Hazelnut Espresso Brownies have decadent nutty and espresso flavors without being excessively sweet. These rich yet gooey brownies make a yummy dessert all on their own, but the secret to this Hazelnut Espresso Brownie recipe is topping them with our homemade Gianduja recipe. Gianduja is better known as the original homemade Nutella.
Gianduja is the original traditional form of Nutella. We spread Gianduja on top of these brownies before baking for a melted infusion of hazelnut goodness. Once baked, the top of the spread forms a thin flakey crunch layer with a smooth creamy layer of spread beneath. But the best part is the Gianduja melts into the brownie itself for a moist, flavorful treat that isn’t too sweet like a chocolate frosting tends to be. Gianduja is nuttier and less sweet, so it pairs well with the stronger flavors of this espresso brownie.
Follow this simple DIY Nutella recipe to make your own Gianduja, a delicious chocolate spread that’s about 30% hazelnut paste.
Gianduja is a sweet chocolate spread containing about 30% hazelnut paste, invented in Turin, Italy, where Hazelnuts are common. Nutella was in fact, originally known as Pasta Gianduja. Homemade Gianduja tastes fresher, is healthier, and both the hazelnut and cocoa flavors are more distinct. And for the purpose of this recipe, it melts especially nicely melding together the flavor of the topping into the brownie but still leaving a nice generous topping that gets the slightest thin crisp atop the gooey smoothness, not crunchy or chewy.
Enough talking, let’s get to the good stuff!
Hazelnut Espresso Brownies with Gianduja Recipe
Hazelnut Espresso Brownies with Gianduja (Homemade Nutella) Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), plus butter to grease the baking pans
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups hazelnut spread using the Homemade Nutella recipe
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Step 1 Prepare the Homemade Nutella recipe here
- Step 2 Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 3 Butter a traditional half sheet baking pan (16 x 16 or equivalent) and line with parchment paper.
- Step 4 Combine the chopped chocolate and butter in a heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted. Set aside.
- Step 5 Using a mixer on medium for five minutes, (paddle attachment) combine 3/4 of the Gianduja or Nutella (1 1/2 cups worth) with sugar and eggs. Scrape down the bowl a few times as needed.
- Step 6 Add espresso powder and vanilla last and mix briefly.
- Step 7 Turn the mixer to low and stream in the chocolate mixture. Mix until well combined. Then fold in flour and salt.
- Step 8 Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread evenly with a knife or offset spatula and spoon the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread evenly on the surface
- Step 9 Use a toothpick or skewer to swirl the spread and brownie batter, creating big streaks and peaks of the spread on the surface.
- Step 10 Bake until set in the middle, about 25 -27 minutes. A toothpick should pull moist crumbs.
TIP: If using immediately, let the homemade Nutella cool at room temperature to soften before spreading onto brownies. If storing for future use, pour gianduja into jars and let cool before lidding. Lasts four weeks, chilled.