mocha brownies

Mocha Brownies

Chocolate brownies topped with a thick layer of mocha chocolate icing from The Pioneer Woman Cooks book. You want these.


Mocha Brownies

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I wasn’t shocked when The Pioneer Woman won last week’s poll. She’s pretty much the most popular thing since Barack (2008). The hard part though was deciding what to make out of her latest cookbook. I didn’t really want to make a meat heavy dish which eliminated about 75% of the recipes, so instead I focused on desserts – something that she is very good at.

It was a hard decision, but the thing that caught my eye the most were these mocha brownies. They have a huge layer of mocha icing on top of the brownie. It’s basically half brownie and half frosting. Plus it has all the major dessert food groups: butter, chocolate, sugar, coffee.

These were so very delicious. Betsy and I had one each and then resolved to get them out of the house as soon as possible. I took half to work and she took half to her law clinic.

Mocha Brownies

Makes a 9x13 pan
Prep Time:
Total Time:
mocha brownies
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KitchenAid Hand mixer

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Chocolate brownies topped with a thick layer of mocha chocolate icing from The Pioneer Woman Cooks book. You want these.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.


4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 Cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 Cups all-purpose flour

Mocha Icing:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 (about 4 cups) pound powdered sugar
1/4 Cups cocoa powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
3 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 Cup brewed coffee, cooled to room temp


1) Add butter and sugar to a bowl and beat it on medium speed with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer. After a few minutes the mixture should be light and fluffy.

2) Carefully and slowly melt chocolate in the microwave on low. 30 second increments is ideal.

3) Add eggs one at a time to the creamed butter and mix together. Then mix in chocolate and vanilla.

4) Mix in your flour in a few batches. Try not to overmix. Just mix enough so the flour is incorporated.

5) Bake the brownies ina 9×13 inch baking pan that’s been lightly buttered. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

6) Let brownies cool completely to room temperature before frosting them.

7) For frosting, mix butter, salt, vanilla, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl until well combined. Then stir in brewed coffee and mix until it’s light and fluffy.

8) Frost the brownies heavily. It will be a thick layer. Serve immediately or let them chill in the fridge for an hour to firm up a bit.

Slight Modifications…

I made changes to her recipe which I’ll be careful to disclose so I don’t get flack from The Pioneer Army. First, the original frosting recipe calls for 5 Cups of confectioners sugar, but it doesn’t say sifted or non-sifted so who knows how much she uses. I used 1 pound of sugar which is a full box. This worked out to be about 4 cups of sugar for me. She also calls for 1/2 Cup to 3/4 Cup of coffee so I just used the lower estimate and my frosting was perfect.

If you wanted to go buy a second whole box of sugar though just for that extra cup, then by all means use the higher estimate of coffee.

Second, and I think this was a legit oversight, she says to bake the brownies in an 8 inch pan. I tried pouring my mix into an 8 inch pan and it almost overflowed. That’s before even baking it. I think I would’ve had a brownie explosion on my hands if I had followed the recipe exactly. Instead, I baked it in a normal 9×13 inch pan with excellent results.

The Brownie Batter

I must say I don’t really get the fuss with boxed brownie mix. I mean, making it from scratch just isn’t really that hard. It’s one of those things that I definitely don’t see the appeal of taking shortcuts on. I mean, to make really good homemade brownies, this is all you need!

brownie ingredients
The basics.

You probably have almost everything you need if you have even a halfway stocked kitchen. You’ll probably just have to pick up some chocolate and maybe some vanilla.

To get started, add your butter and sugar to a bowl and beat it on medium speed to cream the butter and sugar together. You can use a hand mixer or stand mixer for this. After a few minutes, you should have a very light and fluffy mixture.

Look ma. No hands!

Next, slowly melt your chocolate in the microwave. What I mean by slowly is that you shouldn’t zap it all at once for like 4 minutes. That would completely burn your chocolate. Instead, zap it in 30 second increments and stir it in between.

Once the chocolate is about 75% melted you can take it out and the rest of the chocolate should melt with residual heat. Mine took about 1 1/2 minutes of zapping to get here.

chocolate melting
Bitter stuff.

Back to your mixing bowl, add your eggs one at a time and then your vanilla and chocolate. Mix this all together until it’s well incorporated.

Then slowly add your flour in a few batches. Be sure to turn your mixer down to low for the flour part or you will just dust your entire kitchen in flour.

Mix it until your flour is incorporated but don’t over-mix it or you’ll have tough brownies! When you can’t see any flour, you’re done.

finished batter
Who wants to lick the spoon?

Baking the Brownies

Add your brownie mix to a 9×13 inch baking pan that’s either been sprayed with non-stick spray or lightly buttered. Bake the brownies at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until the center is set. A toothpick should come out clean.

Don’t worry if the brownies do what mine did which is inflate slightly around the edges and then crack. Remember we are adding an inch of frosting to the top so whatever.

baked brownies
A little collapse is okay.

The Important Part

The most important part of this recipe is to make sure you let your brownies cool completely to room temperature before frosting them or your frosting will just melt. This will probably take at least an hour so plan accordingly.

The Frosting

This is actually one of the easier frostings I’ve made. Start with these things:

Frosting Ingredients
That’s one pound of sugar.

Add them to a mixing bowl with the salt, vanilla, and butter and start mixing on medium-low until everything is starting to come together. Then add your coffee slowly and once it’s all added, increase the speed to medium and beat it for a few minutes until it’s very light and fluffy.

Mocha frosting
This stuff is the money.

Drop this huge amount of frosting onto your brownies and spread it out as evenly as you can.

ridiculous frosting

Once the brownies are frosted, you could eat them right away, but I recommend sticking them in the fridge for at least a few hours so the frosting hardens a bit. That’ll make them easier to cut.

brownie pan
Diabetes in a dish.

These brownies have a great coffee flavor. Be sure to use pretty strong coffee for them. Also, the actual brownie part is super dense and almost fudge-like which I appreciate.

Minus the baking dish mess-up, I’d say this is one of the better dessert dishes I’ve made in awhile. It was a huge hit at my office. And while my coworkers aren’t at all picky about free desserts, they know a good brownie when they see one.

17 Responses to “Mocha Brownies” Leave a comment

  1. These just might cause me to break my religious views that brownies should never, ever be iced. Wow! I’m so excited to try these!

  2. The fuss over micorwave browines is the mixer. I have no countertop, so I also have no KitchenAid. :( Using an immersion blender will work okay to cream the butter and sugar, but I have fried three of those wee little motors adding the flour, so I have mostly given up. This recipe, though, looks good enough to fry another one over. Or I might try it with my Uma’s old 1940s hand-crank beaters I just dug out, too… hmmm..
    PS Were these birthday brownies!?? Hope you have a happy :)

  3. I agree with Dawn entirely — but then again 2 sticks of butter — one of those meat dishes might have had less fat — “YUM :)

    1. Hate to be a stickler, but if you count the brownies and the frosting it’s actually 4 sticks of butter. Who’s counting though right?

  4. Nick – I have a problem. I'm supposed to be writing a paper for law school right now, but instead I'm fantasizing about these brownies. Perhaps I'll resolve to bake them when I finish my paper. It'll motivate me to get this thing done.

  5. still love your captions: diabetes in a dish! those must have smelled like HEAVEN in your kitchen, but i completely understand wanting them out of the house…

  6. OMG! I am so happy you got those OUT of the house before you killed yourself and Betsy. A pound of butter? Why?????

    Nobody understands why I shun the Pioneer.

    I voted for Tyler Florence. Unhealthy maybe but at least you would have gotten a fruit or a vegetable.

  7. Oh. wow.

    I'm not sure what I would do with that much frosting, as I'm not a huge fan, particularly on brownies. But, for some reason I'm drawn to these. Coffee? Chocolate? Hard to resist.

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