Spiced Flourless Chocolate Brownies

In my house these brownies will always be known as “Brownies of Sorrow.” I served them to friends as the Oregon football team finished beating up on Stanford two years ago, and the name stuck.

I served the same brownies to the same friends recently, under equally sorrowful circumstances – they are moving away for at least two years.

These brownies might be called Brownies of Sorrow, but  you’ll cry tears of joy when you taste them. Rich and moist with strong chocolate flavor, and just enough spice to tickle the back of your throat. This recipe uses cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne, plus espresso powder to really heighten the chocolate flavor.


  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (dutch-processed is preferable)
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Step 1. In a double boiler (or in a bowl over a small pot of simmering water) melt the chopped bittersweet chocolate and butter together, stirring occasionally.



Step 2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper. Even with a nonstick pan, I’ve found having the parchment paper helps these delicate brownies release easily.


Step 3. Once the chocolate and butter has completely melted, remove it from the stove. Add the cocoa powder, espresso powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and whisk together. Set aside to cool.

Step 4. Beat the four eggs together, then add the sugar and salt and beat until the mixture has become light, airy and significantly grown in volume, about 5 minutes.



Step 5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the beaten eggs and fold together. Note that the melted chocolate is much more dense, so mix carefully and consistently to make sure the chocolate is evenly combined.

Step 6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges of the brownies are firm and the center has just set. Longer baking will make a drier and more crumbly cake.


  • Sam

    These brownies sound really good but I don’t understand how they could have the consistency of brownies without any flour or ground nuts to hold them together. How does it work?

  • Nettie

    I was loving this website until I realized you’re a Stanford fan.

  • Moxie

    Just discovered your blog. You need a “Pin It” button!

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