Oct 13, 2018

Gluten-Free Hazelnut Espresso Brownies

Homemade gluten-free hazelnut espresso brownie square topped with a chocolate glaze and roasted hazelnut on wax paper.

What’s the secret to creating the most chocolatey chocolate brownies ever? Yes, adding lots of chocolate definitely helps (dark chocolate chunks? check. cocoa powder? check. hazelnut-cacao butter? check.), but it’s not everything. The key ingredient is… are you ready? Instant espresso powder.

Now, stay with us here. We know instant anything tends to get a bad rap, and we’re definitely not encouraging you to start drinking instant espresso or coffee by the mug-full. But believe us when we say that these brownies are not from concentrate. The addition of instant espresso enhances the notes of chocolate. It helps to deepen the flavour, which doesn’t happen when you simply add extra chocolate.

The hazelnut butter makes these brownies rich and fudgy. Not sure hazelnuts are your jam (or nut)? These brownies are equally to die for when made with other nut butters. Pecan and almond are two of our favourite alternatives. No matter which nut butter you choose, you can’t go wrong. These brownies are a chocolate-lover’s dream.



  • 2 tablespoons (18 g) teff flour
  • ¼ cup (30 g) sorghum flour
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (30 g) brown rice flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (10 g) arrowroot flour (aka arrowroot starch)
  • 4 tablespoons (22 g) alkalized cocoa powder (not raw cacao powder), any darkness and fat content will do
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Optional: ½ – 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder


  • 1 “flax egg” (1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water)
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (50 g) homemade or other clean ingredient hazelnut-cacao nut butter
  • 60 g JOYÀ Functional Chocolate (or other 60-80% dark chocolate), roughly chopped
  • ½ cup (70 g) coconut sugar
  • ⅓ cup (60 g) coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ¾ cup plant-based milk of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze and Topping 

  • 100 g JOYÀ Functional Chocolate (or other 60-80% dark chocolate), roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (24 g) coconut oil
  • ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon flaked sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Grease an 8” x 8” baking pan with coconut oil and line with two pieces of parchment — one in each direction — so that the bottom and all 4 sides of the pan and lined.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flax egg ingredients, whisk and set aside to thicken and gel.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all “dry” ingredients and whisk to thoroughly combine.
  4. In a large bowl, combine all “wet” ingredients except the dark chocolate and flax egg. Using a hand blender or stand mixer, beat until well combined, 30-60 seconds. 
  5. Melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl placed over a pot of simmering water), stirring continuously.*
  6. Add melted chocolate and flax egg to the wet mixture and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and cool on the rack completely before topping with glaze and/or cutting.
  8. To make the glaze, melt chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl placed over a pot of simmering water), stirring continuously.* Pour the glaze on the brownies, spread it with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon and top with the chopped nuts and flaked salt. Let the glaze dry, cut into squares and enjoy!

*Although we’re not fans of microwave use, in a pinch, you can also place the chopped chocolate (and coconut oil for the glaze) in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 10 second bursts about 3 times, stirring well in between, until the chocolate is completely melted.