
Hi, Heidi! Two quick alteration questions. 1. Is it possible to replace the cardamom (ideally with something one might have on hand)? Not available near me at the moment and I’d love to make these. 2. I’m a vegan who eats (local) eggs...! Butter replaceable with a neutral oil here? Thanks for keeping me and my belly company during these wild times! My boyfriend and I thank you.
Oooh tricky on the butter swap here Emily - I think id need to test to see how it would go, and I suspect it would change the texture at room temp pretty dramatically...there are alot of vegan oil based brownies out there, but the ratios are different. And yes, on spices and flavors - you could experiment with whatever you have on hand - cayenne, curry powder, smoked salt & mezcal in place of the extract & sea salt, etc....
I don’t have cardamom pods, could I just use my ground cardamom from my spice rack? If so, about how much?
Hi Beth - I ended up with a scant 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom. That said, if yours is dated with no fragrance, maybe explore another flavor in place of the cardamom - something spicy like cayenne pepper, etc. Or just leave it out.
Will this work with light brown sugar?
Hi Emily - yes, shouldn't be a prob.
Could these be made gluten-free by using buckwheat flour or almond meal? I love your other flourless chocolate cake recipes and can’t wait you reveal the recipe for the cake that you recently shared on your Instagram :)
Hi Katja- I can imagine buckwheat flour working nicely. Please let me know if you try it!
What color of cardamom pods for this recipe?
Green pods :)
Wow, just looking at these is comforting! And thank you for Near + Far--it's been nice to virtually travel through it during this time at home. I've been reading this blog for over a decade--thanks for sharing your time and recipes.
Thanks for the sweet note Allison! -h
Hi! I want to make these with my kids but first I have a question: in your description you mention espresso powder, and in the recipe you have 1/4 cup espresso coffee. Do I just grind my own beans very fine and make strong coffee with them? Thanks!
Great question Sophie - just grind and use. No need to brew it. Hope this helps!
Wow these sound magical! Will have to stock up on eggs & brown sugar during my next escape from my apartment!