Dark Chocolate Mocha Spice Brownies

December 3, 2009

Have you ever had such an intense craving for dark chocolate anything that it actually puts you in a bad mood until you did something about it? When this happens I usually will pacify the evil sirens call with a small square from my 'stash' of chocolate. But sometimes, especially when I am stressed, One square is just a drop in the ocean of my deep craving. Sometimes the only cure is a batch of brownies. I had to keep more than a few all to myself.
There is a method to my madness since I am not too hungry for something once I bake it (at least not until the following day). I was sure that as usual the smell and process of making these brownies would be enough and I would only save one for myself to enjoy later while the rest would be given to co-workers and friends. I was sorely mistaken. One look at these brownies was enough to pierce my baking immunity bubble. They were so dark that they were almost the colour of midnight black. As far as I am concerned, the darker the chocolate the better.

Although these brownies are more cake-like than fudgy, they are still spectacular. The paprika gives them a beautiful smokey aftertaste while the cinnamon adds a warm spicy note to the chocolate. The espresso powder adds another layer of depth and richness (like a handsome anthropology professor who plays the cello and can recite Shakespeare on a whim). I loved how all the flavours fused together and made these so unique and eclectic. The cinnamon frosting is simple and classic. You may omit the ground cinnamon but why do so when this recipe is already over the top? It's sweetness compliments the rich brownies perfectly and you can convince someone to clean all the dishes in exchange for licking the bowl. Quite a good deal!

Dark Chocolate Mocha Spice Brownies

(adapted from Taste of Home)

* printer friendly Recipe *

Brownie Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking Soda
  • 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp. of paprika (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa powder (I used Hersheys special dark)
  • 2/3 cup of butter (melted, cooled, and divided in half)
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of chopped bittersweet chocolate (If you prefer you may use 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips but I really really think these are best made with dark chocolate)

Cinnamon Frosting:

  • 6 Tbsp. of butter at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 2/3 cup of confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup of half & half (or milk)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line and grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with tin foil. Allow the foil to come over the edges and fold for easy removal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, paprika, espresso powder, nutmeg, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and 1/3 cup of the cool melted butter. Add the boiling water and stir until thickened. Stir in the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and remaining 1/3 cup of melted butter. With a large spatula or wooded spoon, fold in the flour mixture. Stir just until the all the streaks of flour have disappeared. Fold in the chopped chocolate.

Pour into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting.

Frosting: In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the milk, beating well each time until the frosting is spreadable. Add more milk in small increments if nessary.

Frost the cooled brownies and enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.


  1. Ciao Valerina these Brownies are fantastic !!I would love one now !!!

  2. Do you know such an anthropology professor?

    Love the brownies, what a great idea to add a touch of smoked paprika!

    I'm a new reader to your blog and enjoy it. Keep up the good work!

  3. Thank you natalia. :)

    Hi Romy, I'm glad you are enjoying my blog. I should be so lucky to know that kind of professor. It started as a childhood crush I had on Indiana Jones and it took on a life if it's own in college. :)

  4. Wow!! beautiful recipe, thank you so much. I really glad to find this. I like coffee more than chocolate, and chocolate with coffee so this will be good. I may add instant expresso to the batter to up the ante (but not eat as a evening snack :-)


  5. Love those photos, especially the one with the frosting hanging down a bit. These look special, love the spices.

  6. Hi Valerina,
    You so sweetly posted a comment with good thoughts for my doggie and I wanted to drop by and say thank you! WHEW! She's going to be fine. You are right, Golden's are very positive, happy go lucky spirits.
    It looks oh so yummy here, I'll enjoy following along very much! :)
    Happy weekend to you,

  7. Valerina, oh my, oh my. I am going to pretend that i didn't see this..well maybe just one more look....and I may as well take a sample...

  8. Hello there Valerina. First time to your site and loving it. I don't bake much at all so can only marvel at a blog like yours! These brownies look unbelievably moist that I may have to give them a shot this weekend.


  9. The spices in the brownies sound incredible, and your frosting looks divine! Wish I could sample one right now.

  10. I made these this afternoon...oh my goodness YUM. I followed the recipe exactly except I substituted the hot water and espresso powder for strong coffee. Also I was shy with the paprkia because I've never baked with it (I added about 3/4 tsp)...but it's subtle and when I make them again I'll use the full amount suggested.

  11. Hi Lizzie, I'm so glad you liked these! And great idea to sub. brewed coffee for espresso powder (which can be hard to find sometimes). The paprika use is relative depending on how much smokiness you are in the mood for. :)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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