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Coffee Brownies for Two

This coffee brownies recipe is the perfect size for two people. It’s ideal for a Valentine’s Day dessert. Or for any time you want to whip up fudgy brownies to satisfy your sweet tooth.

coffee brownies for two on a stack of two white dessert plates with some coffee beans on the plate.

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This small batch brownies recipe is everything.

Few flavors are better suited to each other than bitter coffee and sweet chocolate. This easy small-batch coffee brownie recipe brings the two together.

The brownie batter itself is spiked with espresso powder. And so is a cream cheese swirl that’s rippled throughout.

The result is heavenly. Rich, fudgy chocolate espresso brownies made just for two people. Or one for now and one for later, just for yourself!

Why make small batch brownies?

Because this scrumptious coffee brownie recipe is designed to be dessert for two people, you won’t be left with the temptation of a full batch of fudgy brownies.

I have a serious sweet tooth, but I don’t love having loads of sweets around the house. I just don’t have that much self control. I’d eat brownies all day if I could!

With this easy brownies-for-two recipe, you can whip up just enough to satisfy that sweet tooth without a ton of leftovers.

This recipe comes from my dessert for two cookbook, Dessert Cooking for Two.

dessert cooking for two by robin donovan now available at amazon.com and everywhere books are sold

Why put coffee in brownies?

To put it simply, coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate, making a richer, more nuanced brownie. 

Bitter coffee brings out the rich sweetness of chocolate, so they’re a magical combination. Two great tastes that are even better together.

These brownies are dark, chocolatey, and super rich. But they also have the intriguing allure of bitter coffee balancing the sweetness.

The outsides are chewy-crisp, and the insides ooey gooey, just the way a brownie should be.

What makes these brownies so fudgy?

The higher the fat content and the less flour you use, the more fudgy your brownies will be. These brownies have lots of butter (relatively speaking), and they also have a cream cheese-based swirl throughout.

And they only have 1 ½ tablespoons of flour, which isn’t much even for a small batch of brownies.

These elements give these brownies a moist, dense, chocolatey fudginess.

overhead shot of the brownies on white dessert plates with coffee beans scattered around. Tehre is a red and white napkin, two forks, a teaspoon, and two cups of coffee with milk on the table.

Why bake brownies in a muffin tin?

I like to bake my small batch brownies for two in a nonstick muffin tin for two reasons. 1) I don’t have a small baking pan that is just the right size for two brownies.

And 2) by baking each brownie in its own little private baking pan, you get the perfect balance of crunchy, chewy outer edge and fudgy center.

These brownies are thick and substantial, so you don’t have to worry that you won’t get enough of that gooey center. You totally will.

I like to use a muffin tin even to make a full-size batch of brownies for the same reason.

What ingredients do you need?

These scrumptious coffee brownies don’t require a long list of ingredients and most of them are pantry staples.

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Egg yolk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Instant espresso powder
  • Cocoa powder
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cream cheese
6 photo collage showing the process of making the recipe.

How do you make them?

These brownies are super easy to whip up. The prep will only take you 5 minutes. Bake them for 25 and you’ve got a decadent dessert for two in 30 minutes.

  1. Preheat the oven and spritz a muffin tin (just two of the wells) with oil.
  2. Melt butter with sugar in the microwave.
  3. Mix the melted butter, sugar, and salt with cocoa powder, espresso powder, egg yolk, and vanilla. Stir in the flour.
  4. In another bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and espresso powder and stir to mix.
  5. Scoop two-thirds of the brownie batter into the prepared wells of the muffin tin.
  6. Dollop the coffee-cream cheese mixture on top of the batter and then top with the remaining brownie batter.
  7. Using a knife, swirl the brownie and cream mixtures together slightly, creating a swirling pattern. Don’t worry if it just looks like a blobby mess!
  8. Bake.
  9. ENJOY!

Tips for success

  • You can buy instant espresso powder in any supermarket, right alongside the instant coffee and hot chocolate mixes. You can also substitute instant coffee or any coffee-flavored liqueur like Kahlua or Tia Maria (I like to buy the little airplane-size bottles when I just need a small amount). Substituting strong-brewed coffee will work, too.
  • I never remember to take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator ahead of time. And it’s hard to stir cold cream cheese together with sugar. So I put the cream cheese and sugar in the microwave for about 15 seconds and it softens the cream cheese right up.
  • Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and espresso powder together in the same bowl you used to melt the butter with sugar. You don’t even need to wash it out!
  • Don’t worry if you have a hard time swirling the chocolate brownie batter and the coffee-cream cheese swirl together. The batter will be dense and sticky so it is hard to mix them. Just mush them into each other a bit and it will be fine, I promise!
  • Check the brownies after they have been in the oven for 25 minutes. They will probably be done. If they’re not, let them go another 2 or 3 minutes. Remember, underbaking is usually better than overbaking when it comes to brownies. You want them to be nice and gooey.
low angle shot of one of the brownies cut in half and stacked so that you can see the gooeyness inside.
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More dessert recipes you’ll love

Coffee Brownies for Two

low angle shot of one of the brownies cut in half and stacked so that you can see the inside. They are on a white plate with some coffee beans and the other brownie on the side

Few flavors are so perfectly suited for each other as bitter coffee and sweet chocolate. This brownie recipe brings the two together by spiking both the brownie batter and a cream-cheese swirl with instant espresso powder. The result is heavenly. This recipe is adapted from my book Dessert Cooking for Two.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, divided
  • 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven andprepare the muffin tin. Preheat the oven to
    350ºF. Grease 2 wells of a muffin tin with baking spray.
  2. Melt the butter with the sugar. Combine the butter with 3 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Return to the microwave and heat for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir again. 
  3. Mix in the remaining brownie batter ingredients. Stir in the egg yolk
    and vanilla. Add 1 tablespoon of the espresso powder and the cocoa powder and stir until the mixture is well combined and glossy. Add the flour and stir to incorporate.
  4. Make the coffee cream swirl mixture. In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the remaining tablespoon of espresso powder.
  5. Bake the brownies. Scoop two-thirds of the brownie batter into the prepared wells of the muffin tin, dividing evenly.
    Dollop the coffee cream mixture on top of the batter and then top with remaining brownie batter. Using a knife, swirl the brownie and cream mixtures together slightly, creating a swirling pattern. Bake for about 25 minutes. Let the brownies cool for a few minutes before removing them from the
    tin.

Notes

1. You can buy instant espresso powder in any supermarket, right alongside the instant coffee and hot chocolate mixes. You can also substitute any coffee-flavored liqueur like Kahlua or Tia Maria (I
like to buy the little airplane-size bottles when I just need a small amount). Substituting just strong-brewed coffee will work, too.

2. If your cream cheese is too cold to stir together with the sugar, pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so.

3, Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and espresso powder together in the same bowl you used to melt the butter with sugar. You don’t even need to wash it out!

4. Check the brownies after they have been in the oven for 25 minutes. They will probably be done. If they’re not, let them go another 2 or 3 minutes. Remember, underbaking is usually better than overbaking when it comes to brownies. You want them to be nice and gooey.



Nutrition Information

Yield

2

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 311Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 218mgSodium 141mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 1gSugar 26gProtein 7g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on January 25th, 2021

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

More about Robin

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2 thoughts on “Coffee Brownies for Two”

  1. Wow!! thanks for this yummy recipe, I love brownies. I will definitely try to make this at home. and I hope the flavor of the coffee will enhance the taste of this recipe. Keep sharing more!

    Reply

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