When you gotta have caffeine, you just gotta have it -- whether it's in your morning cup of Joe or blended in baked delights. Instant espresso might not be as widely used as ordinary instant coffee, but it has its fans. If you're one of them and suddenly find your stock of instant espresso depleted just when you need it, don't despair. There are substitutes that help you get by in a pinch.
If you run out of instant espresso when baking, it's perfectly fine to substitute regular instant coffee. Buy the darkest roast available and increase the amount you put in the recipe by as much as 50 percent. Experiment with the amount, though, knowing that the coffee flavor might be less intense. Choose premium instant coffee brands, such as those that use high-quality coffee beans, as a base.
Homemade Powdered Espresso
Make your own homemade version of instant espresso. In fact, anyone who has the time to spend on such endeavors will probably choose this as the preferred method of obtaining this powdery ingredient. Here's how the pros do it: grind some dark roast coffee beans, make espresso out of them, then save the used grounds. Dry the grounds thoroughly and crush into a fine powder. Do it by hand with a mortar and pestle, or place them in a commercial coffee grinder and set it on a fine or Turkish setting.
Use steamed liquid espresso or very strong brewed coffee in recipes that call for instant espresso; these provide a rich coffee flavor. Look for ways to decrease other liquids in the recipe, to prevent a texture catastrophe. For example, if your recipe calls for water, lessen the amount of the water to accommodate the liquid espresso or brewed coffee.
Ground Roasted Beans
You can also substitute ground, roasted coffee beans for instant espresso. They bring a strong flavor because they haven't been brewed, so reduce the amount of instant espresso that your recipe calls for. Grind the beans as finely as possible. If you do not have a home grinder, purchase whole roasted beans at a professional coffee shop and ask to have them ground for espresso. Alternately, buy coffee beans at a supermarket that has a gourmet coffee aisle and commercial-grade grinding machines. Use the grinder's fine setting to simulate the powdery consistency of instant espresso.