A Bittersweet Love Affair

Thursday, July 30, 2015
A Bittersweet Love Affair

Coffee is a worldwide favorite because it has it all… richness that never fails to please, a bitter edge that elevates all kinds of desserts, and a wide range of textures that bestows different flavoring options. Enforcing one coffee flavor by introducing another requires an industrious flair on its own. But you have not heard the best news yet! Using coffee in desserts is easy, and this highly caffeinated article proves it.


Whole beans

Because coffee loses its punch and aroma right after being ground, whole beans pack more flavor than their pre-ground counterparts. Roasted for a few minutes, coarsely crushed, profusely infused into and then extracted from the base, whole beans are perfectly suitable for custards and ice creams. In fact, the Italians just love their Mocha Tartufo, which basically is coffee ice cream dollops with chocolate-covered espresso beans in the center, rolled in chocolate wafers crumbs, and then topped with whipped cream. Drizzle salted coffee caramel sauce to bring more complexity to the dish. Another classic that celebrates freshly ground coffee in its silky-smooth texture is the Irish coffee ice cream with candied pecans, generous quantities of whisky, and shaved dark chocolate.


Instant coffee

Because instant coffee does not need to steep in liquid to instill the desired flavor, it has the unique property of metamorphosing desserts almost instantaneously. For instance, you can create a mocha filling that brings together two cookies. This paste is made of coffee and cocoa powders, butter, milk, and confectioner’s sugar… all beaten together. Your brownies may be acclaimed for being chewy, but how about blending in coffee granules and vanilla seeds into the batter before you finish it off by gently folding in cocoa-flavored biscuit crumbs, chocolate chips, and dates? Your cheesecake may be acclaimed for being fluffy, but how about you save half of your usual filling to incorporate a pungent coffee mixture made of coffee grains, hot water, and cinnamon… before you bathe it with a lavish glaze?


Coffee liquors

Coffee liquors offer a sweet coffee flavor with zing, one that will take your concoctions to a whole new level. For example, mix some into vanilla crème anglaise to amp the lightened taste and complement it with poached pears, peaches, or just about any seasonal fruit. If you and your guests are caffeineaholics, consider adding instant espresso powder and crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans to your regular recipe, as well as a bit of the liquor to the dessert after it is cooked since alcohol level diminishes once in contact with high heat. But, there is an exception: the heat-free Tiramisu. For the filling, you can add the coffee liquor to the blend of ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. The filling will be blissfully sandwiched between two lovely layers of coffee/espresso-infused ladyfingers.


Brewed coffee

Brewed coffee offers a more subtle yet less aggressive disposition than its previous counterparts. For instance, special mocha cupcakes are basically cupcakes that feature generous quantities of cold brewed coffee in both their base and frosting. Because the batter tends to be somewhat bland, consider adding cider vinegar and/or molasses for a bit of sourness… plus nutmeg and ground cinnamon for a bit of sweetness. Either way, the coffee flavor will not be lost. In the case of the classical Devil’s Food Cake, the prominent taste provided by mixing semisweet chocolate chips with hot strong black coffee allows the introduction of ricotta cheese, orange juice concentrate, and candied berries. If you are a sucker for overly sweet desserts, try adding coffee or espresso coffee to one-bowl chocolate cake recipes as well as flan recipes.


Caffeinated accompaniments

Coffee pairs well with chocolate and/or cinnamon based desserts, in addition to also serving well as a buzz-packed accompaniment. Cool coffee gels are prepared by mixing unflavored gelatin with water, hot brewed coffee, and sugar until they dissolve over heat. Once out of the fridge, serve them with whipped cream and garnish with espresso powder and coffee beans. Creamy coffee gelatins feature sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar and cream. Also, almonds and nuts round out the coffee’s sharp flavor. Gems like spicy dark chocolate espresso roasted almonds and salted coffee caramel coated hazelnuts are acquired by bathing in a mixture of egg whites, ground espresso, cayenne powder, and sugar, and baking them for one hour and a half. Shower them with cocoa powder before proper storage.


We are aware of the fact that many coffee-house concoctions are drinkable desserts often incorporated into restaurants’ menus as after-dinner sweets. But did you know that coffee does not add extra calories or fat while adding its ultra-rich flavor to your preferred saccharine desserts and concoctions? So order mocha coconut biscotti the next time you are in a coffee shop, have fun making coffee bonbons at home… and before you realize it, you will be protecting your heart and reducing your risk of diabetes, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee is good for your wellbeing as much as it is for your taste buds.