Chewy Espresso Blondies

These chewy espresso blondies are dense and full of caramel/butterscotch flavor, exactly how a blondie should be. #espresso #chocolate #blondies #dessert

i think one of the things my mom was worried about when i left for college was if i’d survive on dining hall food. i wasn’t concerned since i feel like dining halls don’t have the notoriety now versus when she went to college. sure, there are mushy, watery vegetables available, but there’s so much more. the dining halls at uc davis have a ton of fresh berries during the spring and there’s warm from the oven cookies at night. ucla has a pan-asian place that my friend used to frequent all the time. the dining hall i went to most at my school has an omelette bar in the morning, tacos with housemade tortillas for cinco de mayo, spam musubi on occasion (though i used to steer away from these, because they were plain and the spam wasn’t crispy and i wanted to make them myself), and blondies. theirs were chewy and dense with a slight crisp on the top edge, were packed with chocolate, butterscotch-y and brown sugar rich; and pretty close to my perfect blondie.

naturally, i’ve been searching for a recipe to replicate them. it’s been hard to find the one: usually the texture is too cakey for me, and while i still happily ate (and shared!!) them, i was always looking for something chewier. i finally found one on food52 that met all my texture requirements, but i was still missing something. blondies are pretty intense in the richness category, so i figured they’d be the perfect place to use some salts i received from uncommon goods! voila: chewy espresso blondies.

this batch of chewy espresso blondies was gifted to a friend for her birthday, and i included the rest of the salts i got in her gift. it was a great way to give her something homemade, and then add a little something extra on the side (you can find other birthday gift ideas here!). and since i also suck at figuring out what to gift people in general, these collections of grad gifts and father’s day gifts are perfect. the last grad gift i gave was flowers (original, i know), and i’m sure my dad would love something besides trader joe’s nuts for once, so you can bet your butt that i’ll be pouring over those, too.

aside from offering some snazzy things from a bunch of different artisans, uncommon goods is also a company that you can genuinely feel good about buying from. through their better to give program, they give $1 from each purchase you make to non-profits like international rescue committee and reach out & read.

so. chewy espresso blondies that are super caramelly (thank you milk chocolate for your contribution), and have that chewy/crispy (chewy on the inside, crispy along the edges) thing going on? sprinkled with slightly bitter espresso salt from a cool company, and placed on a slate cheeseboard (lol yes these blondies are definitely appropriate for a cheese course) from another cool company? yes, please.

1 year ago: Coconut Cake with Strawberry Compote and Pink Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Chocolate Babka French Toast with Caramelized Banana Creme Anglaise
2 years ago: Garlicky Sesame Cured Broccoli Salad, Rant Thursday #3

These chewy espresso blondies have a mix of milk and dark chocolate for maximum chocolate flavor, as well as a nice sprinkling of espresso salt on top. #espresso #chocolate #blondies #dessert

this post is sponsored by uncommon goods! i received compensation and product as part of our collaboration. all opinions are my own.

Chewy Espresso Blondies
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Blondies aren't blondies unless they're ridiculously chewy, so these ones nail that texture and add a little something something via espresso.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 131 kcal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 6 T unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips or 1 1/2 oz chopped milk chocolate
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or 1 1/2 oz chopped dark chocolate
  • espresso salt for sprinkling on top
  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until combined (it might not want to fully combine, so you can say good enough if the sugar is wet and you've been mixing for a solid minute). Mix in the egg and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the chocolate.
  3. Pour into a well-greased (you can use a foil sling but you really don't need to) 8x8” pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake at 350F until the edges are set and golden, but the center is slightly underdone, 18-22 minutes. When in doubt, underbake. Cool completely, then run a knife around the edge. Cut into squares, sprinkle with espresso salt and serve.
Recipe Notes

Adapted very slightly from Food52 (who adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, July 2005).


These chewy espresso blondies are as chewy as they sound, with no cakey texture in sight. #espresso #chocolate #blondies #dessert

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These chocolate chip cookies a la Flour Bakery yield deliciously chewy bakery-style chocolate chip cookies every time. #chocolatechipcookies #cookies #dessert

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These chewy espresso blondies are dense and caramelly and chocolate like a traditional blondie should be, but they also have a sprinkling of espresso salt to cut through that richness. #espresso #chocolate #blondies #dessert

58 Replies to “Chewy Espresso Blondies”

  1. Yummmmy!!!! 😍😊

  2. These sound delicious, Heather! So chewy and packed with delicious flavor :). I hope you have a great week!

    1. super chewy! i’m half convinced that one of the reasons i wasn’t into the other recipes i tried was due to my tendency to overbake blondies. oops.

  3. Geez, sounds like your dining hall is freakin’ awesome – so much selection! So nice when you find a yummy recipe that you want to replicate. Looks like you did a pretty sweet job with these! Love the espresso addition in there – like I’m getting my coffee and dessert all in one 😉 Have a wonderful week, Heather!

    1. i’m sure a cup of coffee alongside these wouldn’t be a bad thing even though there’s already some espresso powder in the blondies (;

  4. Sign me up! Love that you put espresso in the recipe too! 😉 As you may know, not all coffee cakes/blondies necessarily have… COFFEE in them!

    1. yeah confusing!! especially when i make coffee-flavored cake and everyone thinks it’s coffee cake but it’s not quite the same thing lol.

  5. Thank God I didn’t have to deal with dining halls. I went to art school and we had actual apartments as dorms, so my roommate and I took turns cooking dinner, it was an awesome experience. I can only imagine the dining halls at UC Davis I bet they are classy, UC Davis is always super classy. UCLA sounds pretty impressive also, wow an omelet bar! I love blondies look to-die-for!!! I need 5 of them right now.

    1. ooh that sounds fun too! i think it’s funny that you say that davis is super classy; most of the people i know think davis is more on the farm-y/cow-heavy side 😂

  6. Mmmm. Love me a good Blondie and I love the addition of espresso powder to these! And it sounds like college food ain’t too bad either. I love Uncommon Goods! I actually just bought my mom her Mother’s Day present from them and she loved it!! Have a great week my dear 🙂 xoxo

    1. now i love good blondies; i used to be very anti-blondies! though that might have been because my younger self thought they were just misshapen cookies (;

  7. A dining hall with housemade tortillas? Man, I thought the food on campus was good when I was in school…but it sounds like it’s gotten even better! But nothing can top these espresso brownies. What a fun flavor combination! I totally need these in my life. Like right now. For breakfast. 🙂

    1. okay, the homemade tortillas were only on special occasions! my school isn’t that bougie 😉 and blondies sound perfect for breakfast! 😋

  8. Omg! The food at my hostel sucked so much I would not even dream of replicating any of it for a worst foods contest! But these espresso blondies sound delicious and espresso salt!! That is awesome.

    1. well, i think there’s always bad food experiences (; ie my elementary school, where the teriyaki beef tasted like fish sticks and the rice was super greasy and the mini burgers would come in plastic sleeves so they’d be steamy and mushy when you ate them. fun times! (;

  9. You had me at chewy. I really hate when brownies and blondies are cakey and I have not perfected the technique to use my eyes to figure out whether one is cakey or chewy so this is soooooooooooo right up my alley!

    1. i think the key is to underbake! if they look set and matte, then they’re going to be cake-y (at which point you pass them off as cake lol). and cool completely; otherwise it’s a little bit crumbly and messy when you try to cut.

  10. I’m crazy about anything with espresso in it, definitely want to try these!


    1. same! i add espresso and fish sauce to everything (okay, well, espresso to sweet things, fish sauce to savory. and my goodness, them together sounds disgusting).

  11. These seriously look amazing! I could probably eat the entire pan 😉

    1. oh i definitely would have eaten all of them! which is why i had to get them out of my apt asap.

  12. I loooooove blondies!! My mom loved brownies when I was growing up and I was “meh” to them as a kid, but a friends’ mom made blondes, and I thought those were incredible!!! And ever since then, I still agree with my 8 year old very fickle self;) These look deeeelish!

    1. oh yes i’d choose a blondie over a brownie any day!!

  13. I have a UC Davis graduate neighbor, who’s stories line with yours. She was a happy camper there as well! Blondies with espresso sounds insane, especially chewy is what dreams are made of:) Have a great week Heather!

    1. have you ever seen the lizzie mcguirre movie? there’s a song called “this is what dreams are made of,” and now i have that stuck in my head and imagining if they threw out blondies to the crowd when they sing the song in the movie 😂

  14. My dorm in New Zealand had very average food but they made a mean rice krispie square 🙂 My friend and I used to bring down garlic salt and crushed chilli to try and improve on the flavour of our dinners. Espresso blondies is the best flavour of blondies. These look excellent Heather

    1. i love the texture of rice krispie squares!! they used to have a variety of squares with all sorts of cereal (the trix ones scared me… all that neon food dye). ooh garlic salt is always tasty :3 they had huge bottles of sriracha, and i can’t even begin to guess how many they went through!

  15. these look amazing! i lovee blondies, they were one of the first things i learned to bake love the espresso! 😍

    1. now that you mention it, blondies are such a good first project! and easier than cookies (no need to portion out endless balls of cookie dough!!).

  16. I love coffee in desserts! These blondies sound so delicious; chewy on the inside and crispy edges… Yes please!

    1. i’m guilty of adding coffee to everything. especially because i haven’t been able to open my bottle of vanilla (some spilled and it fused the cap to the bottle sigh) recently, so i toss in some coffee to add a touch more flavor to my chocolate-y things (:

  17. They look dangerous! (My kind of trouble! ) Pinning these gorgeous espresso blondies for later! 🙂

    1. they’re the best kind of danger/trouble (;

  18. Wow! Times have changed…Your mother and I share dorm food memories. Your espresso brownies look and sound amazing. Bravo to you for supporting worthy causes with your purchases =)

    1. i’m happy that times have changed, at least in terms of improved dining hall food (: thanks, kim!

  19. I think I need to try and make blondies some time! These look really good 🙂

    1. highly recommend!! they’re like really caramelly, chewy chocolate chip cookies in bar form (:

  20. This treat is a combination of my two favorite ingredients, espresso and chocolate! Pitch perfect dessert, Heather!

    1. pitch perfect?! why yes, i like that these blondies are compared to some amazing movies (i listen to the soundtracks non-stopppp) :3

  21. Wow! Wow! Wow! Stunning these!

    1. thanks richard!

  22. Your description of these blondies is just the best. Chewy, caramelly, crispy edges…sprinkled with none other than espresso salt!? What’s not to love?
    I also had quite a few good options for dining at Uni, although I ended up just making my own food most of the time!

    1. if you live in the dorms at my school, then you have to buy a meal plan (i swear they just want to make more money…). but i cook (and go out oops) a lot more now that i don’t have one, which is definitely cheaper/more fun.

  23. These look so light and fluffy. I bet they melt in your mouth!

    1. thanks, deano! these are more on the chewy and dense side rather than light and fluffy, but they are melt in your mouth good (:

  24. This looks gorgeous! I ned that with a good cup of hot tea 🙂

    1. thanks! these would be delicious with something strong (i’d probably do earl grey or english breakfast because those are some of my favorites!) since they’re on the rich side (:

  25. I do NOT miss campus dining food. but we also didn’t have blondies at the cafeteria so that must be the problem. these look FAB!

    1. i’m sure the lack of blondies was the only prob with your dining hall food (;

  26. Campus dining was no great when I was in school in New Orleans. I wasn’t the foodie that I am today so all I ever ate almost 3 times a day was cheeseburgers. It was so bad. But i love that UC Davis has some good options aside from watery veggies. Sure your moms concerns are valid, but you got this. And those blondies are something I would absolutely love to have! They look like they would be so perfect with a huge glass of milk and netflix repeats. Love love love!!!

    1. college in nola sounds like so much fun!! (then again, that could be my lingering desire to visit that could be speaking). and i’m not a huge fan of plain milk, but even i can get behind a glass with some blondies (:

  27. I love desserts which include espresso, which is my all time favourite. Excellent recipe!

    1. agreeeed. i put espresso in anything chocolate-y (and not chocolate-y, to be honest). thanks, agness!

  28. ooh I WISH my college hall made anything that looked half as good as these – espresso in blondies sounds like a combination of some of my all time fave flavours! to be fair, they did make fresh baked muffins at 3pm every day in exam periods…if they were blueberry you had to get in quick haha.

    1. fresh baked muffins?! jealous. i’m pretty sure the muffins were non-existent or mediocre enough for me to not hate or love or remember them. during finals they just had a ton of junk food (ie fries and burgers for days), but i’d rather have blueberry muffins!

  29. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being a chewy espresso blondie, so this is right up my alley, Actually, my espresso machine is on the fritz, so maybe I could rely on these for my coffee fix in the meantime!

    1. i can’t say i’ve ever been accused of being a chewy espresso blondie 😂 i wouldn’t mind, though!

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