When your coffee cravings extend beyond your morning cup of Joe, bake some cookies, cakes or bread with coffee beans in them. Bakers have long used instant coffee granules and brewed coffee to bring out the best in chocolate-based desserts, but roasted coffee beans add more intense flavor and embellish baked goods with an added layer of texture. The flavor of coffee brings out the best not only in chocolate, but in other rich flavors such as butterscotch, caramel and mint.
Batter or Filling Ingredient
Brownie and chocolate cake batter gain a richer flavor and distinctive character when you mix in some finely ground coffee beans. Grind already-ground coffee beans -- the kind purchased prepared for use in a basket-style coffee maker -- even finer in a blender, food processor or home coffee grinder; larger pieces diminish rather than enhance baked goods. You can also add finely ground coffee to baked bread pudding and pie fillings.
Mixing finely ground coffee beans into frostings adds texture and taste, and it also creates an intriguing dotted effect in the appearance. Coffee grounds taste especially good in mocha and chocolate toppings, but also improve the taste of buttercream frosting, the coconut-pecan frosting typically used on German chocolate cakes, and the buttery crumb topping on coffee cakes. Instead of topping cream-based pies with chocolate shavings, use finely ground coffee beans or a mixture of chopped chocolate, nuts and grounds. Dress up a Bundt or pound cake with a simple syrup glaze mixed with powdered coffee beans.
Jazz up the creamy center of a filled cupcake with a teaspoon or so of pulverized coffee beans. You can also add finely ground beans to eclair or cream-puff fillings for distinctive flavor and an attractive presentation. Replace the jam filling in thumbprint cookies with a mixture of jarred marshmallow topping combined with coffee beans crushed to a light powder. Layer open-sided cakes with sweet whipped cream or cream cheese frosting mixed with finely ground beans for a new taste experience.
The next time you garnish a favorite cake or pie, replace the nut halves with whole coffee beans. Choose the longest roasted beans available such as espresso or French roast, as they have the darkest, shiniest finish for the best look. Espresso or French roast beans are also softer than most other coffee beans, which make them easier to chew.
Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.