Recipes | Cookies, Brownies & Bars

Low FODMAP Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies

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Our Low FODMAP Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies are for coffee lovers! They begin with a dark chocolate brownie base, which is then crowned with an espresso flavored lactose-free cream cheese swirl. Powdered instant espresso gives a serious shot of deep, rich coffee flavor. I offer you a range of instant coffee amounts: if you are a fan of dark roast coffee, go for the larger amount.

main image of espresso cream cheese brownies on light plate and brown background
You gotta be a coffee lover to enjoy these brownies – they are very rich, with a bitter espresso edge that we love.

All About Dark Chocolate

There are low FODMAP serving sizes of dark, milk and white chocolate and we have articles that take a deep dive into each. Cocoa is also low FODMAP, and we have a stand-alone article addressing that as well. If you are a chocolate and cocoa lover, I highly suggest you take a look at them.

overhead of espresso cream cheese brownies on light plate and brown background with Nora the bull terrier
Nora the mini bull terrier “helping” during the photo shoot. No, of course she didn’t get any, but she did get a doggy treat for helping.

Lactose-Free Cream Cheese

Cream cheese brownies need cream cheese, of course. I have developed these Low FODMAP Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies, and all our other cream cheese brownies, with dairy-based lactose-free cream cheese made by Green Valley Creamery.

The low FODMAP diet is not dairy-free; it is lower in lactose, and this cream cheese product is perfect for us, even during Elimination.

More cream cheese info below.

very close overhead of espresso cream cheese brownies on light plate and brown background

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Cream Cheese Brownies?

Cream cheese brownies are usually a dark chocolate or cocoa laden brownie topped with a creamy layer, similar to cheesecake. In fact, they are sometimes called cheesecake brownies. The brownie batter is often swirled up into the cheesecake layer, and this is what I do with this recipe as well. Cream cheese brownies are for when you can’t decide between having a brownie and having some cheesecake! Here you get both in one bite.

Can I Use Conventional Cream Cheese?

Conventional block cream cheese (not whipped or “lite”) has been lab tested by Monash and is low FODMAP in 2 Australian tablespoon servings, or 40 g. You could try using it in this recipe but the technique for creaming it and beating it smooth is not the same as when using the lactose-free and the technique presented here. The lactose-free acts very differently upon mixing, so you are on your own if you want to give this a go.

How Do You Make The Pretty Swirls?

I have step by step images for you below to show you how to do this. Go slowly and if anything, under-swirl. If you over-swirl you will lose the dramatic look.

Can I Make These With Plant-Based Cream Cheese?

I have tried this recipe with Kite Hill Cream Cheese, which is almond based. It did work, sort of. The end result is nowhere as creamy as when using dairy based. Try it if you like, using the same amounts and technique.

kite hill cream cheese container held in hand

Can I Use Instant Coffee Instead Of Instant Espresso Powder?

You could, but the coffee flavor will not be as deep and rich. It is a pretty good substitute, though. If you have all the other ingredients and only have instant coffee on hand, go ahead and make these brownies!

bite taken out of espresso cream cheese brownie held in hand
Creamy texture, potent flavors of espresso and chocolate – all in one bite.

How To Make Low FODMAP Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies

First things first – you gotta get your coffee situation in order. You could use regular instant coffee from the supermarket, but we much prefer instant espresso powder, which you might need to order online. We like this one from King Arthur Flour.

espresso powder jar held in hand
Instant espresso powder gives these brownies a real coffee kick.

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Coat an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with non-stick spray. Line with a strip of parchment paper to cover bottom and overhang on two sides. Spray the paper, too.

For the Brownies: Melt chocolate and butter together in top of double boiler or in microwave safe bowl. I always do the latter; get familiar with your microwave and put it to work!

melted chocolate mixture for espresso brownies in glass bowl

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl to aerate and combine.

Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate/butter mixture until blended. Whisk in the instant espresso powder and vanilla, then add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

making brownie batter in glass bowl with whisk

Fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Scrape almost all of the batter into the prepared pan, reserving about ½ cup (120 ml) – you can do this by eye. Spread the batter in the pan into an even layer using a small offset spatula.

brownie batter spread in square pan, unbaked
Brownie batter spread into an even layer in a square pan.

For the Cream Cheese Swirl: Us a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to gently combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour together in a small bowl.

flour, sugar and cream cheese being combined in glass bowl with spatula

Dissolve the instant espresso powder in the vanilla.

espresso powder in vanilla extract in glass bowl
Dissolve the instant espresso powder in the vanilla extract.

Stir the dissolved espresso powder into the cream cheese mixture until it is thoroughly mixed in.

adding dissolved espresso powder to cream cheese batter

The batter will take on a “coffee & cream” look.

making espresso cheesecake batter for brownies in glass bowl

Alternately dollop the cream cheese mixture and the reserved brownie mixture by large spoonfuls here and there all over the brownie batter already in the pan.

alternating brownie batter and cream cheese batter in square pan for marbled look brownies
Make big dollops of reserved brownie batter alternately with the espresso cream cheese batter.

Draw a butter knife through both dolloped batters to create pretty swirls. Don’t over swirl or you will lose the dramatic effect.

espresso cream cheese and brownie batter swirled together in square pan
Swirl the batters together, but do not over do it.

Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until bars are slightly puffed and the edges have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will show a few moist crumbs clinging.

espresso cheesecake brownies, fresh out of the oven

Cool on rack, then refrigerate briefly before cutting; they should be just slightly chilled for cleanest cutting. Cut into 25 bars (5 x 5 grid). Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 4 days.

overhead vertical of espresso cream cheese brownies on light plate and brown background

More Low FODMAP Cheesecake Recipes

No need to go without your cheesecake fix while on the low FODMAP diet. We have several options for you:

FODMAP Information

Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.

  • Butter: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested butter. Monash states that a low FODMAP Green Light portion is 1 tablespoon or 19 g and also states that “butter is high in fat and does not contain carbohydrates (FODMAPs)”. FODMAP Friendly gives it a “Pass” at 1 tablespoon or 19 g. Both recommended serving sizes are presented as part of healthy eating guidelines, not as maximum FODMAP serving size. Fat can affect guy motility and trigger IBS symptoms in some people. Eat to your tolerance.
  • Chocolate: Monash University has lab tested dark, milk and white chocolate all have low FODMAP amounts: 85% dark at 20 g; dark at 30 g; milk at 20 g; white at 25 g.
  • Cocoa: Monash University has lab tested what they call “cocoa” and also “cacao” and they show different FODMAP content. The problem is that from the chocolate manufacturing industry’s perspective, there is no difference between cacao and cocoa powder. The FDA, The Food Standards for Australia and New Zealand, the ICCO (International Cocoa Organization) and the National Confectioners Association do not even recognize the term “cacao” to describe cocoa powder. We have an article, All About Cocoa, that we encourage you to read. It attempts to explain the discrepancies in the Monash lab testing.
  • Dairy: The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. It is, however, low in lactose. Many dairy ingredients are low in lactose, such as heavy cream and many cheeses.
  • Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine. 

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

main image of espresso cream cheese brownies on light plate and brown background
4.72 from 7 votes

Low FODMAP Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies

Our Low FODMAP Espresso Cream Cheese Brownies are for coffee lovers! They begin with a dark chocolate brownie base, which is then crowned with an espresso flavored lactose-free cream cheese swirl. Powdered instant espresso gives a serious shot of deep, rich coffee flavor. I offer you a range of instant coffee amounts: if you are a fan of dark roast coffee, go for the larger amount.

Low FODMAP Serving Size Info: Makes 25 brownies; 25 servings; 1 brownie per serving

Makes: 25 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Author: Dédé Wilson

Ingredients:

Brownie:

Cream Cheese Swirl:

Preparation:

  1. Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Coat an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with non-stick spray. Line with a strip of parchment paper to cover bottom and overhang on two sides. Spray the paper, too.
  2. For the Brownies: Melt chocolate and butter together in top of double boiler or in microwave safe bowl.

  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl to aerate and combine.
  4. Whisk the sugar into the melted chocolate/butter mixture until blended. Whisk in the instant espresso powder and vanilla, then add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Scrape almost all of the batter into the prepared pan, reserving about ½ cup (120 ml) – you can do this by eye. Spread the batter in the pan into an even layer using a small offset spatula.
  5. For the Cream Cheese Swirl: Use a wooden spoon to gently combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour together in a small bowl. Dissolve the instant espresso powder in the vanilla and stir into the cream cheese mixture until it is thoroughly mixed in.

  6. Alternately dollop the cream cheese mixture and the reserved brownie mixture by large spoonfuls here and there all over the brownie batter already in the pan. Draw a butter knife through both dolloped batters to create pretty swirls. Don’t over swirl or you will lose the dramatic effect.
  7. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until bars are slightly puffed and the edges have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will show a few moist crumbs clinging. Cool on rack, then refrigerate briefly before cutting; they should be just slightly chilled for cleanest cutting. Cut into 25 bars (5 x 5 grid). Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 4 days.

Notes:

FODMAP Information

Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.

Butter: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested butter. Monash states that a low FODMAP Green Light portion is 1 tablespoon or 19 g and also states that “butter is high in fat and does not contain carbohydrates (FODMAPs)”. FODMAP Friendly gives it a “Pass” at 1 tablespoon or 19 g. Both recommended serving sizes are presented as part of healthy eating guidelines, not as maximum FODMAP serving size. Fat can affect guy motility and trigger IBS symptoms in some people. Eat to your tolerance.
Chocolate: Monash University has lab tested dark, milk and white chocolate all have low FODMAP amounts: 85% dark at 20 g; dark at 30 g; milk at 20 g; white at 25 g.
Cocoa: Monash University has lab tested what they call “cocoa” and also “cacao” and they show different FODMAP content. The problem is that from the chocolate manufacturing industry’s perspective, there is no difference between cacao and cocoa powder. The FDA, The Food Standards for Australia and New Zealand, the ICCO (International Cocoa Organization) and the National Confectioners Association do not even recognize the term “cacao” to describe cocoa powder. We have an article, All About Cocoa, that we encourage you to read. It attempts to explain the discrepancies in the Monash lab testing.
Dairy: The low FODMAP diet is not a dairy-free diet. It is however, low in lactose. Many dairy ingredients are low in lactose, such as heavy cream and many cheeses.
Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine.

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

Course: Dessert, Snack, Treat
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 22IU | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.