Oct 7, 2013

Drink Up!

If you are an avid coffee drinker you will want to keep this bit of information handy; September 29th is National Coffee Day. Across the country, coffee purveyors offer free coffee, special discounts and coupons to celebrate the java lovers everywhere. If you missed it this year; fear not. You can take advantage of it next year. In the meantime, if you love the flavor of coffee you can enjoy baked goods and cooked dishes that use coffee as an ingredient.

Coffee flavoring is distinctive in most dessert recipes, but when adding to meat dishes; it tends to bring out the meat flavor without an overpowering coffee flavor.  You can freeze leftover coffee in ice trays to use in iced coffee, stews, and sauces. It enhances brownies, mousse and barbecue sauce. When grinding coffee for use in a recipe remember smaller the grind of coffee, the stronger the flavor.
Adding a pinch of salt to coffee grounds will help combat acidic coffee.

Coffee Brownies

These brownies pack a real coffee punch! They contain plenty of caffeine so you might want to enjoy them early in the day.

Baking spray with flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

3 tablespoons very finely ground fresh coffee beans

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

8 ounces whipped topping, thawed

3 tablespoons freshly brewed strong coffee

Chocolate coffee beans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 13x9 inch baking pan with baking spray. Combine sugar, oil, cocoa, ground coffee, and salt in large bowl. Mix until ingredients are blended. The texture will be grainy. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour over and fold in. Mix in pecans.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool brownies in pan.

Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Bring topping and brewed coffee to simmer in small saucepan; pour over chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Let ganache stand until cool and beginning to thicken, about 1 hour; spread evenly over brownies. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature.) Cut brownies into 15 squares. Top each with a chocolate coffee bean.

Tiramisu is the ultimate coffee-lovers dessert. Its rich texture and flavor make it a classic.

3 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1 (8-oz) container mascarpone or unwhipped cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cups very strong brewed coffee or brewed espresso, cooled to room temperature

2 teaspoons rum

18 ladyfingers (long narrow firm cookies)

1/4 cup fine-quality bittersweet chocolate shavings or 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in mascarpone or cream cheese until just combined.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in another bowl with clean beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time. Then continue to beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.

Stir together coffee and rum in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it about 4 seconds on each side, and transfer to an 8-inch glass baking dish. Repeat with 8 more ladyfingers and arrange in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer in same manner with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture. Chill tiramisu, covered, at least 6 hours.

Just before serving, sprinkle with chocolate shavings or cocoa.

Mocha Pepper Mousse

Freshly ground pepper brings out the taste of both the coffee and the chocolate.

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns

1/3 cup heavy cream or whipped topping

1 1/2 teaspoon finely ground coffee beans

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 large egg whites

1 tablespoon sugar

whipped cream for topping

Bring cream, coffee, and pepper to a simmer in a small saucepot. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, 30 minutes. Strain cream mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing down to release all the liquid.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Stir in cream mixture. Cool slightly.

Beat egg whites with sugar using an electric mixer until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture gently but thoroughly.

Spoon mousse into glasses and chill at least 3 hours.

Mochaccino Cooler

This recipe contains heavy cream which is dairy. You can just substitute with thawed whipped topping if you’d like to serve this coffee-lover’s drink at a pareve meal or seuda.

½ cup strong brewed coffee

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

¼ cup vanilla vodka

¼ cup chocolate liquor

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 gallon milk

Combine brewed coffee, water and sugar. Add vanilla vodka and chocolate liquor. Combine ingredients chill 4-6 hours. Add heavy cream and stir. Pour over ice cubes and milk in a large pitcher and serve immediately.

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